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Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 18:02 UK

G8 to move against Mugabe allies

Robert Mugabe addresses supporters at Harare airport, 4 July 2008
Sanctions would target specific members of Mr Mugabe's government

G8 leaders meeting in Japan have said they will seek targeted sanctions against members of the Zimbabwean government over last month's polls.

Their call for financial and other measures against individuals "responsible for violence" in Zimbabwe marks a change of stance for Russia.

The G8 also called for a special UN Security Council envoy to report on the situation in Zimbabwe and help mediate.

African leaders earlier told the G8 they opposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, the chief regional negotiator on Zimbabwe who has been urging a unity government, reportedly told G8 leaders that UN sanctions could lead to civil war.

Senegal's leader, Abdoulaye Wade, told the AFP news agency: "I said that sanctions... wouldn't change the regime."

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe won re-election after the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) pulled out of a June run-off presidential vote, citing state-sponsored violence.

Violence

Tuesday's announcement by leaders of the G8 group of industrialised nations followed a change of position from Russia, which had previously refused to support such sanctions.

We do not accept the legitimacy of any government that does not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people

In a statement, the G8 leaders express "grave concern" about the situation in Zimbabwe and urge the government to "work with the opposition to achieve a prompt, peaceful resolution of the crisis".

They say they "do not accept the legitimacy of a government that does not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people".

The G8 will work with the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, the UN and other bodies, and urge the appointment of a UN envoy to bolster regional mediation efforts, they say.

"We will take further steps, inter alia introducing financial and other measures against individuals responsible for violence [in Zimbabwe]," the statement adds.

UK PM Gordon Brown said the international community was speaking with one voice

The move comes despite strong opposition from several African leaders, including Mr Mbeki, says the BBC's James Robbins in Hokkaido, Japan.

By calling for a UN representative to be involved in the mediation process, the G8 leaders are making it clear that they do not think Mr Mbeki's efforts have been adequate, our correspondent says.

Mr Mbeki is now likely to have to work alongside the UN in efforts to ensure that Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, has a leading role in any future government, he says.

Diplomats say they expect a sanctions package to be presented to the United Nations by the weekend and that Russia will not oppose the measures, our correspondent adds.

The US and the UK - Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler - have been pushing for the 15-member UN Security Council to tighten targeted sanctions this week.

DRAFT UN ZIMBABWE SANCTIONS LIST
Robert Mugabe, President
Constantine Chiwenga, Defence Forces Commander
Emmerson Mnangagwa, Rural Housing Minister
Gideon Gono, Reserve Bank head
Augustine Chihuri, Police chief
Patrick Chinamasa, Justice Minister
Perence Shiri, Air Force chief
David Parirenyatwa, Health Minister
Didymus Mutasa, Security and Lands Minister
George Charamba, President's spokesman
Paradzi Zimondi, Prison Service head
Happyton Bonyongwe, Central Intelligence Organisation head
Source: Draft UN Security Council resolution

Speaking at the G8 summit, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "This is the strongest possible statement.

"It shows the unanimity of the whole international community, reflecting the outrage people feel about the violence, the intimidation and the illegitimate holding of power by the Mugabe government."

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan in New York says the US has already tabled a resolution calling for an arms embargo against Zimbabwe, and a travel ban and asset freeze on Mr Mugabe and 11 top Zimbabwean officials.

France's ambassador to the UN has told the BBC he believes those in favour of the resolution have the nine votes out of 15 needed to pass it.

Five nations have the power to block it by voting no, among them China and Russia who, along with South Africa, have reservations about sanctions against Zimbabwe - however, they could abstain, our correspondent adds.

'Interference'

On Monday, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who also heads the African Union, said African leaders favoured some sort of power-sharing government.

Isolating and demonising Zimbabwe is not in the best interests of anyone
Bright Matonga
Zimbabwe's deputy information minister

Meanwhile, the opposition MDC has denied reports it is ready to resume talks with the government.

The party says 5,000 of its members are missing and more than 100 of its supporters have been murdered since a first round of elections in March.

The Zimbabwean government blames interference from Western countries for delaying a solution to the country's political impasse.

"It is the UK that is pushing for sanctions, but isolating and demonising Zimbabwe is not in the best interests of anyone. They should treat Zimbabwe as a partner rather than an enemy," South Africa's News24 website quotes Zimbabwe's Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga as saying.


FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Irish News Mugabe 'ready to form unity govt' - 9 hrs ago
Harrow Times Brown keeps up pressure on Mugabe - 9 hrs ago
Sunday Times South Africa SA still wont tackle Zimbabwe  - 9 hrs ago
Falmouth Packet Brown keeps up pressure on Mugabe - 9 hrs ago
Deutsche Welle G8 Promises Steps Against Zimbabwe But Divisions Remain - 9 hrs ago



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