VICE-President Phelekezela Mphoko has revealed that had it not been for his negotiation skills, Zimbabwe would have been labelled a regional and international threat and slapped with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions.
Mphoko, in his Curriculum Vitae (CV), said he convinced Russia to veto any UN action against Zimbabwe following the 2007 violent presidential run-off election.
President Robert Mugabe won the second round of balloting after MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out citing unprecedented violence, abductions and intimidation of his supporters.
Violent campaigns leading to the run-off poll left more than 100 MDC-T supporters dead, hundreds injured and others displaced, leading world powers to call for UNSC action.
Russia and China, however, vetoed proposals to apply punitive international measures against Mugabe and the government at a UNSC meeting in 2008.
The two countries were joined by colleagues from South Africa, Libya and Vietnam in opposing UN-targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe.
“I successfully negotiated with the government of the Russian Federation to use its vito (sic) power after 16 years to block British and American efforts at the United Nations to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe,” Mphoko indicated in his CV.
He was Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Russia at the time.
In 2007, Russia and China also vetoed a draft resolution in the 15-member council that would have urged Burma’s military junta to ease repression and release political prisoners.
Supporters of the UN sanctions justified the measures as necessary to pressure Mugabe into stopping the violence against political foes and agreeing to a genuine power- sharing deal with Tsvangirai.
Opponents of the resolution argued that as an internal political dispute, the situation in Zimbabwe did not meet the criterion – a threat to regional or international peace and security – for Security Council action.
They added that passage of the text would undermine ongoing South African-mediated talks between Zanu PF and the MDC-T.
Describing Russia’s veto, Britain’s UN ambassador at the time, John Sawers, was quoted saying the UNSC “missed the opportunity to impose a legal obligation on Mugabe’s government to end the violence and intimidation, which have scarred Zimbabwe”.