UK pushes for Zim sanctions

Following his meeting yesterday with Zimbabwean refugees in Johannesburg, British foreign secretary David Miliband said it was "imperative" to find a solution to the worsening crisis in Zimbabwe.

Following his meeting yesterday with Zimbabwean refugees in Johannesburg, British foreign secretary David Miliband said it was "imperative" to find a solution to the worsening crisis in Zimbabwe.

After meeting with about 2000 refugees at the Methodist Church, Miliband said Britain would redouble its efforts to ensure that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's regime was not seen as "a legitimate representation of the will of the people of Zimbabwe".

Miliband also called for the international community to support US-proposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to be tabled soon at the United Nations Security Council in New York.

Miliband arrived in South Africa earlier yesterday for talks with Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma under the auspices of the South Africa-UK Bilateral Forum.

His visit follows President Thabo Mbeki's attempt on Saturday to kickstart talks between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on a proposed government of national unity.

Mbeki held talks in Harare with Mugabe and members of a smaller faction of Tsvangirai's MDC led by Arthur Mutambara. Tsvangirai boycotted the talks.

An MDC spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, said the conditions Tsvangirai had set out for talks, including the involvement of the AU, had not been met.

African Union heads of state meeting in Egypt last week called on Mugabe and Tsvangirai to share power after Mugabe claimed victory in a controversial presidential run-off election.

Tsvangirai, who won the first round of the presidential election in March, withdrew from the run-off over a spate of attacks on his supporters.

The impasse in Zimbabwe is expected to feature prominently at the Group of Eight summit in Tokyo this week. - Sapa-dpa

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