30 June 2008

Zimbabwe: No Support for UN Arms Embargo By China

CHINA has indicated its unwillingness to support a United States call for a UN arms embargo for Zimbabwe.US plans to introduce discussions this week at the UN Security Council which include both an arms embargo and extension of travel bans on President Robert Mugabe's government.

US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice met her Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing yesterday and indicated that the US was considering extending the sanctions regime for Zimbabwe.

"We believe that it is really now time for the international community to act strongly but we are consulting about what measures might be taken," Rice said after announcing plans for UN Security Council action.

She spoke just before President Mugabe was sworn in Sunday for a sixth term of office.

Rice also indicated that she hoped an African Union meeting in Egypt on Monday would at least issue a "strong caution" to Mugabe "not to use violence against his own people."

According to reports from Beijing China -- one of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council along with Russia, the United States, Britain and France - did not show enthusiasm for an arms embargo and could use its veto power to block a resolution on Zimbabwe.

"The most pressing task now is to stabilize the situation in Zimbabwe," said Yang, the Chinese foreign minister.

Yang said he hoped that the Zimbabwe government and political opposition will "engage in a serious dialogue to find a proper solution" to the situation in the country.

He indicated that China would support a resolution brokered by Africa saying China hoped that the "African countries in particular" would help resolve the situation.

"China, as a responsible country, will also play a constructive role in this process," Yang promised without elaborating.

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