South Africa’s ambassador to the United Nations Dumisani Kumalo strongly opposed the move by the United States to get the United Nations to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe arguing that “Europeans” wanted to install Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai as president of Zimbabwe.
Though he acknowledged the severity of the situation in Zimbabwe following its presidential elections run-off which was marred by violence forcing Tsvangirai to pull out, Kumalo said that the US sanctions proposal was “aimed at the people of Zimbabwe” and that if the Council approved the sanctions “you are going to blow up Zimbabwe”.
Vietnam, China, Indonesia and Libya each made brief statements questioning the utility of sanctions and emphasising the importance of a negotiated solution in Zimbabwe.
China and Vietnam emphasised the need for the Council to act “prudently” and within its mandate.
Viewing cable 08USUNNEWYORK602, UNSC: D/SYG MIGIRO BRIEFS COUNCIL ON ZIMBABWE
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/08/2018
SUBJECT: UNSC: D/SYG MIGIRO BRIEFS COUNCIL ON ZIMBABWE
REF: USUN 593
1 (C) SUMMARY: In a July 8 meeting the Security Council heard
a briefing on the situation in Zimbabwe from Deputy
Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, in which she emphasized
the fact that all three African observer missions in Zimbabwe
had condemned the 6/27 elections and its results, dubbing the
current crisis a “moment of truth” for democracy in Africa.
In subsequent consultations, the UK, France, Belgium, Italy,
Croatia, Burkina Faso, Panama and Costa Rica voiced support
for the U.S.-backed sanctions resolution. South Africa and
Russia strongly criticized the U.S. proposal, while China,
Indonesia, Vietnam and Libya made more muted statements on
the importance of negotiation and the need for the Security
Council to take a narrow view of its mandate. END SUMMARY.
Europeans, Latins, Burkina in favor
¶2. (C) European and Latin American members of the Security
Council made strong statements of support for the U.S.
resolution, with France, the UK and Belgium offering to
co-sponsor the text. Italy and Croatia voiced their support
for passage of the resolution as soon as possible. Costa
Rica argued that failure to enact sanctions would undermine
the Council’s prestige in light of the Zimbabwean
government’s “contempt” for efforts to mediate the conflict.
Burkina Faso stressed that its support for the resolution
should be considered not as a condemnation of the Zimbabwean
government but as support for the appropriate amount of
pressure required to prod the government to the negotiating
table. Panama expressed some squeamishness over the Chapter
7 threat determination contained in the resolution, but
rationalized its support by claiming that in Zimbabwe there
is “enough of a threat” to international peace and security
to justify sanctions.
Sparks fly in opposition
¶3. (C) South African Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo acknowledged
the severity of the situation in Zimbabwe but alleged that
the U.S. sanctions proposal was “aimed at the people of
Zimbabwe” and that if the Council approves sanctions “you are
going to blow up Zimbabwe.” Kumalo then directly accused
“the Europeans” of wanting to install Morgan Tsvangirai as
president before launching into an emotional speech about
South Africa’s stabilizing role in Zimbabwe and his personal
history in the ANC. Vietnam, China, Indonesia and Libya each
made brief statements questioning the utility of sanctions
and emphasizing the importance of a negotiated solution in
Zimbabwe. China and Vietnam emphasized the need for the
Council to act “prudently” and within its mandate.
¶4. (C) Russian PermRep Vitaliy Churkin delivered the most
forceful statement against the U.S. sanctions resolution,
citing “well-founded objections” to the Security Council’s
involvement and stating that the Council had never before
interfered in a matter related to elections in a member
state. Churkin alluded to the fact that supporters have the
necessary votes to pass the resolution, but cautioned that
“this arithmetic of votes is not suitable for the Security
Council” and that any U.S. move to advance to a vote today or
tomorrow would be “excessively hasty.” In a separate
conversation with Ambassador Khalilzad, Churkin denied having
instructions to veto the resolution, but said that Russia’s
opposition was closely tied to South Africa’s and he could
not rule out the possibility. Russian experts later advised
that the matter was being handled “at the highest level” and
they would not have instructions until Friday, July 11.