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Millions Face Starvation Risk in Zimbabwe, says Britain - 2003-01-29

Britain says the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is becoming critical, as millions of people face the risk of starvation.

Prime Minister Tony Blair discussed the issue in parliament, saying the specter of mass starvation is rising in Zimbabwe because of the policies of President Robert Mugabe, and despite Zimbabwe's richness in natural resources.

Mr. Blair indicated his government will continue to support what are called "smart sanctions," aimed at keeping Mr. Mugabe and his closest associates from traveling to Europe.

"We are doing whatever we can in every international forum in order to try to ostracize the Mugabe regime because it cannot be emphasized too often, that regime is a threat most of all to the Zimbabwean people, and not simply to white Zimbabwean people but to black Zimbabweans as well," Mr. Blair said.

France has sparked a debate in the European Union by insisting Mr. Mugabe attend a summit in Paris next month. Britain calls the French position disappointing.