Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Monday, 14 July 2008 13:38 UK

PM 'regrets' Zimbabwe plan veto

Gordon Brown
Mr Brown said Zimbabwe's government was 'illegitimate'

Gordon Brown has said he "regrets" China and Russia's decision to veto the UN Security Council's proposed sanctions against Zimbabwe.

At his monthly press conference, the prime minister said he would track the assets of Robert Mugabe's regime, to allow "tougher action" later.

Proposals put to the UN included an arms embargo and travel ban on Mr Mugabe and his allies.

Mr Brown said he reserved the right to seek another resolution.

'Hard to defend'

Zimbabwe has faced growing criticism since the re-election of Mr Mugabe in a run-off boycotted by the opposition.

But Russia and China said they had opposed the resolution last Friday because the situation in the country did not threaten international stability.

Mr Brown said: "I think it is difficult to justify the vetoes that were put on the Zimbabwean resolution by both China and Russia.

"I think it's very hard to defend taking action when we know that we've got an illegitimate government that is holding power through violence, that is arresting people and putting them as political prisoners, incarcerating them, and a government that seems determined to hold onto power.

"That's why I regret what China and Russia did. Russia in particular had supported what we were proposing at the G8."

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change party say they had faced a campaign of violence by Mugabe supporters.

The resolution had the support of nine security council members, the minimum required to pass in the 15-member council.

But the veto of any of the five permanent members - which include Russia and China - is enough to defeat a resolution.


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