Bush threatens sanctions against Mugabe

June 29th, 2008 - 4:29 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 28 (DPA) US President George W. Bush Saturday criticized the presidential election run-off in Zimbabwe, calling for sanctions and a weapons embargo against the government led by President Robert Mugabe. In a declaration from the White House, Bush denounced the Zimbabwe presidential polls in which Mugabe was the sole candidate as a “sham election” and repudiated “the Mugabe regime’s blatant disregard for the Zimbabwean people’s democratic will and human rights”.

Bush promised to take strong action through the United Nations as well as taking bilateral actions.

The election run-off took place Friday in a climate of fear and harassment, which had caused the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out of the race.

The election drew strong criticism from the international community, including the UN Security Council.

French ambassador to the UN, Jean Maurice Ripert, told reporters Friday that the 15-member council had instead “reaffirmed” its declaration from Monday, when it sent a “very clear message” to Mugabe that it would be impossible to hold free and fair elections June 27.

“Today, the government of Zimbabwe chose to ignore this message and to steal democracy,” Ripert said. “This election lost all legitimacy as for the power which will come from it.”

The organization Human Rights Watch had reported that Mugabe-loyal youth militia had fanned out across the country in the 48 hours preceding the vote, threatening people with violence if they did not vote for Mugabe.

The president’s regime is blamed for the country’s economic ruin, including inflation levels of two million percent according to MDC estimates and the collapse of the country’s agriculture following the seizing of white-owned farms in a controversial redistribution of land ownership.

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