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Britain increased aid to Zimbabwe to prop MDC but did not believe Tsvangirai could deliver on reforms- Wikileaks

The British government increased aid to Zimbabwe by 10 million pounds to bolster the Movement for Democratic Change when Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai visited the country four months after the formation of the inclusive government but British Prime Minister Gordon Brown questioned Tsvangirai’s ability to deliver on reforms and gave “clear instructions” to his ministers that additional support would not be released until there was more progress on the ground. 

One of the cables released by Wikileaks says though Tsvangirai was optimistic about the MDC/ZANU-PF working relationship he was also realistic about what was achievable with President Robert Mugabe still in power.

Tsvangirai told British government ministers, non-governmental organisations, parliament and Zimbabwe watchers that the country was now open for business and the inclusive government was working.

Britain pushed Tsvangirai to make timely political and economic reforms, exploit his majority in parliament and continue his efforts to galvanize regional support, but Tsvangirai did not convince the British ministers that he could bring about meaningful change.

However, “in line with the UK government’s efforts to support the MDC and give the MDC wins to take credit for, Brown announced an GBP5 million increase in assistance, GBP4 million for food security and GBP 1 million for education textbooks.”

But, “following the visit, however, Brown gave clear instructions to his ministers that additional support will not be released until there is more progress on the ground, questions whether Tsvangirai can deliver on the GPA reforms, and believes it is still important to pursue levers of pressure on Mugabe to ensure reform.”

One Zimbabwe watcher said, though there was great respect for Tsvangirai in the UK and what he had gone through as a person, he had failed to make a compelling case for his strategy of engaging with Mugabe and did not address concerns about real political reform on the ground.

 

Full cable:

 

 

 

 

TSVANGIRAI’S VISIT – FURTHER SUPPORT ONLY WITH FURTHER PROGRESS

 

Ref ID: 09LONDON1516

Date: 6/30/2009 15:06

Origin: Embassy London

Classification: CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN

Destination:

Header: VZCZCXRO2606OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRNDE RUEHLO #1516/01 1811506ZNY CCCCC ZZHO 301506Z JUN 09FM AMEMBASSY LONDONTO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2739INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITYRHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITYRHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

Tags: PREL,EAID,PHUM,ZI,UK

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 001516 SIPDIS NOFORN E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/30/2019 TAGS: PREL, EAID, PHUM, ZI, UK SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: TSVANGIRAI’S VISIT – FURTHER SUPPORT ONLY WITH FURTHER PROGRESS Classified By: Political Counselor Richard Mills, reasons 1.4 (b/d).

1.(C/NF) Summary.

During Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s June 19-24 visit to London, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Foreign Office Minister for Africa Lord Malloch-Brown, and Development Secretary Douglas Alexander communicated the message that further support for Zimbabwe would only come through further progress by the Zimbabwean Government of National Unity (GNU) in delivering political and economic reform as outlined in the Global Political Agreement (GPA). Brown announced an GBP 5 million (USD 8 million) increase in assistance, GBP 4 million (USD 6.4 million) for food security and GBP one million (USD 1.6 million) for education textbooks. Setting the context in advance of the visit for the general public and parliamentary Zimbabwe watchers, Malloch-Brown wrote an op-ed piece explaining why “it’s too early to lift Zimbabwe sanctions.” FCO Zimbabwe Unit Deputy Head Rosie Tapper said June 30 Tsvangirai painted an “optimistic” picture of the GoZ’s MDC/ZANU-PF working relationship, but was “realistic” about what was achievable with President Mugabe still in power. Cabinet Office Senior Africa Policy Advisor XXXXXXXXXXXX(please protect) said Brown gave clear instructions to his Ministers that additional support will not be released until there is more progress on the ground, questions whether Tsvangirai can deliver on the GPA reforms, and believes it is still important to pursue levers of pressure on Mugabe to ensure reform. In a statement that seems to capture the general tone of the visit, one Zimbabwe Watcher outside the UK Government said there is great warmth and respect for what Tsvangirai has gone through as a person, but that he failed to make a compelling case for his strategy of engaging with Mugabe and did not address concerns about real political reform on the ground. End Summary.

The UK Message – Further Support With Further Progress ——————————————— ———

2.(C/NF) Meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Foreign Office Minister for Africa Lord Malloch-Brown, and Development Secretary Douglas Alexander during his June 19-24, Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai argued the case with the UK Government, Parliament, NGOs, and other Zimbabwe Watchers that Zimbabwe is open for business, the Government of National Unity (GNU) is working, and the trend lines in Zimbabwe are going in the right direction, Foreign Office Deputy Zimbabwe Unit Head Rosie Tapper told Poloff June 30. Taking the lead from Brown, UK officials responded by saying that further support would only come with further progress on political and economic reforms as outlined in the Global Political Agreement (GPA). Tapper characterized Tsvangirai as “optimistic” about MDC/ZANU-PF working relationship, but also as “realistic” about what was achievable with President Mugabe still in power. She said the UK pushed Tsvangirai to make timely political and economic reform, exploit his majority in Parliament, and continue efforts to galvanize regional support. Tapper explained that Tsvangirai’s answers about process and procedures being established for reform did not assuage UK Ministers’ concerns about meaningful progress on the ground.

3.(C/NF) In line with the UK Government’s efforts to support the MDC and give the MDC wins to take credit for, Brown announced an GBP 5 million (USD 8 million) increase in assistance, GBP 4 million (USD 6.4 million) for food security and GBP one million (USD 1.6 million) for education textbooks. Following the visit, however, Brown gave clear instructions to his Ministers that additional support will not be released until there is more progress on the ground, questions whether Tsvangirai can deliver on the GPA reforms, and believes it is still important to pursue levers of pressure on Mugabe to ensure reform, according to Cabinet Office Senior Africa Policy Advisor XXXXXXXXXXXX(please protect). Moving from process and procedural reform arguments to the situation on the ground, Tsvangirai told Brown foreign reporters would be allowed to return to Zimbabwe by the end of June, a promise he repeated during a radio interview, according to Tapper. Too Early To Lift Sanctions —————————

4.(SBU) In a June 19 op-ed piece entitled “It’s Too Early To Lift Zimbabwe Sanctions,” Malloch-Brown set the tone for the visit and explained the UK Government’s logic behind continued sanctions. He said, “Restrictive measures were directed against individuals associated with the old regime’s LONDON 00001516 002 OF 002 corruption and violence…. While (the UK Government) can show some flexibility, such as allowing some ZANU-PF ministers who are covered by the EU travel ban to accompany Mr. Tsvangirai to the UK, (the UK Government) will not lift the bulk of these measures until we are convinced that Zimbabwe’s transition to democracy has reach a point of no return.” But Did He Make a Compelling Case? ———————————-

5.(C/NF) Following Tsvangirai’ speech at a think tank event, one Chatham House Zimbabwe Watcher, reflecting the general reaction to the visit, commented that there is great warmth and respect in the UK for what Tsvangirai has gone through as a person, but that he failed to make a compelling case for his strategy of engaging with Mugabe and did not address concerns about real political reform on the ground. EU Dialogue ———–

6.(C/NF) Tapper confirmed that the EU started its political dialogue with Zimbabwe and said the UK would be investing a lot of political energy into making sure it progressed well. The UK plans to help develop benchmarks for re-engagement, largely based on the Global Political Agreement (GPA) reforms. Visit London’s Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX LeBaron

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