The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: No to Hypocrisy, West Told

New York — PRESIDENT Mugabe says the western world should condemn the cold-blooded murder of former Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi with the same contempt and platitudes it displayed in the wake of the killing of Chris Stevens, who was the US ambassador to Libya, earlier this month.

Col Gaddafi was murdered in front of world cameras last October by Nato-backed rebels.

The US ambassador was killed in similar circumstances when the US embassy was stormed by Libyan rebels this month.

In his address to the General Assembly on Tuesday, US president Barack Obama made an impassioned address about the death of the US envoy, a refrain that was picked by many speakers drawn from the western block.

President Mugabe reminded the US leader that his country was a member of the same Nato that killed Col Gaddafi, and slammed the US and its allies for practising double standards.

"Mr President, may I begin my speech with reference to the most moving and glowing speech delivered by the US president yesterday. The import of which was to get us to condemn the death of the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. I am sure we were all moved . . . I think we were all moved by that. It was a tragic death and we condemn it.

"But Mr President, about a year ago we saw the barbaric and brutal death of the head of state of Libya, a representative of his country and a member of the African Union.

"As we join the United States in condemning that death, shall the United States also join us in condemning the barbaric death of Gaddafi. It was a loss, great loss to Africa.

"A tragic loss to Africa occurring in circumstances in which Nato had sought the support of the UN under Chapter VII of the UN to operate in Libya in the protection of civilians who were said to be at the mercy of the government of Libya under Gaddafi

"The death of Gaddafi must be seen in the same tragic manner as the death of Chris Stevens."

Turning to his prepared speech, the President said Zimbabwe will continue standing firm in condemning unilateralism, the imposition of unwarranted and illegal sanctions, and extra-territorial application of national laws by the few against the majority.

He reaffirmed Zimbabwe's commitment to the founding values of the UN and took a swipe at western powers that have been abusing the world body for parochial and sectarian interests.

"Mr President, in the interest of justice, fairness and good relations, we call on those countries which have imposed sanctions against us to review their positions. Zimbabweans have suffered for too long under these completely illegal punitive measures."

The build-up to the 67th Session of the UNGA that officially opened on Tuesday under the theme "Bringing About Adjustment or Settlement of International Disputes or Situations by Peaceful Means", was characterised by debate on the relevance of the UN to the prevailing geo-political challenges confronting the world.

A high-level meeting on the rule of law at international and national level that convened on Monday was naturally dominated by debate on the need to reform the UN system to make it democratic and effective.

A document released at the end of the meeting called on member-states to be bound by the founding principles of the UN, among them the sovereign equality of member states.

President Mugabe reiterated the global concern in his address yesterday, calling for the reform and realignment of the UN, its specialised agencies, and international financial institutions in line with global challenges and contemporary realities.

These agencies, the President said, are the only instruments available for responding effectively to the global challenges the world faces.

He reiterated Zimbabwe's support for ongoing inter-governmental negotiations on the reform and expansion of the Security Council, and cautioned against an open-ended approach that shortchanges countries that are not represented in the Security Council.

"Zimbabwe stands by Africa's demand for two permanent seats complete with a veto, if the veto is to be retained, plus two additional non-permanent seats, as clearly articulated in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration."

He said Africa will not be bought off with empty promises, not comestic tinkering disguised as reform of the Security Council.

"It is indeed a travesty of justice that the African continent, which accounts for almost a third of the membership represented in this august assembly, has no permanent representation in the Security Council. Is this good governance? Is this democracy? And, is this justice?" he said.

The President decried the foisting of unacceptable concepts on UN member states without inter-governmental mandates.

He cited the abuse of the concept of responsibility to protect in the absense of agreement on the circumstances under which it might be evoked, a development that he said compromised and undermined the cardinal principles of state sovereignty, territorial integrity and non interference in the domestic affairs of member states.

President Mugabe urged member states to take stock of the inspiring preamble of the UN Charter in the wake of the radical departure from its noble and solemn declarations.

He urged the Security Council, which is still dominated by the five victorious allies of the Second Anglo-Saxon War, to respect and support the decisions, processes and priorities of regional organisation.

"Recent events, as has already been stated particularly with reference to Africa, have demonstrated the scant regard that is given by the United Nations and

certain powerful members of the international community to the pivotal role of regional organisations," he said.

In May last year, the African Union drew up a roadmap to bring peace in Libya in the wake of the Nato invasion launched on the back of flagrant violation of Security Council Resolution 1973 that was passed to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya. The AU's call for the cessation of Nato airstrikes to facilitate dialogue fell on deaf ears culminating in the cold-blooded murder of Colonel Gaddafi last October.

Effective co-operation between the United Nations and regional organisations, President Mugabe said, will only become viable and sustainable when developed on the basis of mutual respect and support, as well as on shared responsibility and commitment.

He also slammed wanton aggression by Nato member states predicated on their arrogant belief in their military might.

"Zimbabwe is strongly opposed to unilateralism, is committed to multilateralism and therefore would like to see a United Nations that continues to be a guarantor of world peace and security, and a bulwark in the fight for justice and equality among nations, " President Mugabe said.

He urged the international community to collectively nip the dangerous and unwelcome banditry in the bud.

"The warmongers of our world have done us enough harm. Wherever they have imposed themselves, chaos in place of peace has been the result. The situation created by the Bush-Blair illegal campaign of aggression against Iraq has made worse the conflict between the Sunnis and Shias, " he said.

The President cited the instability in Iraq, and Libya as evidence of the West's destructive engagement on the back of violation of Chapter VII of the UN Charter and its 'phoney principle of responsibility to protect.'

"We have noticed, with deep regret, that the provisions of the United Nations Charter dealing with the peaceful settlement of disputes, have, on occasion, been ignored by the Security Council. In contrast, there appears to be an insatiable appetite for war, embargoes, sanctions and other punitive actions, even on matters that are better resolved through multilateral cooperation.

"Instead of resorting to the peaceful resolution of disputes, we are daily witnessing a situation where might is now right," he said.

Before his address, President Mugabe held bilateral meetings with Presidents Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, and Michael Sata of Zambia.

Details of the meetings were not availed to the Press.

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