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Bush Calls for Sanctions Against Zimbabwe


Joining me now is the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer. Secretary Frazer, what kinds of sanctions is President Bush considering?

M: We're calling for an arms embargo and the government that is basically beating its population into submission, forcing them to go out to vote for a candidate that they don't support.

SEABROOK: Now, there have been sanctions, U.S. sanctions, against Zimbabwe for five years now. They don't really seem to have worked much.

M: But when sanctions are carried throughout the European Union and they're multilateral through the United Nations we think that they will be far more effective.

SEABROOK: There's news today that South Africa has returned refugees from Zimbabwe that had crossed the border into South Africa. What makes you think that country would be willing to get into a political scuffle with Zimbabwe?

M: They called for sanctions against their government; they called for the isolation of their government. And so for them to shield Mugabe, what he's doing, acts as terrible as some that were carried out under the apartheid regime is inexplicable.

SEABROOK: Secretary Frazer, I understand you're heading off today to the African Union's annual summit - it's in Egypt. And on your agenda is these sanctions. But I understand Robert Mugabe is expected to attend the meeting as well.

M: You know, many of the ministers held to account the foreign minister of Zimbabwe, and I hope the same would take place at the heads of state meeting if Robert Mugabe would show up at Sharm el Sheikh.

SEABROOK: How does it work when you're at a summit like this with that on your agenda? Do you meet with anyone or does anyone under you at any level meet with Robert Mugabe's government?

M: Clearly, everyone wants an outcome that will lead to peace and the voice of the Zimbabwean people being respected. And so some type of negotiation at this point is inevitable.

SEABROOK: Will you be placing special pressure on South Africa and Thabo Mbeki's government?

M: And so getting the A.U. and the U.N. in early will be important to lasting peace in Zimbabwe.

SEABROOK: Jendayi Frazer is the assistant secretary of state for African affairs. Thanks for speaking with us.

M: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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