Bush Calls for Sanctions Against Zimbabwe
ANDREA SEABROOK, host:
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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