Source: Zim thanks Russia for 2008 UN veto – DailyNews Live 3 May 2016
HARARE – Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has thanked Russia for shielding Zimbabwe from international sanctions over an opposition crackdown that followed President Robert Mugabe’s controversial 2008 poll run-off victory against his opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, who pulled out citing the absurdity of holding a vote while dozens of opposition members were being killed.
Mumbengegwi, speaking to a Russian delegation headed by Industry and Trade minister Denis Manturov that arrived in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare on an official visit last weekend, hailed the Russian veto of a July 2008 British and US-backed UN Security Council resolution on Zimbabwe.
Mumbengegwi said Harare will count on continued support from Moscow.
“We are grateful to the Russian Federation for support and solidarity in 2008 when Russia’s veto vote at the Security Council saved Zimbabwe from international sanctions that would have destroyed our country,” Mumbengegwi said.
The measure vetoed by Russia and China would have been the first legally binding resolution against Zimbabwe after Mugabe and his Zanu PF ringleaders orchestrated the violence that disfigured the election run-off in 2008 that followed the nonagenarian’s devastating electoral loss to Tsvangirai. The opposition estimates the crackdown killed at least 200 people and internally displaced 200 000.
The resolution, calling for an arms embargo, and financial and travel restrictions on Mugabe and 13 other regime leaders, was backed by nine nations but foundered on the vetoes of the two permanent UN Security Council members.
The arms embargo would have affected Russian and Chinese weapons exporters.
Manturov, who had a meeting with Mugabe last weekend and later attended an industrial exhibition in Bulawayo, the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, said Russia fully backs the removal of all Western sanctions on Harare.
“We are for a full removal of unfair sanctions,” Manturov said.
Russia had argued there was no mandate to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe because there was no threat to international peace and security.
Mumbengegwi called on Russia to join efforts for averting damage to the two countries’ economies affected by authors of the restrictive measures.
Since imposing sanctions in 2002 over electoral fraud and human rights abuses, the EU has eased measures to encourage political reform in Zimbabwe, although it has kept its ban on Mugabe and his wife Grace, as well as an arms embargo.
On the other hand, the United States has said it believes Zimbabwe’s 2013 election was seriously flawed and it does not plan to loosen sanctions against Mugabe’s government until there are signs of change in the country.
United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry K Thomas Jr said sanctions removal was the decision for the US president Barack Obama and the US Congress and that it will be dependent upon economic performance, governance and human rights.
“And that is extremely important,” Thomas Jnr told Voice of America (VOA) last weekend. “There must be accountability. You can’t see funding without accountability. Elimination of corruption. Those are things that we will have to weigh as we move forward,” he said, adding that the US will continue to be by far the largest donor to Zimbabwe.