Gordon Brown today called for a total arms embargo on Zimbabwe as he denounced Robert Mugabe''s attempts to steal last month''s presidential election.
Brown''s proposal followed successful western pressure on southern African states and China to block a Chinese-owned ship carrying weapons for the Mugabe government from docking in the region.
"Trying to rig an election result is unacceptable," Brown told parliament. "We will propose an embargo for all arms to Zimbabwe."
Discussions are already under way between Britain, the US and southern African states on the success of the impromptu measures that stopped the Chinese ship, the An Yue Jiang, from unloading its cargo.
Amnesty International, the human rights group, called for all shipments of small arms, light weapons and ammunition ordered from China by Zimbabwe to be halted as there was a real risk that it may lead to increased human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
Oliver Sprague, Amnesty UK''s arms program director said: "Until the present wave of state sponsored violence comes to an end and the rule of law is established, no weapons should be supplied to Zimbabweâ?brvbar;In the past, Zimbabwe riot police have used excessive force against human rights defenders to suppress the right to peaceful protest."
As Britain called for a total arms ban on Zimbabwe, the leader of South Africa''s ruling party â?quot; the African National Congress - condemned the violence and called for the quick release of election results.
Jacob Zuma also backed a proposal floated by Obediah Mukura Mazombwe, a pro-Zanu-PF academic, in the state-owned Herald newspaper, calling for a unity government that would include the opposition but be led by Mugabe.
"From the point of view of what the Zimbabwean people have said, it (a unity government) should be very realistic," Zuma told journalists before meeting Brown. "The margin between the two (parties) is very small which indicates that both still have the confidence of the people. And therefore for the sake of the people and the country of Zimbabwe, given the crisis - which we would not want to go beyond where it is - a unity government would be realistic."
Zuma, however, rejected criticism â?quot; particularly directed at the South African president, Thabo Mbeki â?quot; that South Africa had not done enough to try to resolve the crisis.
"South Africa is doing more than anybody else up to now," Zuma said outside No 10 Downing Street after talks with the prime minister. "We have been engaged with Zimbabweans on all sides."
Until today''s trip to Britain, Zuma had often taken a tougher line on Mugabe than Mbeki, the man he is likely to succeed as president.