16/04/2008 15:55 - (SA)
Cape Town - The respected Washington Post newspaper has blasted President Thabo Mbeki for his policy towards Zimbabwe and accused the South African president of siding with Robert Mugabe against the people of Zimbabwe.
In a scathing editorial published on Tuesday the paper calls President Mbeki's foreign policy "perverse and immoral".
It says South Africa has consistently allied itself with the world's rogue states and against the Western democracies since serving a term on the UN Security Council last year.
South Africa "has defended Iran's nuclear programme and resisted sanctions against it; shielded Sudan and Burma from the sort of pressure the United Nations once directed at the apartheid regime; and enthusiastically supported one-sided condemnations of Israel by the UN Human Rights Council".
President Mbeki said on Saturday there was "no crisis" in Zimbabwe after holding his first face-to-face talks with Robert Mugabe since the Zimbabwe's disputed March 29 elections.
Mbeki, who stopped in Harare on his way to join southern African leaders in Zambia for an emergency meeting on Zimbabwe, said people should wait for the election commission to announce the long-awaited presidential result.
The Post said in its editorial that the only good news in "this sordid story" is that Mbeki's policy is increasingly unpopular in South Africa.
"The new president of Mr Mbeki's own African National Congress, Jacob Zuma, has distanced himself from the Zimbabwe posture, as have the party's secretary general and treasurer.
"Zuma defeated Mr Mbeki in a party election in December and is the front-runner to succeed him when he leaves office in a year. So democracy may yet rectify a foreign policy that is shaming South Africa - and preventing an end to Zimbabwe's misery".
Read the Washington Post editorial here.