Page last updated at 13:38 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 14:38 UK

Zimbabwe sanctions call 'racist'

Central Intelligence Organisation head Happyton Bonyongwe (l); army chief Constantine Chiwenga (c) and President Robert Mugabe (r)
The spy chief (l) and army chief (c) are on the proposed sanctions list

Zimbabwe has denounced calls for UN sanctions over disputed polls as "a colonial and racist campaign".

Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said the issue did not belong on the UN Security Council's agenda as Zimbabwe was not a threat to world peace.

The US and the UK are pushing for a travel ban and assets freeze on President Robert Mugabe and 13 of his allies, and an arms embargo.

Meanwhile, leaders of South Africa's ruling party have met Mr Mugabe.

South Africa sees a government of national unity as a more realistic solution to Zimbabwe's crisis.

Ahead of an expected UN Security Council resolution on Zimbabwe, the European Parliament has called on European countries to impose more economic sanctions against members of Zimbabwe's government.

The parliament in Strasbourg said travel restrictions on businessmen who finance Mr Mugabe's government should be among new measures.

It also said the banks that provide loans or invest in Zimbabwe should be exposed. The vote is non-binding.

Bail conditions eased

Zimbabwean journalist Brian Hungwe says there are no details of the president's meeting with two African National Congress (ANC) officials in the capital, Harare.

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
Sydney Sekeremayi, Defence Minister
Joseph Made, State Minister for Agricultural Engineering
Source: Draft UN Security Council resolution

But the ANC Deputy-President Kgalema Motlanthe repeated the African Union's call for dialogue between Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Their meeting came as the High Court eased bail conditions on MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti to allow him to travel to South Africa for proposed crisis talks on forming a unity government.

Mr Biti's lawyer told the court that opposition talks with Zanu-PF were due to begin in Pretoria this week.

South Africa's leader Thabo Mbeki, the regionally appointed mediator, was in Zimbabwe over the weekend to meet the two parties.

But MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted the talks, saying meeting Mr Mugabe at State House would mean recognising his legitimacy as president.

The MDC says more than 100 of its supporters have been killed since it won elections in March, some 5,000 are missing and more than 200,000 have been forced from their homes.

It pulled out of a presidential run-off last month, citing state-sponsored violence and leaving Mr Mugabe unopposed.

The UN Security Council is due to meet in New York to discuss a draft resolution on Zimbabwe despite several African leaders saying they oppose sanctions, including South Africa.

Mr Mbeki reportedly told G8 leaders earlier this week that UN sanctions could lead to civil war.

South Africa is currently on the UN Security Council but does not have the power of veto.

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