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At UN, Zim Sanctions Killed by Double Veto, Colonialism Charged, Sudan and ICC Foreshadowed: Who Is Isolating Whom?

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, July 11 -- Past 4 p.m. on Friday, the Security Council went into an open meeting on Zimbabwe. On his way in, Chinese Ambassador Wang said, "It is extremely difficult for China," which to many reporters meant that China would veto the sanctions resolution. But then the vote was called for. Zimbabwe spoke first, accusing the UK of hounding its former colony in forums from the Human Rights Council to the Commonwealth to "propaganda" media.

  In the run up to the meeting, the Johannesburg Star's intrepid correspondent reported that South Africa offered a compromise, to threaten sanctions in 30 or 60 days, in the form of a Presidential Statement. But such a change would preclude a vote on Friday. So the call to the formal meeting, which Inner City Press ran to observe from the nearly-empty balcony seats, left many surprised.

5:31 p.m. -- Indonesia abstained, and five voted against: Vietnam, Libya, South Africa and Russia and China, the latter two with veto power. When their arms went up to vote no, many were surprised. But the proponents must have known, from their consultations earlier on Friday. So why did they still call it for a vote? A lone veto-er, as the U.S. has sometimes been, can be described as isolated. But to have a partner in the veto, and three other no's and an abstention, is hardly isolation.

For now we add: if a resolution were proposed to suspend an ICC indictment of Sudan's president, it would face vetoes in reverse...

Other updates below.

Ambassadors of South Africa and Zimbabwe, out of focus

4:29 --  South Africa says it will vote "no" on Zim resolution, based on AU position.

4:38 -- Libya says leave it to regional groups, this resolution violates Zimbabwe's sovereignty. Will vote no. But here comes Burkina-Faso...

4:42 -- Burkina-Faso says, based on arms embargo, it will "lend its support" to this draft resolution.  Rejects Libya's argument that the resolution would embold MDC and make them not negotiate.

4:47 -- Indonesia says applying sanctions at this stage would undermine ongoing mediation, and so will abstain

4:50 -- Vietnam says it is not a threat to international peace and security, praises South African president "McBeki" and his mediation

5:31 p.m. -- Indonesia abstained, and five voted against: Vietnam, Libya, South Africa and Russia and China, the latter two with veto power. So the resolution failed. Afterwards French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, when asked if the proponents miscalculated by calling the vote, pointed out that there were 9 votes for -- including, notably, Burkina-Faso -- and that the EU can continue with its own moves against Zimbabwe.

  Inner City Press asked about South Africa's statement that Bernard Kouchner's statement that only a government led by the MDC would be legitimate worked against passage of the resolution. Ripert bristled, saying he was only answering so Inner City Press wouldn't call him unresponsive, and pointing to a July 4 statement referring to the March vote in Zimbabwe. Then he left. Video here, at end.

But the Kouchner quote, by Agence France Presse, was that "the government is illegitimate if it isn't led by opposition leader Mr Tsvangirai."

  Ambassador Wang spoke on Zimbabwe, and then answered a question from Inner City Press about Darfur and the International Criminal Court. To be continued.

Watch this site. And this --


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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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