UNITED NATIONS—The United States said Thursday it expects the U.N. Security Council to vote next week on sanctions against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and top aides for last week's widely criticized election.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters after a closed-door council session that he formally submitted the U.S.-drafted resolution, which also calls for an arms embargo against Zimbabwe, to the full 15-nation council.
"We expect a vote on the resolution sometime next week," Khalilzad said.
Mugabe won re-election in a June 27 run-off ballot after Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, pulled out of the voting because of attacks on his supporters. Tsvangirai had won a first-round vote March 29.
It was not clear if the other council members shared Khalilzad's optimism about the timing for a vote.
"Many members of the council need time to consult their capital," Vietnamese Ambassador Le Luong Minh, president of the council for the month of July, told reporters.
Before last week's election, the Security Council unanimously condemned Mugabe's plans to go ahead with the poll, saying the campaign of violence and restrictions on the opposition made a free and fair election impossible.
Khalilzad said the council had no choice but to respond to Zimbabwe's defiance. But they do not want to do anything that would harm the country's already-suffering people, he added.
"We have proposed a resolution that will impose targeted sanctions on those that are responsible for the crisis with the expectation and hope that they will be incentivized to cooperate," he said.
In addition to Mugabe, the draft text, obtained in full by Reuters, says Zimbabwean central bank governor Gideon Gono, army chief Gen. Constantine Chiwenga and Happyton Bonyongwe, Zimbabwe's head of intelligence, would also face travel bans and asset freezes.
Council diplomats have said South Africa, Russia and China oppose the idea of sanctions though they said it was not clear if Moscow and Beijing were prepared to use their veto powers given the wide condemnation of Mugabe's re-election.