Stanley's blog

What is happening in Zimbabwe is horrific and unforgivable. The proposed sanctions resolution on Zimbabwe, rejected by the UN Security Council after vetoes by Russia and China on 11 July, is the latest example of a diplomatic and economic weapon that has a distinctly mixed history of success and failure. Whatever the true reasons for the vetos, the contention that it does not affect international peace and security, cannot be dismissed out of hand.

This may sound callous, but is it not time that we stepped back and left it to the African Union, stressing that we will help in any way they suggest? We will not be able to remove Mugabe without the Africans and, arguably, our pressure is counter-productive and led by an ex-colonial power.

This would also be a better test of African resolve as Mugabe remains – at least historically – an anti-colonialist hero. Their leaders still feel a certain loyalty towards him, and some of them do not want to encourage a precedent for improving the conditions in their own countries. South Africa holds the key and the ultimate question is what will change the attitude of Mbeke.

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