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Sanctions versus diplomacy debate over Mugabe

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Sanctions versus diplomacy debate over Mugabe


Robert Mugabe is expected to be sworn in for another term as Zimbabwe’s president today, amid growing international condemnation of Friday’s one-man run-off election.

Leaders such as United States President George Bush are proposing sanctions. But African foreign ministers, meeting in Sharm el Sheikh ahead of tomorrow’s African Union summit say sanctions are ineffective.

“History has shown us that they don’t work because the leadership just dig in and dig in and feel persecuted and do even worse things. I think we must engage Zimbabwe – the route of sanctions may not be a helpful one,” commented Kenyan foreign minister, Moses Wetangula.

The African Union helped mediate an end to post-election violence in Kenya earlier this year.

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma was on the same wavelength as Wetangula.

“If countries ill treat their citizens, it will impact on their neighbours and I don’t think we want that situation,” he said. “That’s why we are calling for a political arrangement that must help solve the situation in Zimbabwe for the good of all of us.”

Mugabe, who is due to attend the AU summit, dismisses Western criticism as post-colonial interference. But he may find it more difficult to ignore attacks from African leaders.

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