US Pushing for New UN Sanctions Against Zimbabwe

(VOA) A U.S. draft resolution is being circulated at the United Nations that calls for new travel and financial sanctions against Zimbabwe’s government in response to that nation’s political crisis.

A copy of the draft resolution obtained by VOA calls for freezing the assets and restricting the travel of President Robert Mugabe and 11 other top Zimbabwe government officials. The proposed resolution also seeks to expand an arms embargo against the government.

Zimbabwe was plagued by violence in the weeks before last week’s presidential run-off vote. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai dropped out of the election days before the vote, citing violence against his supporters.

Mr. Mugabe went ahead with a one-man run-off election, and declared himself the winner.

Mr. Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, won the March 29 presidential election, but failed to win enough votes to avoid a second-round.

He is rejecting an African Union resolution calling for the creation of a power-sharing government in Zimbabwe.

In a statement released from the capital Harare, Mr. Tsvangirai said the resolution failed to acknowledge the MDC as the winner of the March elections, and does not adequately deal with the ongoing violence.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating the political crisis in Zimbabwe on behalf of the AU, is pushing for a power-sharing deal between Mr. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and the MDC.

But the opposition party has long criticized Mr. Mbeki as too soft on President Mugabe.

Zimbabwe’s information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu welcomed the resolution, saying Mr. Mugabe is open to dialogue to solve the nation’s problems, as he stated at his inauguration.