Leaders from the world's biggest industrial nations met with African
heads of state to discuss the political crisis in Zimbabwe. VOA White
House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, African leaders are divided
over calls for sanctions against Zimbabwe's long-time ruler Robert
Zimbabwe's political crisis dominated more than three
hours of talks among chiefs of the Group of Eight leading industrial
nations and heads of state from Algeria, Ethiopia, Senegal, South
Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Ghana.
The United States has
drafted a United Nations resolution to impose targeted sanctions
including an arms embargo and a travel ban against President Mugabe and
his allies. Mr. Mugabe won re-election last month in a runoff
boycotted by the chief opposition candidate because of attacks against
Speaking to reporters at the Group of
Eight summit in Japan, U.S. President George Bush said G8 leaders
listened very carefully to their African colleagues about their concern
for what is going on in Zimbabwe.
"I care deeply about the
people of Zimbabwe. I am extremely disappointed in the elections which
I labeled a sham election," President Bush said.
spoke alongside Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who is the chairman
of the African Union. That group's meeting in Egypt last week called
for talks to establish a national unity government but did not endorse
sanctions. President Kikwete told President Bush that, as friends, they
would ultimately come to an understanding about the best way forward.
concerns that you have expressed are indeed the concerns of many of us
on the African continent," he noted. "At the last summit of the African
Union, many leaders expressed their dissatisfaction at the way things
happened. But also we agreed on the way forward. The only area that we
may differ is on the way forward. You see differently, but for us in
Africa we see differently."
The U.S. Assistant to the President
for International Economic Affairs, Dan Price, told reporters that not
all African leaders are in a position to support sanctions at this
time. But he stressed there was broad agreement between G8 and African
leaders about the need for the international community to unite behind
a common approach to the political crisis in Zimbabwe.
House Spokeswoman Dana Perino said some African leaders are working
toward a power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe, and the United States is
waiting to see what such an agreement would look like. For example, she
said, would such a government include President Mugabe?
said the current government does not reflect the will of Zimbabweans
who voted for change in the first round of balloting in March. The
opposition party won a majority of parliamentary seats in that poll.
Opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai out-polled President Mugabe in
that vote, but did not top fifty percent, leading to last month's
President Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, has
said he is prepared to talk with political opponents but only if they
first recognize him as the legitimately-elected president.