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What CNN would not tell you

US Diplomat Rebuked

CHINA thwarted attempts by the United States to stray from the agenda of a United Nations meeting on the DRC conflict and introduce the issue of Zimbabwe's presidential election on Monday night.

Sources who attended the meeting of representatives of the 15-member UN Security Council and President Mugabe in Harare said US ambassador to the UN, Mr Richard Williamson, tried to introduce the recent presidential election and allegations of violence on farms.

But Chinese ambassador Mr Xu Chen quickly dissociated himself from the move and reaffirmed his country's support for Zimbabwe.

The US envoy was reminded that the meeting was to discuss the DRC conflict and not Zimbabwe and that if he wanted to raise bilateral issues between Zimbabwe and the US, there were proper channels to do so.

The sources said Mr Xu Chen said China believed that Zimbabwe was capable of managing its own internal affairs.

China, the US, Britain, France and Russia are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

"The Americans tried to introduce a bilateral issue during the discussion but was told off by President Mugabe and reminded to mind their own internal affairs.

"He was told that it could have been better off if they had introduced the issue at the right forum. The Chinese quickly dissociated themselves from the US move and reaffirmed their position on Zimbabwe," said the sources who attended the talks.

Diplomatic sources said the US and British ambassadors to the UN, who were part of the Security Council mission on the DRC issue, were in a quandary and had initially decided not to come to Zimbabwe to consult President Mugabe over the conflict in the vast Central African country.

Both the US and British governments, which openly sided with the MDC before and during the presidential election, have said they did not recognise President Mugabe's re-election.

But sources said the fact that they came to meet him on Monday showed that they recognised Cde Mugabe as the legitimate President of Zimbabwe.

To save face during the meeting, the American envoy is said to have then wanted to raise the Bush administration's so-called concerns which it wanted the Zimbabwe Government to address in order to improve bilateral relations between the two countries.

These included the legitimacy of the March 9-11 presidential election, allegations of media harassment and the alleged killing of commercial farmers.

But Cde Mugabe dismissed all these issues as baseless.

President Mugabe said he did not know why the US was interfering in Zimbabwe's internal affairs and did not want to respect the verdict by the people of Zimbabwe.

"To this day we still do not know who actually won the presidential election between (US President George) Bush and (former US vice-president Mr Al) Gore, but once the US Supreme Court decided on the winner, we accepted that verdict," he said.

Cde Mugabe said the problem with the white commercial farmers was that they did not want to accept the land reform programme and this had been proved by their behaviour before, during and after the March 9-11 poll.

However, despite their transgressions, President Mugabe said the white farmers still had a role to play in Zimbabwe but on the basis of equality with the blacks.

The country was in the middle of a fair land redistribution programme to correct historical imbalances and Cde Mugabe told the Security Council mission that there was peace in Zimbabwe inspite of what the US might think, the sources said.

"We don't think we have lessons to learn from them (the US) about democracy. We took up arms for democracy and forced our erstwhile enemies to accept that there should be no racism and there should be equality," he said.

It took 14 years to dismantle the racist Rhodesia regime of Ian Smith, but after that Mr Smith was allowed to live, still keeps his farm and is still a free man despite the atrocities he committed, the President said.

"Our own Nazis are still with us today. Elsewhere, they would have been hunted down . . . we have chosen to let bygones be bygones," Cde Mugabe said.

"We have not offended the US. We do not quarrel with the US over their ill-treatment of blacks. We leave it to them to resolve their own internal problems. Why should they involve themselves in Zimbabwe's affairs?"

The sources said the President said many blacks had judged the election to have been free and fair, except the US, Britain and Europe representing the dissenting white voices.

"We view the voice of the US and Europe as the voice of the whites against blacks and naturally we will listen to our own voices," he told the mission.

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US Ambassador criticizes Zimbabwe election
What CNN would not tell you
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