Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Wednesday, 9 July 2008 17:08 UK

G8 'revulsion' at Zimbabwe crisis

Gordon Brown speaking about Zimbabwe at the G8 summit

Gordon Brown has said the G8 summit has made clear the world's "revulsion" at the situation in Zimbabwe and urged countries to support an arms embargo.

He said the crisis following Robert Mugabe's re-election had been at the centre of talks and all G8 members recognised the regime was illegitimate.

A UN resolution with new sanctions on 14 named individuals and arms embargo, is being backed by the UK and US.

But Russia may veto the UN sanctions, also opposed by some African leaders.

Mr Mugabe was declared the winner of a one-candidate run-off election, amid reports of the violent intimidation of his opponents.

Run-off election

In a wide-ranging press conference on the last day of the G8 summit, Mr Brown said the talks had made clear the "revulsion of the world" at President Mugabe's regime and that the recent election had not been "free or fair".

He said the only legitimate result had been the first presidential election on 29 March, when official results gave opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai more votes than Mr Mugabe - but not enough to avoid a run-off.

The mood is outrage against what is happening in Zimbabwe, disgust at the behaviour of the Mugabe regime
Gordon Brown

Mr Tsvangirai later pulled out of the presidential run-off, citing violence in the campaign.

The prime minister said he was "hopeful" he could gain "considerable support" for a draft UN resolution that would stop named members of the regime from travelling to other countries and would freeze bank accounts in any country.

It would also impose a UN arms embargo, including weapons, military vehicles and equipment, against Zimbabwe, he said.

'Blood on its hands'

But Russia's ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said some parts of the draft were "quite excessive" and "clearly in conflict with the notion of sovereignty of a state member of the United Nations".

And in his closing press conference at the summit Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said that "no concrete decisions" had been taken on further international action against Zimbabwe.

Asked earlier about Russia's attitude to the UN draft resolution, Mr Brown said every country in the G8 had backed sanctions against Zimbabwe and he hoped the UN Security Council would find it possible to support the resolution.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson
At the end of his first summit, Gordon Brown believes it's been worthwhile. He's been in his element here
Nick Robinson
BBC political editor

He said: "I believe the mood, not just of the G8, but of other countries present... the mood is outrage against what is happening in Zimbabwe, disgust at the behaviour of the Mugabe regime, an acceptance by all of them that this is an illegitimate regime that has got blood on its hands."

Asked later whether China would support the plans, Mr Brown said: "We do not expect to get every country to support us on this but we believe we can gain sufficient support for this important resolution to be passed over the next few days."

Both Russia and China have the power of veto at the UN Security Council.

'Regime change'

Later Ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku, who negotiates at the UN on behalf of Zimbabwe, told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme that moves to introduce sanctions would fail. "It's an indictment to all developing countries that if we let it happen to Zimbabwe, who is next?

"There you find the United Kingdom and the United States trying to effect a regime change in Zimbabwe using the Security Council. I'm sure there are reasonable voices in council who will resist that."

But Sir John Sawers, the British ambassador to the UN, told the same programme: "I think the Russians will need to think a little carefully about signing up to such a statement one day in the G8 and then blocking something which implements it in the Security Council just a day or so later."

He added: "We believe that there is sufficient support around the council table and we think it would be unwise for either Russia or China, after what they've said given the wider issues at stake - for them to block what is a very strongly held view, not just in Europe and the United States but in many countries around Africa."




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