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Bush Calls for Sanctions Against Zimbabwe

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Bush Calls for Sanctions Against Zimbabwe


Bush Calls for Sanctions Against Zimbabwe

Bush Calls for Sanctions Against Zimbabwe

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President Bush has called for additional sanctions against Zimbabwe, which held a runoff presidential election on Friday that was marred by violence and widely seen as a sham. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, who is on her way to a summit meeting of the African Union, talks about sanctions and what she hopes to gain at the meeting.


From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Andrea Seabrook.

President Bush wants new sanctions against Zimbabwe. Today he ordered his administration to develop the penalties after yesterday's election there which Mr. Bush called a sham. There's no doubt that Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe won reelection after weeks of violence directed at opposition supporters. Mugabe's opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, dropped out of the race and took refuge in the Dutch embassy.

Joining me now is the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer. Secretary Frazer, what kinds of sanctions is President Bush considering?

Ms. JENDAYI FRAZER (U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs): We have currently financial and travel ban on certain members of the government. We would look to expand that to additional members but also to have multilateral sanctions with the United States Security Council.

We're calling for an arms embargo and the government that is basically beating its population into submission, forcing them to go out to vote for a candidate that they don't support.

SEABROOK: Now, there have been sanctions, U.S. sanctions, against Zimbabwe for five years now. They don't really seem to have worked much.

Ms. FRAZER: Well, we certainly believe that one of the keys to sanctions working best is for them to be multilateral. Clearly certain officials cannot do transactions in our banking system, they can't travel to the United States except for to go to the U.N.

But when sanctions are carried throughout the European Union and they're multilateral through the United Nations we think that they will be far more effective.

SEABROOK: There's news today that South Africa has returned refugees from Zimbabwe that had crossed the border into South Africa. What makes you think that country would be willing to get into a political scuffle with Zimbabwe?

Ms. FRAZER: Well, South Africa is one of the lead countries within a southern African development community, and all of those countries have agreed to a set of principles for elections should be conducted. I think everyone is looking for South Africa to demonstrate the type of leadership that South Africans themselves called for when they were under apartheid regime.

They called for sanctions against their government; they called for the isolation of their government. And so for them to shield Mugabe, what he's doing, acts as terrible as some that were carried out under the apartheid regime is inexplicable.

SEABROOK: Secretary Frazer, I understand you're heading off today to the African Union's annual summit - it's in Egypt. And on your agenda is these sanctions. But I understand Robert Mugabe is expected to attend the meeting as well.

Ms. FRAZER: Well, he very well may show up at the meeting and I think that what's important at that meeting is for the countries to collectively say to him that he has no legitimacy. It's my understanding that at the ministerial level they've already held one meeting on Zimbabwe and a Zimbabwean foreign minister came saying that there's a huge turnout - basically lying about the situation in Zimbabwe - and that the ministers all refuted that information.

You know, many of the ministers held to account the foreign minister of Zimbabwe, and I hope the same would take place at the heads of state meeting if Robert Mugabe would show up at Sharm el Sheikh.

SEABROOK: How does it work when you're at a summit like this with that on your agenda? Do you meet with anyone or does anyone under you at any level meet with Robert Mugabe's government?

Ms. FRAZER: Well, no, we won't meet with his government. Our ambassador in Harare certainly does. But at the summit I will be meeting with the heads of state of many of the countries. All of them, my past experience have shown, will want to talk about Zimbabwe.

Clearly, everyone wants an outcome that will lead to peace and the voice of the Zimbabwean people being respected. And so some type of negotiation at this point is inevitable.

SEABROOK: Will you be placing special pressure on South Africa and Thabo Mbeki's government?

Ms. FRAZER: Well, we certainly think that South Africa has a key role to play in resolving this crisis. And we would be interested to know more of what's taking place in their mediation. We feel that that mediation would be strengthened by including an African Union and a U.N. person on it, especially if we achieve some type of transitional government. It will take the entire international community to help restore the economy and help reconcile the society.

And so getting the A.U. and the U.N. in early will be important to lasting peace in Zimbabwe.

SEABROOK: Jendayi Frazer is the assistant secretary of state for African affairs. Thanks for speaking with us.

Ms. FRAZER: Thank you.

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British Minister: Mugabe on a 'Slippery Slope'

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]."