Zimbabwe: African Leaders Oppose Sanctions

7 July 2008

A number of African leaders who had talks with the leaders of the G8 group of industrialized nations on Monday disagreed with the West's drive at the United Nations for sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Their differences emerged in a briefing to journalists after the talks.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was quoted by his Foreign Office as telling journalists there was "growing support for sanctions against the Mugabe regime being stepped up..." The United States is expecting a vote on a sanctions resolution in the UN Security Council this week.

But the African Union chairman, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, said in an appearance with President George W. Bush of the United States that although "many leaders" in Africa had "expressed their dissatisfaction at the way things happened" in Zimbabwe, they differed with G8 leaders "on the way forward."

He added: "I don't think there is much, the divergence there. You (President Bush) would have liked to see us do a bit -- some things, we would have liked to see you do some things. But we'll continue to discuss all these issues, and as friends at the end of the day we'll come to an understanding."

According to a transcript posted by the White House later, Bush aide Dan Price confirmed in a subsequent briefing to journalists that "there were differences... Not all African leaders are in a position to support sanctions at this time."

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying she would support more sanctions against Mugabe.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in a radio interview from Johannesburg on Monday that financial and travel sanctions were "the test" this week. Referring to the reported opposition to sanctions of South Africa - a member of the Security Council - Miliband added: "I very much hope that South Africa will join the international consensus."

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