Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addressed the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York Thursday attacking NATO countries for their “blatant, illegal, brutal, callous and murderous bombings” in Libya, helping the National Transitional Council topple Colonel Muammor Gadhaffi.
In a speech ranging from what he said were “illegal” sanctions imposed on Harare by Western nations to Palestine’s desire for statehood, Mr. Mugabe said it was sad that the international Criminal Court and the U.N. Security Council were being used by powerful countries to target leaders from the developing world, in particular African leaders.
Mr. Mugabe expressed doubts that NATO’s intervention in Libya would enhance democracy in the North African country.
“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” he said, adding the African Union “would never have presumed to impose a leadership on the fraternal people of Libya as NATO countries have illegally sought to do.”
Mr. Mugabe accused NATO member countries of tripping over each other over Libya’s rich oil reserves.
“After over twenty thousand 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!”
The Zimbabwean leader also attacked his former foes, President George Bush and and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, accusing the two of being liars and aggressors in Iraq, a trait new leaders in the West have inherited.
Like other African leaders he said fully supported the right of the people of Palestine to attain statehood and membership of the U.N.
Speaking on the so-called targeted measures imposed by Western nations following the 2002 presidential election, Mr. Mugabe said this was in retaliation to his country’s land reform program.
“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 vilification and pernicious economic sanctions, the false reasons alleged being violations of the rule of law, human rights, and democracy,” he said.
“My people have condemned these illegal sanctions and recently over two million signatures of protesters have demonstrated their antipathy to them.”
On the ICC, Mr Mugabe said Africa was 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.”
Mr. Mugabe also called for the reform of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, insisting there was an urgent need for Africa to have at least two permanent seats. Africa is the only continent not represented in the Security Council.