BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
GOVERNMENT has defended its decision not to vote against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, saying it chose to abstain because it does not support the imposition of sanctions against member States.
The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the majority of the member States calling on Moscow to stop the aggression.
A total of 141 member States voted for the anti-Russia resolution.
Zimbabwe, China and South Africa were among the 35 countries which abstained, while Eritrea, North Korea, Syria, Belarus and Russia voted against the resolution.
In a statement yesterday, Foreign Affairs acting minister Amon Murwira said Zimbabwe abstained from the UN vote because the Russia-Ukraine conflict was complex.
“Zimbabwe abstained in that (UN) vote. We wish to assure you that Zimbabwe is a strong believer in the UN Charter and all its principles and purposes including the peaceful settlement of disputes,” he said.
“The situation in Ukraine is a very complex one and is deeply-rooted in the history and geopolitics of that region. Zimbabwe believes that it is the duty of the international community not to make that situation more complex than it already is.
“The international community must tirelessly work towards the facilitation of dialogue aimed at finding a durable solution to the situation. Unilateral sanctions have never worked to resolve any situation. On the contrary, sanctions unleash untold humanitarian crises and the suffering of ordinary people.”
UN General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding.
Russia launched full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24 pleading self-defence from its rival under Article 51 of the UN Charter.
Political commentator Vivid Gwede said Harare’s decision was predictable given its strong links with Russia.
“Given how the Zimbabwean government is historically cosy with Russia and the Eastern bloc’s autocratic ideologies as well as how it has previously voted with and been supported by China and Russia in the UN, it would have wished to return the favour by even voting against the resolution. The other possibility is that Zimbabwe fears repercussions of antagonism with the West at a time when it has been wishing to re-engage,” he said.
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