Archive for the ‘United Nations’ Category

Zimbabwean authorities received a warning on
Monday from the United States , over the
country ‘s growing cooperation with Iran ‘s
controversial nuclear programme .
P. J . Crowley , a spokesperson for the US State
Department , issued a strong statement warning
Zimbabwe that cooperating with Iran on its
nuclear programme would violate existing UN
resolutions. He said Zimbabwe could face
international penalties if it helped with Iran ‘s
nuclear development .
The State Department warning came after
Zimbabwe’s foreign minister , Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi, made statements suggesting
that UN sanctions on Iran are unfair and
hypocritical .
” The foreign minister of Zimbabwe is entitled to
his opinion but the government of Zimbabwe is
still bound by its commitments to the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty and relevant U . N .
Security Council resolutions ,” Crowley told
He said helping Iran to extract uranium would
violate U . N . Security Council resolutions and
” There are ramifications for countries that
decline to observe their international
obligations . “
Officials from Iran and Zimbabwe have been
holding talks to find a way to utilize large
reserves of uranium that were discovered in
Zimbabwe. It is known that Iran ‘ s foreign
minister visited Zimbabwe ” secretly ” in January
to assess the situation . After the visit, Robert
Mugabe denied reports that Iran had secured
uranium rights, but made statements suggesting
Iran had the right to ask for it .
Iran needs the uranium ore for its ambitious
and secretive nuclear development and
Zimbabwe does not have the expensive
equipment needed to process it. The US and its
UN allies believe Iran secretly wants to develop
nuclear weapons . Iran ‘s refusal to cooperate
with the UN Atomic watchdog has led to military
sanctions .
Noting that both Zimbabwe and Iran have been
criticized for harsh human rights abuses ,
Crowley joked: ” It would be quite a match for
Zimbabwe and Iran to cooperate ” on uranium

By Tererai Karimakwenda
9 March 2011
Sw radio Aftica


UNITED NATIONS ( Reuters) – The United
Nations is investigating suspected arms
transfers from Zimbabwe to Ivory Coast’s
incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo in violation
of U . N . sanctions , according to a report
obtained by Reuters.
The report emerged after a week of gun
battles between forces loyal to Gbagbo and his
rival Alassane Ouattara , almost universally
recognized as winner of a November 28 poll,
that risk pushing the top cocoa grower back to
full -blown civil war .
Diplomats on the U . N . Security Council said
the possible transfer of weapons to Gbagbo
was a serious matter. They said his forces
could use them against U . N . peacekeepers —
UNOCI, who recognize Ouattara as Ivory
Coast’s president — or Ivorian civilians who
support Ouattara .
UNOCI’ s confidential ” Embargo monitoring
report January 2011 ,” obtained by Reuters on
Thursday , said the mission was gathering more
information on ” the arrival of light weapons
cargoes from Zimbabwe. ” U . N . officials told
Reuters arms from Zimbabwe would have been
intended for Gbagbo and not Ouattara .
In January, Gbagbo sent a special envoy to
Harare to meet with and enlist the support of
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who like
Gbagbo has been accused by his opponents of
election fraud and is under U . S . and European
Union sanctions .
Ivory Coast has been under an arms embargo
since the last bout of serious violence in 2004 ,
when pro -Gbagbo forces bombed French
peacekeepers in the rebel -held north . Analysts
say both sides have repeatedly violated the
The report also said UNOCI was monitoring a
shipment of 10 large wooden boxes that ” may
contain trucks or tanks . “
” This cargo has been at Abidjan airport for six
months ,” the UNOCI report said . ” Aerial
pictures confirmed the presence of these
boxes, which are under 24 / 7 hours military
surveillance. “

Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch said
countries aiding Gbagbo should be careful :
” Given the documented pattern of unlawful
attacks on civilians by pro -Gbagbo forces ,
countries violating the arms embargo to
provide weapons to his forces might be
complicit in grave human rights abuses . “
The report spoke of a ” suspected cargo delivery
from Angola ,” involving two Soviet –
manufactured Sukhoi -27 fighter jets and a
Soviet -made MIG- 25 interceptor and
reconnaissance bomber , spotted at San Pedro
airport in Cape Verde, and a Russian cargo
plane seen at Abidjan in January.
The Russian aircraft ” has a considerable cargo
capacity to carry heavy military equipment or a
company of soldiers ,” the report said .
The report did not explicitly say whether the
fighter jets were linked to Gbagbo’s
government. But it said UNOCI had received
information that the ” same ( Russian cargo )
aircraft had supplied equipment to the Ivorian
government in 2005. “
An official at Zimbabwe’ s mission expressed
surprise about the allegation and declined to
comment. Diplomats at Angola ‘ s U . N . mission
were not immediately available for a reaction .
Gbagbo has ordered UNOCI out of the country ,
a demand the mission has ignored . U . N .
troops have been protecting Ouattara , who is
holed up in an Abidjan hotel along with his
The UNOCI report is not the first of a possible
transfer of military aircraft to Gbagbo. U . N .
peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy apologized to
Belarus for a U . N . statement on Monday
alleging that an initial shipment of attack
helicopters had arrived in Ivory Coast from
Belarus .
Diplomats said the statement on the helicopter
sale issued by Secretary -General Ban Ki -moon ‘s
press office was based on credible U . S .
intelligence . Ouattara ‘s U . N . envoy Youssoufou
Bamba told reporters that the only incorrect
part of the statement was that a first shipment
had arrived .
” It’s true that he ( Gbagbo) wanted these three
helicopters to be smuggled into Cote d ‘Ivoire
and be assembled,” he said . ” This is something
we have from credible sources of intelligence . “

By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS | Thu Mar 3 , 2011 6 : 01 pm
( Editing by Mohammad Zargham )

THE United Nations ‘ top human rights official
called yesterday for the release of dozens of
activists arrested in Zimbabwe for discussing the
uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia .
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi
Pillay said some of those arrested and charged
with treason , from the International Socialist
Organisation and other social justice and human
rights groups , had alleged they were beaten in
detention .
” The arrests appear to be part of a growing
crackdown on civil society and members of the
political opposition , and are a clear sign that the
establishment of a consolidated democracy in
Zimbabwe is still very far from assured, ” she
said in a statement .
Police in Zimbabwe said they arrested 46 people
in Harare last month as they watched videos of
North African protests and discussed possible
demonstrations in Zimbabwe, where President
Robert Mugabe , 87 , has held power for 31
years .
Pillay, a former UN war crimes judge , has
spoken out in support of protesters in North
Africa and the Middle East and said a crackdown
against demonstrators in Libya could amount to
crimes against humanity. She said yesterday the
uprisings had made it clear ” there is no true
democracy without freedom of expression and
assembly” .
” It is therefore both deeply ironic and disturbing
that, in Zimbabwe, activists are being arrested
and mistreated simply for discussing North
Africans’ efforts to bring about change through
largely peaceful protests, ” she said .
� Zimbabwean police and troops are putting on
a show of force in the capital as calls for
protests against the long -time authoritarian
ruler appear to have gone unheeded.
Armoured cars , trucks of riot police and Israeli –
built water cannon vehicles have swept through
Harare since Saturday , fanning out into
townships around the city . Authorities have
given no official explanation for the display of
Messages , many of them anonymous , posted on
Zimbabwean websites called for protests
yesterday . But there has been no open
campaigning for demonstrators to turn out on
the streets .
Mugabe is scheduled to address a mass rally in
central Harare today. – Reuters , Sapa- AP

Mar 1, 2011 10 : 01 PM | By unknown