Zimbabwe Arms Shipment Blocked

April 24, 2008 03:22 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Zimbabwe's coastal neighbors stopped a Chinese tanker carrying weapons from docking on Tuesday, forcing the ship to return to China.

30-Second Summary

The An Yue Jiang, a boat operated by the China Ocean Shipping Company, was denied port access by South Africa, Mozambique, Angola and Namibia, then forced to return to China.

The blockade was due in large part to American diplomatic pressure, reports South African paper the Mail & Guardian.

On Wednesday, U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for a total embargo on arms to Zimbabwe.

Xinhua, China’s state news agency, quoted Mugabe’s foreign ministry as saying that the 1,500 rocket grenades, 2,500 mortar rounds and 3 million rounds of ammunition were to be used solely for national defense, and not against civilians protesting in favor of opposition party Movement for Democratic Change. 

China has been a steadfast ally of Zimbabwe and the Mugabe regime since the African nation gained independence from Britain in 1980.

State-run Zimbabwe newspaper The Herald ran an editorial by a Dr. Obediah Mukura Mazombwe—some suspect Mazombwe is the nom de plume of a ruling party ideologue— condemning the West’s position. “The Anglo-American establishments … should stop playing godfather and policeman to the world. They do not have the moral worth and authority to do that,” wrote Mazombwe.

The editorial concluded by proposing a power-sharing agreement between the MDC and Mugabe’s party Zanu-PF, with Mugabe retaining the presidency.

South African majority party leader Jacob Zuma voiced his support for the plan while meeting with Brown in London on Wednesday. “From the point of view of what the Zimbabwean people have said, [a unity government] should be very realistic,” he said.

Headline Link: ‘Turned Away, Chinese Weapons for Zimbabwe Head Home’

Video: ‘MDC Urges UN Action on Zimbabwe’

Background: Post-election Zimbabwe in chaos

Reactions: ‘Zim Arms Ship “Not in South African Waters”’

Opinion & Analysis: Resolution, not arms

Reference: Zimbabwe and election results


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