British Minister: Mugabe on a 'Slippery Slope'

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President Bush is seeking sanctions against Zimbabwe after what he calls a "sham" election, but the government there is expected to swear in President Robert Mugabe on Sunday.

Zimbabwe's government says Mugabe was victorious in Friday's one-person presidential runoff. Forces loyal to Mugabe reportedly forced people to the polls. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said millions boycotted the election despite the intimidation.

Bush says he's seeking strong action from the United Nations, including an arms embargo and travel ban against Zimbabwe officials.

In an interview with Scott Simon, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, Britain's Minister for Africa, Asia and the U.N. and a prominent figure in efforts to pressure the Mugabe regime, says sanctions must target Mugabe and the people around him personally.

"We've already got steps against them, and I think those now need to go global," he says. "We need to chase their financial assets. We need to chase them when they travel with potential human rights arrest warrants. We perhaps have to look at preventing their children from going abroad to college and university."

Malloch-Brown called the condemnation from the United States, the European Union and African nations "reflective of a very different global political environment."

"For many years, President Mugabe could argue it was him against Britain and the U.S.," he says. "Today it's him against the world as there are neighbors, many African countries, who have come out against him."

The world's reaction is going to be "very destabilizing for him," Malloch-Brown says. "Initially, just politically. But if he holds on, then I think you will see not just U.S. and European sanctions, but perhaps U.N.-based sanctions implemented by his African neighbors. So I think he's on a slippery slope now."

Malloch-Brown says African governments have become "very proud" of their improved democratic performance in recent years, and "Mugabe has become a stain on that." He says Africa is anxious to move on and to see a transition in Zimbabwe.

The situation needs to be solved through a combination of political and economic steps, he says. "The idea of a Western intervention has been ruled out."

But Zimbabwe's neighbors could be forced to intervene. "It may be that in the face of the collapse of a country that South Africa and the other neighbors would have no choice but to try and stabilize [Zimbabwe]."



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