The Zimbabwean government today thanked the countries that blocked UN sanctions against its regime, and particularly the South African president Thabo Mbeki for having refused to yield to Western pressure. "We would like to thank countries that supported us at the United Nations and we would like to tell them that we would not disappoint them as we would address our problems ourselves," the information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said. "We would like to thank President Thabo Mbeki, who is a leader par excellence as he has not yielded to international pressure and to the machinations of the West led by Britain and United States."
China and Russia yesterday vetoed targeted UN sanctions on the Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe over his disputed re-election. South Africa voted against the US draft which received the support of nine of the UN Security Council's 15 members. "Yesterday's veto at the United Nations is an international diplomatic victory, not only for Zimbabwe, but for the rest of Africa, [the] Southern African Development Community and the developing world," added Mr Ndlovu.
"It is a victory that is really welcome, as for the first time Britain and United States wanted to use the United Nations to install their own puppet as president here." Mr Mugabe was re-elected in an election last month after the main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), pulled out, citing a campaign of intimidation and violence against his supporters that killed dozens and injured thousands. Mr Tsvangirai had earlier won the first round but fell short of a majority.
Britain, the former colonial power in Zimbabwe, has been vocal in criticising Mr Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party over the elections amid claims of rigging. The US dismissed the election as a "sham". "Britain and United States wanted to practice international racism against us at the UN," said Mr Ndlovu, adding that it was pleased that the UN had refused to allow members to use the Security Council to "settle their scores". "We are not a British colony, we are happy that reason prevailed at the end of the day and we hope such things never happen again," he added.
Mr Tsvangirai has been critical of Mr Mbeki and earlier called for him to be axed as the region's mediator over his perceived bias towards Mr Mugabe. *AFP