HARARE  - Zimbabwe's government rejoiced Saturday at the failure of a UN bid to impose fresh sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle, but there was exasperation in London and Washington. Particular praise from the Harare regime was bestowed upon South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been criticised for his policy of "quiet diplomacy" by those who want to put Mugabe under greater pressure. "We would like to thank countries that supported us at the United Nations and we would like to tell them that we will not disappoint them as we will address our problems ourselves," Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said. "We would like to thank President Thabo Mbeki, who is a leader par excellence as he has not yielded to international pressure and to the machinations of the West led by Britain and United States," Ndlovu told AFP. China and Russia on Friday vetoed the US draft resolution that would have imposed an arms embargo on Zimbabwe as well as an assets freeze and travel ban on Mugabe and 13 of his closest allies. South Africa, Libya and Vietnam voted against the resolution, while Indonesia abstained. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the decision would be "incomprehensible" to the people of Zimbabwe and America's UN envoy warned that Russia's veto cast doubt on its reliability as a G8 ally. Russian later slammed this criticism as "unacceptable." Mugabe was re-elected in a run-off last month after the main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out, citing a campaign of intimidation and violence against his supporters that killed dozens and injured thousands. Tsvangirai had earlier won the first round but fell short of a majority, according to the official results. Mbeki is trying to mediate between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), but has come in for increasing stick, particularly from Britain and the United States, for not being more outspoken against Mugabe. "We are surprised by what appears as Mbeki appearing to protect Mugabe while Mugabe uses violent means to fragment the opposition," US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad said after the UN vote. "I think he (Mbeki) is out of touch with the trends inside his own country," he added. The South African government insisted, however, that dialogue between Zimbabwe's rival political parties would be enhanced by the rejection of the sanctions. "It is our considered view that imposing sanctions would indeed have impacted negatively on the current dialogue process among Zimbabwean political parties," a foreign ministry statement said. The role of the international community was to encourage dialogue "with a view to the creation of peace, stability, democracy and reconciliation," the statement said. A second day of talks between representatives of ZANU-PF and the MDC were held in South Africa on Friday as the parties laid the ground for substantive negotiations on the country's crisis. The talks were the first since Mugabe won his sixth consecutive term since independence in 1980 in a June 27 presidential poll widely denounced as a sham. The MDC has insisted substantive negotiations could only take place if violence is halted and over 1,500 "political prisoners" are released. They have also called for an expanded mediation team including an African Union permanent envoy and the swearing in of lawmakers as the opposition now controls parliament.Meanwhile,  Russia on Saturday slammed as "unacceptable" British and US criticism which questioned its reliability as a partner in the G8 after its UN Security Council veto on further sanctions against Zimbabwe. "Representatives of the United States and Britain have declared that our vote betrayed the G8 Tokyo summit accords on Zimbabwe and that this posed questions about Russia's reliability as a partner in the G8," government spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said in a statement. "We consider such statements unacceptable." He said the Group of Eight's declaration on Zimbabwe made no mention of such a move at the Security Council, adding: "It is the presentation in New York of an inadequate draft resolution which is contrary to the collective approach." On Friday, Russia and China vetoed targeted UN sanctions on Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe over his disputed re-election. It was the first such double veto since January 2007, but marked just the latest in a series of tussles between Washington and Moscow over world affairs. US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad said it was a "disturbing" U-turn for Moscow, noting that just days ago, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev backed a G8 statement at a summit in Japan promising new actions against Zimbabwe. He said it raised questions about Moscow's "reliability as a G8 partner." British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said opposition to the US draft resolution, which would have imposed an assets freeze and a travel ban on Mugabe and 13 of his political allies, as well as an arms embargo, would be "incomprehensible" to the people of Zimbabwe. Mugabe was re-elected in a run-off last month after the main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out, citing a campaign of intimidation and violence against his supporters that killed dozens and injured thousands. Tsvangirai had earlier won the first round but fell short of a majority, according to the official results. In a separate statement Saturday, the Russian foreign ministry condemned the violence but warned the proposed UN resolution would have set a "dangerous precedent" for interference in countries' internal affairs. UN sanctions "would have created a dangerous precedent, opening the way for Security Council interference in the internal affairs of states in connection with one or another political event... which is a gross violation of the UN charter," the ministry said. While condemning violations by both sides in Zimbabwe's election period, it said "the situation in Zimbabwe does not threaten either regional " let alone international " peace and security." "We are convinced that the solution to Zimbabwe's internal problems " and they certainly exist " should be sought through political dialogue between the Zimbabwean government and opposition," the statement said. Zimbabwe's government on Saturday thanked the countries that opposed sanctions and praised South African President Thabo Mbeki in particular. Mbeki is trying to mediate between Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change but has faced criticism, in particular from Britain and the United States, for not being more outspoken against Mugabe.