Zimbabwe says UN resolution it abstained from ‘poured more fuel to the fire’

HARARE – Zimbabwe said it abstained from voting on a resolution by a rare emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly condemning Russia over its invasion of Ukraine because it “poured more fuel to the fire” and did not “point in the direction of dialogue.”

The resolution was supported by 141 nations, with five voting against and 35 abstaining including Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwe is not convinced that the resolution adopted on Wednesday points in the direction of dialogue. On the contrary, it poured more fuel to the fire thus further complicating the situation,” foreign minister Fredrick Shava said on Thursday.

“As you know, Zimbabwe does not support the imposition of unilateral coercive measures or unilateral sanctions of any kind on any member state for that matter, as this is contrary to the United Nations Charter.”

The text of the resolution deplores Russia’s “aggression against Ukraine.” The last time the Security Council convened an emergency session of the General Assembly was in 1982.

Russia was joined by Belarus, which has served as a launch pad for Russian invasion forces, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria in voting against the resolution. Thirty-five members, including China, abstained.

While General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, they carry political weight, with Wednesday’s vote representing a symbolic victory for Ukraine and increasing Moscow’s international isolation. Even Russia’s traditional ally Serbia voted against it.

Zimbabwe said it commended Russia and Ukraine for initiating dialogue.

“We urge them to intensify their efforts towards finding a durable solution to the conflict taking into account the security interests of both parties,” Shava said.

In 2008, Russia and China vetoed a United States-drafted UN resolution that sought to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe after a violent presidential run-off election won by Robert Mugabe.

Russia is one of the few countries that shipped Covid-19 vaccines to Zimbabwe since the pandemic first hit the country in March 2020.

Moscow has also unwaveringly supported President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration which has been haunted by a legitimacy crisis following disputed elections in 2018.

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