Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mugabe asks Britain, US to lift sanctions

Mugabe asks Britain, US to lift sanctions
By Larry Moonze in Havana, Cuba
Saturday September 27, 2008 [04:00]

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe has said his country understands only too well that sustainable development is not possible without agrarian reform. And President Mugabe paid special tribute to Thabo Mbeki of South Africa whose patience, fortitude, sensitivity, diplomatic skills and painstaking work made it possible for the Zimbabwean parties to overcome what had appeared to be insurmountable and intractable difficulties to reaching an all-inclusive unit government agreement.

President Mugabe also asked Britain and the US to lift their sanctions against Zimbabwe so that the country could focus on its economic turnaround programme undisturbed.

Before the 63rd UN General Assembly session in New York on Thursday, President Mugabe said his government had gone a long way in laying the foundation for sustainable food production through its Land Reform Programme.

He said the majority of rural people had been empowered to contribute to household and national food security and to be masters of their own destiny.

"However, the effects of climate change that have included recurrent droughts and floods in the past seven years and the illegal, unilaterally-imposed sanctions on my country have hindered Zimbabwe's efforts to increase food production," President Mugabe said.

He appealed to the world's collective conscience to apply pressure for the immediate removal of the sanctions by Britain, the United States and their allies which had brought untold suffering to Zimbabweans.

President Mugabe said cooperative and pacific approach often led to lasting solutions to conflicts.

"We therefore deplore the vindictive approach which often is characterised by self righteous finger-pointing, double standards and the imposition of unilateral sanctions to coerce smaller and weaker countries to bow to the wishes of militarily stronger states," he said.

President Mugabe said not long ago, some permanent members of the UN Security Council sought to invoke Chapter VII of the UN Charter so its weight of sanctions and other measures could be applied against Zimbabwe which by any stretch of imagination was not a threat to international peace and security.

"What insanity is this that has afflicted some world leaders," he asked. "Should the sacred document, the UN Charter, be allowed to suffer such undeserved emasculation and disgraceful abuse? Where is the protection of the small and innocent countries like mine from the threatened and real acts of aggression and punitive acts often based on completely false allegations of violations of the rule of law, democracy or human rights? By the way, those who falsely accuse us of these violations are themselves international perpetrators of genocide, acts of aggression and mass destruction."

President Mugabe said masses of innocent men, women and children who have perished in Iraq demanded retribution and vengeance.

"Who shall heed their cry?" he asked. "Surely those who invaded Iraq under false pretences and on the strength of contrived lies and in blatant violation of the Charter and international law must be made liable for them."

President Mugabe said Zimbabwe derived solace from the fact there were some UN Security Council permanent members who took principled stands and protected the country's sovereignty.

He said their acts ensured Zimbabwe did not fall prey to a cocktail of lies which had been designed by detractors to call for stiff UN sanctions.

"While we recognise the important role of the offices of the Secretary General in assisting member states to resolve political and other problems, we are of the view that international civil servants should discharge their noble duties with sensitivity and neutrality," President Mugabe said. "At no time should they seek to pander to the whims of the mighty against the weak."

He informed the Assembly that the inter-party talks in Zimbabwe ended with the signing of an agreement on the formation of an all-inclusive government on September 15.

President Mugabe said achieving the agreement entirely by African mediation was clear testimony that Africa was capable of solving her challenges and problems which were often the remnants of colonialism.

"In that regard, I wish to pay special tribute to president Thabo Mbeki of South Africa whose patience,fortitude, sensitivity, diplomatic skills and painstaking work made it possible for the Zimbabwean parties to overcome what had appeared to be insurmountable and intractable difficulties to reaching agreement," said President Mugabe.

"My party, ZANU-PF will abide by the spirit and letter of the agreement to which we have appended our signature. As government, we are prepared to cooperate with all countries which also respect Zimbabwe's sovereignty."

He thanked the SADC, the African Union and individual African and other leaders who lent their support to the unity government accord.



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