It may have seemed a bit unfathomable at first. Several months ago, the main issue of the G8 summit to be hosted in Hokkaido, Japan, would be combating climate change. Then, the main issue would be shifting to combating rising oil prices. But, a major issue would be the crisis in Zimbabwe
in which incumbent Robert Mugabe stole the election and rigged the polls. In a nutshell, Mugabe is still the president of Zimbabwe.
So far, the G8 leaders and the invited African Union (AU) leaders are at odds. One of the AU leaders invited is South African President Thabo Mbeki, who serves as the key mediator. Mbeki has been criticized for his beyond soft approach and response to the violence committed by Mugabe’s Zanu-PF militiamen. Recently, travel sanctions have been approved for the children of Mugabe’s supporters.
In short, virtually no country has accepted the legitimacy of Mugabe’s government. In response, Mugabe said before he will talk, the world must recognize his government. They still want Mugabe to work with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, which is led by former opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai. However, it seems highly unlikely that it would happen.
The AU has already suggested a possible power-sharing agreement. That too is highly unlikely. Mugabe said that he would not allow Tsvangirai to take power. There have been talks about a plan by Mugabe to consolidate Zanu-PF power in the country’s parliament.
At first, Russia opposed tougher sanctions. But, it eventually relented and agreed.
Next, there would be the UN Security Council meeting to adopt a draft to hurt trade with Zimbabwe.
Perhaps they might talk about allowing the International Criminal Court (ICC) to have jurisdiction in Zimbabwe as well. There are talks about possibly trying Mugabe in the ICC at The Hague. However, the ICC has no jurisdiction. It would have to go through the UN Security Council first. But, the UN Security Council members are split on that matter.
In regards to tougher trade sanctions, it would leave China the only one opposed. However, if China continues to oppose it, it could equal another list of subjects that can equal a PR nightmare as it hosts the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Overall, the G8 members agree for tougher sanctions. Keep in mind that China is not part of the G8 nations. However, China is one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council.