- Title: UNITED NATIONS: British PM calls for resolution in Zimbabwe
- Date: 17th April 2008
- Summary: (BN11) UNITED NATIONS (FILE) (REUTERS) UNITED NATIONS BUILDING
- Embargoed: 2nd May 2008 13:00
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVABRRTLNPJTU0DNHFDVYXQDXSUO
- Story Text: Britain joined the U.N. secretary general and the chairman of the African Union in raising the crisis in Zimbabwe at a summit of Security Council and African leaders on Wednesday despite efforts by South Africa to focus on other issues.
"No one thinks, having seen the results of polling stations, that President (Robert) Mugabe has won" the March 29 elections in Zimbabwe, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the summit.
No results have so far been announced from the presidential vote in the southern African country, a former British colony.
"A stolen election would not be a democratic election at all," Brown said. "Let a single clear message go out from here in New York that we ... stand solidly behind democracy and human rights for Zimbabwe."
South Africa, current president of the Security Council, scheduled the summit to discuss cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union. It did not include Zimbabwe as an official topic but many Western countries had said they would raise the issue.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, who chaired Wednesday's summit, has insisted that the situation in Zimbabwe is not a crisis and can be resolved through the Southern Africa Development Community, which has avoided a tough stand.
Without mentioning South Africa or SADC by name, Ban made it clear that he was not satisfied with this approach.
"The Zimbabwean authorities and the countries of the region have insisted that these matters are for the region to resolve but the international community continues to watch and wait for decisive action,"
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the gathering.
Ban has said he will meet with a number of leaders on the sidelines of Wednesday's meeting to discuss Zimbabwe.
Mbeki made no mention of Zimbabwe or any specific African conflicts in his opening remarks, focusing instead on a general need to boost cooperation between the AU and Security Council in Africa to improve peacekeeping operations.
The Security Council is not expected to take any action on Zimbabwe because of resistance from South Africa and other council members. But any discussion of the issue at the meeting helps to boost the pressure on Mugabe, Western diplomats say.
Brown and Ban called for more action to ease the crisis in the western Sudan region of Darfur, where only 9,000 of the required 26,000 U.N.-AU peacekeepers have been deployed.
Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf told the Security Council, many members of which are reluctant to send U.N. troops to Somalia, that international peacekeepers were urgently needed to bring stability to his lawless country.
The council plans to adopt a resolution at the summit calling for better ties with the AU and other regional groups.
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