Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 20, 2011. The president called for a greater role for Africa in international affairs., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Stop abusing UN, NATO told
Friday, 23 September 2011 02:00
From Morris Mkwate in New York
PRESIDENT Mugabe says the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is abusing the United Nations Charter to loot Libya's vast oil reserves and impose leadership on its people.
Addressing the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly here yesterday, the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said Western powers deliberately misinterpreted their mandate to protect civilians to settle bilateral scores with Libya.
He said the African Union preferred a peaceful resolution of the conflict compared to "murderous Nato bombings".
The AU should not be undermined, but must be allowed to complement UN peace and security efforts on the continent, he added.
"The newly minted principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) should not be twisted to provide cover for its pre-meditated abuse in violating the sacred international principle of non-interference in the domestic
affairs of states because to do so amounts to an act of aggression and destabilisation of a sovereign state," he said.
"Moreover, to selectively and arbitrarily apply that principle merely serves to undermine its general acceptability. Indeed, more than other states, all the five permanent members of the Security Council bear a huge responsibility in this regard for ensuring that their historical privilege is used more to protect the UN Charter than to breach it as is happening currently in Libya through the blatant illegal, brutal and callous Nato murderous bombings.
"After over twenty thousands Nato bombing sorties that targeted Libyan towns, including Tripoli, there is now unbelievable and most disgraceful scramble by some Nato countries for Libyan oil, indicating, thereby, that the real motive for their aggression against Libya was to control and own its abundant fuel resources. What a shame!
"Yesterday, it was Iraq and Bush and Blair were the liars and aggressors as they made unfounded allegations of possessions of weapons of mass destruction. This time it is the Nato countries the liars and aggressors as they make similarly unfounded allegations of destruction of civilian lives by (Colonel Muammar) Gaddafi."
President Mugabe said contrary to Nato's position, the AU would have preferred a peaceful resolution of the Libyan conflict.
"It (the peace process) was deliberately and blatantly excluded from shedding positive influence over developments. There was quick resort to invoking Chapter VII of the Charter with gross deliberate misinterpretation of the scope of the mandate originally given Nato to oversee and protect civilians.
"Bilateral hatreds and quarrels or ulterior motives must not be allowed to creep into considerations of matters pertaining to international peace and security, or to the principle of Responsibility to Protect.
"We are yet to be convinced that the involvement of the mighty powers in Libya's affairs has not hindered the advent of the process of peace, democracy and prosperity in that sister African country.
"Our African Union would never have presumed to impose a leadership on the fraternal people of Libya as Nato countries have illegally sought to do. At the very least, the African Union would have wished to join those principled members of this august body who preferred an immediate ceasefire and peaceful dialogue in Libya.
"The African Union was and remains fully seized with this crisis and will spare no energies in fully complementing the UN so that peace returns to Libya and its tormented people. We wish that process God's speed."
Cde Mugabe said the UN Charter was "a set of commandments" that must be upheld to maintain world peace.
He said: "The theme, ‘The role of mediation in the settlement of disputes', is most apt. But, how do we, the UN members, measure in relation to it in our activities here at the United Nations and out there in the real world.
"It is my principled view that we must be duty and honour bound to operationalise the principles upon which the Charter of the United Nations is based. We must not be guilty of manipulating that Charter to serve our particular or sectional designs and ambitions.
"The Charter is our set of commandments that must be strictly obeyed by each and every member if international and regional peace is to be maintained.
"We cannot honestly say this is the position today in regard to Nato states versus Libya. Whatever political disturbances might have first occurred in Bengazi, the process of mediation and peaceful negotiation was never given full play."
The President added that some Western countries continue to vilify Zimbabwe for correcting racial and colonial prejudices through the acquisition of natural resources. He said Zimbabweans condemn the Western-imposed sanctions against the country as expressed by the two-million signature anti-sanctions petition.
He thanked Sadc and the AU for demanding the scrapping of the embargo. He said Zimbabwe supported a "revitalised" UN General Assembly and reform of the Security Council.
"When we in Zimbabwe sought to redress the ills of colonialism and racism, by fully acquiring our natural resources, mainly our land and minerals, we were and still are subjected to unparalleled villification and pernicious economic sanctions, the false reasons alleged being violations of the rule of law, human rights, and democracy.
"My people have condemned these illegal sanctions and recently, over two million signatures of protesters have demonstrated their antipathy to them. We thank Sadc and the African Union for supporting us and demanding the immediate removal of the illegal sanctions.
"We in Africa are also duly concerned about the activities of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which seems to exist only for alleged offenders of the developing world, the majority of them Africans. The leaders of the powerful Western States guilty of international crime, like Bush and Blair, are routinely given the blind eye. Such selective justice has eroded the credibility of the ICC on the African continent.
"My country continues to work with others for a revitalised General Assembly. However, our ambitions extend to the need to reform the Security Council as well. Africa's call for at least two permanent seats for its members on the Security Council has been constant for decades. Africa cannot remain as the only region without permanent membership in the Security Council."
The President upheld the centrality of the African Union in resolving conflict on the continent. He said Zimbabwe would remain committed to the UN, adding that the body should also embrace legitimately sovereign states.
"My country fully supports the right of the gallant people of Palestine to statehood and membership of this UN Organisation.
The UN must become credible by welcoming into its bosom all those whose right to attain sovereign independence and freedom from occupation and colonialism is legitimate.
Similarly, the tormented people of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic must not be forgotten. We call for immediate progress in the engagements for a solution to their long-running saga.
". . .Let me reiterate my country's full belief in the aspirations enshrined in the Charter of the UN.
We must all resist any abuse to which it may be exposed through the unwelcome behaviour of a few. My country celebrates the UN-Women entity as it addresses the position of more than half of humankind in all our countries.
"The African Union must not be undermined. Rather, it should be allowed to complement the UN's efforts for peace and security on the continent. Zimbabwe is a peaceful member of the AU, Sadc, Comesa, NAM and many other international economic and trade organisations and thus desires to continue to play its part in creating a peaceful environment in the world. The United Nations can count on the unqualified support of Zimbabwe as required, even if only in our modest way."