Hazel Southam - Journalist

G8 summit day 3

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that Robert Mugabe’s regime was ‘illegitimate’ and had ‘blood on its hands’.

He was speaking at the close of the three-day G8 Summit in Hokkaido, Japan, today.

There should be ‘no safe haven, no place to hide for the criminal cabal that make up the Mugabe regime,’ he said.

Earlier, the G8 leaders had criticised the Mugabe regime, calling for fresh sanctions against key members of his government.

They also recommended the appointment of a UN special envoy to the country. This is seen as a re-buff for South African President Thabo Mbeke. He has been leading Africa’s negotiations with Zimbabwe.

It is thought that he told the G8 leaders on Monday that imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe could cause civil war.

The G8 leaders, meeting on the mountainous island of Hokkaido in Japan, expressed ‘grave concern about the situation in Zimbabwe’. They ‘deplored’ the latest round of elections and refused to recognise the Mugabe regime’s legitimacy.

They called for a mediation process to install a new government in Zimbabwe.
A draft UN resolution citing travel bans and asset-freezing on key members of Mugabe’s administration could go before the Security Council later this week.

Proposed by Britain and the US, it would additionally impose an arms embargo on Zimbabwe. This would include weapons, equipment and military vehicles.

Speaking at the G8 Summit, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, ‘The G8 Summit has been overshadowed by the events in Zimbabwe.

‘I hope that the whole international community will find it possible to condemn the illegitimate regime in Zimbabwe.’

The G8’s statement on the country reflected what Mr Brown called, ‘the unanimity of the whole international community, reflecting the outrage people feel about the violence, the intimidation and the illegitimate holding of power by the Mugabe government.’

Non-governmental organisations were swift in adding their own condemnation of the Mugabe regime.

‘By flagrantly and consistently violating the values upon which present day Africa is premised, Mr Mugabe has done great disservice to the people of Zimbabwe and the continent,’ said Kumi Naidoo, Chair of Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP).

Tearfund is one of the few remaining aid agencies still working in the country, via churches. It reports that the current violence is hampering the delivery of aid to 35,000 Aids orphans.

‘The humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe is overwhelming,’ said Tearfund’s Karyn Beattie, Disaster Management Officer for Zimbabwe.

‘Five million people are in serious need of food and this figure will increase even further if something is not done to resolve the crisis and restore peace.’

Much of the G8 Summit concentrated on the twin concerns of Africa and climate change. There were no announcements on when promised aid would be given to developing nations. At the Gleneagles Summit in 2005, the G8 leaders promised to increase funding to developing nations by $50 billion by 2010 – just two years’ away – half of this would go to Africa.

Campaigners also condemned the G8’s limited moves on climate change. This week the leaders of the world’s eight richest countries – Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Canada, Japan and the US – agreed only to ‘consider and adopt the goal of achieving at least 50 per cent reductions in global emissions by 2050’.

Today, the leaders of the major developing nations slammed the G8 for not going far enough.

‘It is essential that developed countries take the lead in achieving ambitious and absolute greenhouse gas emissions reductions,’ they said in a statement this morning.

The heads of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa – known as the G5 – called on the summit’s leaders to go way beyond the global 50% by 2050 target and slash their own emissions by ‘between 80 and 95 per cent’.

The G5 nations said they were ‘committed’ to cutting emissions, but asked rich countries to give increased funding to help them cope with global warming.

The biggest lifestyle changes to cut emissions needed to be made in the West, not in the developing world, the G5 said.

‘We urge the international community, particularly developed countries to promote sustainable consumption patterns and lifestyles responsive to mitigation requirements.’

Discussions on climate change will continue at the UN in Poland in December.

Originally published in Ekklesia


About Hazel

Hazel Southam is an award-winning journalist who reports on religious affairs, international development and the environment. She has covered four G8 Summits.

She wrote for The Sunday and Daily Telegraph for 10 years. Her work has also appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, The Daily Mail and The Evening Standard.

Reporting assignments have taken her to places including Bosnia, Zimbabwe, Mongolia, Albania, Nagorno-Karabakh, Senegal and the Arctic Circle.

In the UK, she has also delivered media training to the MOD and leading businesses.

Contact Hazel