UN Security Council Ends Meeting on Zimbabwe with Little Consensus
By Joseph Catapano
April 30, 2008 | Printer Friendly
A divided United Nations Security Council met on April 29 to consider sending a mission or envoy to troubled Zimbabwe as vote counting from last month’s presidential election was put on hold once again. Reuters is reporting that many Western nations, including the United States and Britain, have called for UN intervention into the Zimbabwe situation; however, South Africa has led a collection of countries that includes China, Russia, and Libya opposing any UN intervention.
“There are a number of delegations that don’t believe the Council should be engaged on this, which is regrettable,” said Deputy U.S. Ambassador Alejandro D. Wolff.
“Different countries hold elections; some do it very well, some do it not so well. That is the only way you can look at elections around the world,” said South African Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo. Kumalo told reporters the only issue that was agreed on was that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) “should work with the Zimbabweans, especially with their independent electoral commission, to make sure that the results are coming out.”
United Nations Under-Secretary General for Public Affairs Lynn Pascoe told the Council that Zimbabwe was in the midst of its worst humanitarian crisis since independence from Britain, “We have a great deal of concern about violence, particularly if it is run from the government side, but any side—there’s been reports of violence on both sides,” she said.
The idea of a UN envoy was endorsed by Zimbabwe’s opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), whose presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai is believed to have won the election, or at the very least have forced a run-off with the current president, Robert Mugabe.
Rhetoric from the international community, while subdued at first, has strengthened as time has passed since the March 29 election.
“The will of the people needs to be respected in Zimbabwe, and it is clear that they voted for change as they should have because Mr. Mugabe has failed the country,” said US President George W. Bush.
In Geneva, UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon told reporters it was “just unacceptable” that Zimbabwe’s leaders had not released the results at this point, “we know who is the winner,” he said, apparently referencing Tsvangirai.
According to The New York Times, Deputy Chief Election Officer Utoile Silaigwana is on record as saying that the verification of the election outcome will not start until this Thursday; verification of results has been delayed a number of times over the past four weeks.
Reuters: UN Council Pressed to Send Mission to Zimbabwe
allAfrica.com: Security Council Splits Over Election Impasse
The New York Times: Security Council Voices Reluctance to Act on Zimbabwe