Russia and China vetoed U.S.-proposed sanctions on Zimbabwe’s leaders Friday, the global community’s latest attempt to take concrete action against a regime widely criticized for a violent and one-sided presidential election.
Western powers mustered nine votes, the minimum needed to gain approval in the 15-nation council. But the resolution pushed by the Bush administration failed because of the action by two of the five veto-wielding permanent members.
The action put an end for now to efforts to apply more international pressure on President Robert Mugabe’s regime and force it to share power with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Lebanese factions form new Cabinet
Two months after fighting in the capital left scores dead, squabbling Lebanese factions on Friday formed a new Cabinet in which the Shiite militant group Hezbollah and its allies control key ministries and have the power to veto major decisions.
The Cabinet will serve only until the middle of next year, when elections may determine whether Hezbollah and its allies, which are supported by Iran and Syria, or the Western-backed coalition led by Saad Hariri takes control of the country in the coming years.
Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said that the new 30-member government will try to restore confidence in Lebanon’s political system and prepare for the elections.
Lebanon’s politicians will have to deal with serious economic problems and settle differences over major issues such as Hezbollah’s armament.
“This is only a truce,” said Fadia Kiwan, a political scientist at Beirut’s Saint Joseph University. “The next battle will be the drafting of a government policy and more precisely agreeing over the status of Hezbollah.”