At a press stakeout yesterday, Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters that he has “nine votes” lined up behind a United States sponsored Security Council resolution imposing an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and sanctioning a number of Zanu-PF leaders.

What’s the significance of “nine votes?” For one, it means that Russia may be softening its opposition to Security Council sanctions. Yesterday’s stern G-8 statement condemning Zimbabwe’s political leadership (signed off by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev) may have presaged a Russian shift at the Council in support of French, American, and British efforts to sanction Zimbabwe. A vote could come at the end of the week, but the threat of a Chinese veto could still disrupt the Council’s schedule. The Financial Times has more.

Get occasional updates from UN Dispatch

* indicates required

Want Our Social Media List?