UN Security Council briefed on Zimbabwe report

UNITED NATIONS - United Nations (UN) special envoy Anna Tibaijuka yesterday briefed the world body's Security Council behind closed doors on her scathing report on the housing demolitions in Zimbabwe.

The briefing took place after a procedural ballot in which nine countries voted for the briefing with six opposing the need for a briefing which was requested by Britain.

Russia, China, Algeria, Benin and Tanzania voted against while Brazil abstained.

China's UN representative Zhang Yishan opposed the briefing arguing the Security Council should only deal with matters "that threaten world peace and security."

Zimbabwe's UN envoy Boniface Chidyausiku said the situation in the country did not warrant the world body's attention.

"We did not feel that our situation warranted the attention it was receiving," he added.

Chidyausiku said Western governments were not interested in helping Zimbabwe but were taking advantage to settle scores over the country's land reforms.

"These are people who are not interested in assisting Zimbabwe. They have a political agenda and pounced on that report and interpreted (it) to suit their own agenda," Chiyausiku added.

Zimbabwe has already rejected the UN report alleging bias by the world body's envoy whom President Robert Mugabe said was under tremendous pressure to issue a negative report.

Zimbabwe is under renewed international pressure after it demolished thousands of houses and backyard cottages throwing about 700 000 people onto the streets according to the UN report.

Another 2.4 million had also been affected by the controversial campaign which has been criticised by Western governments and church groups as an attack on the rights of the poor.

But Mugabe has defended the demolition campaign saying it was necessary to restore the beauty of cities and towns.

Harare also argues that the campaign was necessary to smash the illegal foreign currency parallel market blamed for the country's economic ills. - ZimOnlines