South Africa, usual suspects stall UN action on Zimbabwe

Guardian:

South Africa led efforts to block the dispatch of a UN envoy to Zimbabwe yesterday as the UN Security Council met on the election stand-off for the first time.

Diplomats said that South African opposition to a UN mission meant that the next step would probably be a public meeting of the 15-nation Security Council on Zimbabwe under Britain’s presidency in May.

Britain and other Western nations have been pushing for a greater UN role in resolving the month-old election crisis, since Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, raised it at a UN summit on Africa this month.

The Security Council held a closed-door session in New York yesterday after Britain succeeded in pushing Zimbabwe on to its agenda under “other business”. Britain, backed by the US, France and other Western nations, called for the sending of a UN envoy and a moratorium on arms sales to Zimbabwe.

South Africa, China, Russia, Libya and Vietnam spoke up against any further Security Council action at this stage, diplomats said, with Burkina Faso saying that Africa should take the lead. A top official of Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which claims that it won the March 29 election, held private meetings with key UN members in New York yesterday to press for an envoy to be sent to the country.

Tendai Biti, the general-secretary of the MDC, travelled to New York to meet Security Council members separately, although South Africa, Russia and China appeared set to avoid him. He called for the UN to recognise the “illegality of the regime of Mugabe” and oversee a transfer of power to an MDC-led government of national unity.

...

It is not surprising who is on the side of the despot. Perhaps they want to maintain the precedent of thwarting democracy in their own countries. It is still disgusting that they would delay justice for the people of Zimbabwe who have been treated so cruelly by Mugabe. The delay is a heartless act.

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