Britain Leans On China Over Arms Ship

BRITISH authorities have leaned on China and Angola not to help Zimbabwe take delivery of an arms consignment from a stranded Chinese ship refused permisison to dock in South Africa last week.

This came to light yesterday afternoon during a House of Lords debate in London.

Answering questions on Zimbabwe, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonweath Office, Mark Malloch-Brown, said he met Angola’s ambassador to London yesteday morning who assured him the ship would not dock in Angola.

“I met the ambassador from Angola this morning (Thursday) and I believe that the ship will not be allowed to unload in Angola, either, so it will effectively be sent home,” Malloch-Brown said. “We will see huge action by civil society and the governments of the region, if necessary through the UN and elsewhere, to make sure that no more arms arrive and reach this illegitimate government to allow them to suppress their people.”

Malloch-Brown, a former senior UN official familiar with Zimbabwe, also revealed that last week he met Chinese authorities in Beijing and raised a wide range of Zimbabwean issues with them.

“Just last week I raised in Beijing the broader issues of Zimbabwe with the Chinese authorities. I am confident that no government — not the Chinese or any other — believe that this situation can be allowed to last,” he said.

The British minister also said the issue of presidential election results was raised in his engageemnt with the Chinese.

“A month has passed without a result being announced.

That is almost unique in the annals of elections.

I do not think that any serious person anywhere can say that the status quo is sustainable. We need a result.

Everybody needs to press for that in their own way,” he said.

“This crisis will continue until credible presidential election results are announced that reflect the will of the people.

It is important to engage the broader AU beyond the immediate neighbouring countries of Sadc and, within the AU, countries such as Nigeria that are traditionally leaders in the region.”

Meanwhile, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York said they were concerned about the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe calling for “a civil society movement that gives voice to those who demand an end to the mayhem that grows out of injustice, poverty, exclusion and violence”. — Staff Writer.