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Britain Requests Security Council Zimbabwe Briefing

United Nations sources said Britain on Tuesday raised the issue of Zimbabwe in a closed session of the Security Council. The U.N. official said Britain wanted the special envoy to Zimbabwe who drafted a report that condemned the Zimbabwe government’s slum clearance program to detail her findings to the Council.

The government of Zimbabwe, meanwhile, was stepping up diplomatic efforts to fend off criticism. Officials in Harare escorted about 18 diplomats from member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement to a site in Whitecliff in Harare where they were shown 480 homes under construction.

Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge said the government wanted the diplomats to see “improvements to the people’s welfare” under the government reconstruction program called Operation Garikai, or “Living Better.”

Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe was in China seeking financial assistance and firming up diplomatic support with Beijing, which if it were so inclined could shield him from Security Council sanctions using its permanent member veto. Particularly since the West started imposing economic sanctions, Harare has gravitated towards China, which backed Mr. Mugabe in the liberation war.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with foreign policy expert Drew Thompson, assistant director of the Freeman Chair in Chinese Studies at Washington’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

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