Diplomatic showdown looming at UN over Zimbabwe

NEW YORK – A diplomatic showdown on the deepening political crisis and outbreak of the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe is looming in the UN Security Council as western countries seek to mount more pressure on President Robert Mugabe to step down.

A special sitting of the Security Council is scheduled for Monday on the dire situation in Zimbabwe. Powerful western diplomats including United States Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice are expected to attend.

Frustration with President Mugabe among the countries of the West is growing.

With the power sharing talks in Zimbabwe still in a bitter deadlock and the outbreak of the cholera epidemic having claimed almost 800 lives, there is a huge lobbying underway in the UN for Zimbabwe to be referred to the all powerful Security Council.

It has long been trying to punish Mugabe with crippling sanctions but such attempts have been vetoed by China and Russia assisted by South Africa. The council will be debating the report of the Elders on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe on Monday.

There is a view that the meeting on Monday could be used as a basis to create a diplomatic space for the Security Council to impose a more drastic measure against President Mugabe.

The US, France and Britain – are already advocating for Mugabe to step down. South Africa insists that no solution in Zimbabwe would be found without President Mugabe.