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Archive for Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Zimbabwe’s neighbors block arms shipment

April 23, 2008

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— Zimbabwe's regime got a taste of the international isolation critics say it deserves, with its neighbors blocking a shipment of Chinese arms to prevent them from being used against Robert Mugabe's opponents. China said Tuesday the weapons might return home.

Union, church and human rights leaders across southern Africa rallied against allowing the Chinese freighter An Yue Jiang to dock at ports in any of landlocked Zimbabwe's neighbors, and they were bolstered by behind-the-scenes pressure from the United States.

In the end, governments usually unwilling to criticize Mugabe barred the ship at a time when Zimbabwe's government is being accused of cracking down on dissenters following the March 29 election, the results of which are still in dispute.

In Washington, the State Department said it had urged countries in southern Africa - notably South Africa, Mozambique, Angola and Namibia - not to allow the ship to dock or unload.

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