Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told United States permanent representative to the United Nations Susan Rice that the international community needed to show support for the transitional government in Zimbabwe by infusing assistance funds to projects supported by reformers in the Movement for Democratic Change-controlled ministries.
Miliband said he had met Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Tendai Biti who had called for more international support for the power sharing arrangement with President Robert Mugabe.
He said more support was needed because African leaders had the impression that the international community was holding back in its public support for the power sharing arrangement.
Rice agreed that support for health, education and infrastructure projects could be helpful to the MDC.
Viewing cable 09USUNNEWYORK492, UK: MILIBAND DISCUSSES MIDDLE EAST, IRAN, AFRICA
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TO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 1389
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INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000492
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/11/2019
SUBJECT: UK: MILIBAND DISCUSSES MIDDLE EAST, IRAN, AFRICA
AND SRI LANKA WITH AMBASSADOR RICE
Classified By: Ambassador Susan Rice for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
¶1. (C) SUMMARY. U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband and
Ambassador Rice discussed the Middle East, Iran, Somalia,
Sudan, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka on the margins of a May 11
Security Council Ministerial on the Middle East. Miliband
was pleased with U.S. support for the Middle East peace
process and sought U.S. support to press Russia into getting
more engaged on Iran. Miliband sought a four-way meeting
between himself, Ambassador Rice, Secretary Clinton and U.K.
Permrep John Sawers to discuss shared objectives in Africa.
Ambassador Rice assessed the U.S. and U.K. could cooperate on
African development, including in building the capacity of
African states, agricultural assistance, and developing
health care infrastructure. Rice encouraged a continued firm
line on the humanitarian situation in Darfur. Miliband
suggested the international community show stronger support
for the power sharing arrangement in Zimbabwe as a way to
strengthen the MDC, and suggested that the IMF might need to
consider a bridge loan to the Sri Lanka government. END
¶2. (C) U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband told Ambassador
Rice in a May 11 meeting, that the Middle East peace process
was going slower than he had hoped, but that he was
encouraged by strong public signals sent by President Obama
and King Abdullah of Jordan on the need to reach a solution.
Miliband had received positive reports of Abdullah’s meetings
with other Arab leaders about his initiative to offer a
commitment of deliverables, or “deposits”, in exchange for
recognition of a Palestinian state, and the return of
refugees to Israel. Miliband thought Europeans would “rally”
on those grounds as well. Ambassador Rice said that the U.S.
would continue to push for a solution. She added that the
international community would need to convince Israeli Prime
Minister Netanyahu that a peace agreement would be a double
win for him, as it would also reduce Iran’s influence in the
¶3. (C) Miliband expressed concern about the lack of urgency
from Russia and China to exert pressure on Iran to dismantle
its nuclear enrichment program. He was also concerned that
Turkey had not sent stronger messages to Tehran, but was
instead maintaining a close relationship, “as close as
Turkey’s relationship with Egypt.” Miliband thought that
there were two possible messages Moscow could send to Tehran.
The first would be that Iran has an opportunity to come out
of its isolation, and that Tehran should not pass it up. The
second would be a threat of stronger sanctions should Iran
fail to comply with UNSC resolutions. Miliband thought the
U.S. would need to do some heavy lifting with Russia in order
to get them to be more engaged in the 3 3 (P5 1) process.
According to Miliband the message to Russia needed to be, “we
don’t just need you in the 3 3 process, we need you actively
contributing to it”. Miliband wondered whether the July
Summit between Presidents Obama and Medvedev could be an
opportunity to remind Russia that it was not doing all that
it could. Ambassador Sawers added that, if START discussions
were linked with Missile Defense, it could result in a more
open posture by Russia on reciprocal actions, including Iran.
Ambassador Rice thought that strong messages should continue
to be sent to Iran that the Obama Administration’s approach
is a “fleeting window of opportunity” that should not be
passed up. It would be important, she said, to send messages
to the Supreme Leader.
¶4. (C) Foreign Secretary Miliband suggested arranging a
meeting with Ambassador Rice, Secretary Clinton, Ambassador
Sawers and himself to talk about how to work together
effectively in Africa. Both countries have large stakes in
peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts, and he wanted to
avoid “misplays” between politics and military activity. He
anecdotally referred to differences in U.S. and U.K.
positions in December 2008 on whether to intervene in
Somalia, though he agreed when Ambassador Rice said she
thought the U.S. and U.K. currently see “more or less eye to
eye” on how to move forward. Rice said she thought there
were several areas where the U.S. and U.K. could usefully
USUN NEW Y 00000492 002 OF 002
cooperate in Africa, such as in building state capacity,
agricultural development and health care infrastructure. She
said that the world financial crisis and the outbreak of the
H1N1 virus had highlighted the vulnerabilities of many
¶5. (C) Ambassador Rice said Special Envoy to Sudan–Scott
Gration–would soon report on his second trip to the region.
An agreement on cessation of hostilities would also be an
opportunity to end offensive aerial overflights in Darfur,
she said, and Rice hoped the Security Council would be more
forward leaning on its statements on this in the future.
Miliband noted that the unraveling of the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement (CPA), which had been feared when NGOs were
expelled, had not materialized. Rice emphasized that the
U.S. was committed to both the CPA and to addressing Darfur,
and the two issues needed to be managed in tandem.
¶6. (C) Miliband said he had met recently with Zimbabwe
Finance Minister Tendai Biti (Movement for Democratic
Change-MDC), who had encouraged more international community
support for the power sharing arrangement with Robert Mugabe.
Miliband believed African leaders have the impression the
international community is holding back in its public support
for the power sharing arrangement, and that more support is
needed. The international community also needs to show
private support, Miliband said, by infusing assistance funds
into projects supported by the reformers in the
MDC-controlled ministries. Rice agreed that support for
health, education and infrastructure projects could be
helpful to the MDC.
¶7. (C) Referring to the government in Sri Lanka as “liars”,
Miliband stressed the need to confront the ongoing civilian
deaths there due to government shelling in the conflict zone.
He raised the possibility of withholding an IMF emergency
loan to the government, which is at serious risk of default.
Miliband feared, that “as Sri Lanka gets close to default, we
will be forced to fold.” He suggested that, instead, if Sri
Lanka is on the verge of default, the IMF should issue a
“very short term loan”, while the current loan is being