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11 July 2008 - Zimbabwe - Explanation of vote by Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(translated from French)

On 23 June, the Security Council determined here in this Chamber that conditions had not been established for fair and free elections in Zimbabwe on 27 June and condemned the campaign of violence launched against the opposition. That Government decided to ignore the appeals of the international community. International observers deployed by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the Pan-African Parliament and the African Union confirmed that the vote was neither just nor equitable. Indeed, we saw a parody of an election and a denial of democracy.

Political violence continues in Zimbabwe. Today, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees indicated that a growing number of refugees have had to flee their country, bearing the scars of beatings and even of torture.

We must act to end that situation, which, as the Secretary-General noted, threatens to destabilize all of southern Africa. France fully supports the efforts of the African Union, SADC and, in particular, Jean Ping and President Mbeki to help the Zimbabweans to find a fair and lasting solution to the crisis. The European Union has indicated that any formula would be acceptable that respects the will of the people of Zimbabwe as expressed in the elections of 29 March, in which Mr. Tsvangirai and his party prevailed.

We believe that the United Nations and the African Union have an important role to play, but if genuine political dialogue to end the crisis is to begin, pressure is also necessary in order to protect the people and to hold those who are blocking the current political process accountable. That is why France and other States members of the European Union have endorsed the need to adopt a reversible sanctions regime targeting those who have perpetrated violence and providing for an arms embargo. France therefore co sponsored the draft resolution submitted by the United States to that end.

France notes that the European Union is considering intensifying the sanctions measures it already has in place. Furthermore, the communiqué issued by the most recent summit of the heads of State and Government of the G8 referred explicitly to additional phases and actions, including financial measures.

We note that the draft resolution received nine votes in favour from Council members. We note that it was not adopted; each member assumed its responsibilities. What is important now is to ensure the victory of freedom and democracy in Zimbabwe to which the people of that country are entitled after so many years of misery and suffering.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU