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EU banks on SADC to put pressure on Zimbabwe

The European Union was banking on the Southern African Development Community to put pressure on Zimbabwe to honour its obligations under SADC agreements regarding good governance, rule of law, human rights and free elections.

This seemed to be a clear indication that its sanctions on Harare which had been in force for five years were not working.

Zimbabwe was harassing opposition Movement for Democratic Change politicians most of whom had to be hospitalised after being beaten up by police.

They included party president Morgan Tsvangirai, spokesman Nelson Chamisa, MP Sekai Holland and deputy secretary for external affairs Grace Kwinje.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07BRUSSELS917, EU VIEWS SADC AS BEST VEHICLE TO PRESSURE ZIMBABWE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07BRUSSELS917

2007-03-20 16:52

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

USEU Brussels

VZCZCXRO0478

RR RUEHAG RUEHMR RUEHRN RUEHROV

DE RUEHBS #0917/01 0791652

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 201652Z MAR 07

FM USEU BRUSSELS

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC

INFO RUCNMEU/EU INTEREST COLLECTIVE

RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE

RUEHZJ/HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION COLLECTIVE

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE

RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 000917

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

FOR AF/S STEVE HILL

DRL/MLGA JULIETA NOYES

IO/RHS DOUG ROHN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/20/2017

TAGS: PREL PHUM UNHCR ZI EUN BE

SUBJECT: EU VIEWS SADC AS BEST VEHICLE TO PRESSURE ZIMBABWE

 

REF: A. STATE 34009

B. STATE 33357

 

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Laurence Wohlers for reason

s 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

1.(C) Summary: EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana urged

the government of Zimbabwe in a March 19 statement to respect

the rule of law, and the German EU Presidency has issued

three public statements since March 12 condemning Zimbabwe’s

violent crackdown of opposition politicians. The EU has

instructed its Ambassadors in member countries of the

Southern African Development Community (SADC) to urge those

governments to hold Zimbabwe accountable under SADC

regulations regarding good governance, fair elections, and

respect for human rights. The EU does not believe that a

resolution during the current session of the UN Human Rights

Council would be productive. End Summary.

 

2.(C) Poloff delivered ref demarches March 20 to Peter

Clausen, Deputy Head of the Africa Unit at the EU Council’s

General Secretariat, and to Didier Cosse, Human Rights

administrator at the Council Secretariat. Clausen said the

EU views SADC as the best vehicle to pressure Zimbabwe as a

SADC member to honor its obligations under SADC agreements

regarding good governance, rule of law, human rights, and

free elections. The EU has instructed its Ambassadors in

SADC capitals to demarche those governments and request that

they pressure Zimbabwe to respect its SADC obligations. He

said the EU views SADC as a better organization to deliver

that message than the African Union, which is currently

stretched thin responding to crises in Sudan and Somalia.

The EU already has sanctions in place against the Zimbabwe

leadership.

 

3.(C) Both Clausen and Cosse rejected the idea of working

through the Human Rights Council (HRC) to pressure Zimbabwe.

They said that given HRC dynamics and voting patterns, any

action against Zimbabwe would likely be seen as an attack on

Africa as a whole by the West and would dilute HRC efforts to

take meaningful action against Sudan on Darfur. The EU is

putting all its efforts during the current HRC session into

achieving follow-up action on the HRC’s recently released

Sudan report and is optimistic that a number of African

countries, including Zambia and Ghana, seem to be supporting

the EU instead of voting in a bloc against it.

 

4.(U) The EU has issued four public statements since March 12

condemning Zimbabwe’s abuse of opposition politicians. The

first, on March 13, was a statement by the EU Presidency

condemning “the violent break-up of a peaceful, church

sponsored rally” during which one participant was killed, one

was injured, and many, including opposition leaders Morgan

Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, were arrested and abused.

 

SIPDIS

The second, also by the German Presidency, noted on March 14

the release of some opposition members and called for the

immediate release of the rest. The Presidency said, “It was

deeply concerned to learn of the serious injuries suffered by

the opposition leaders as a result of maltreatment. The

Presidency emphasizes once more the Zimbabwean Government’s

responsibility for the safety and well-being of those

arrested. The Presidency will continue to observe events in

Zimbabwe with interest.”

 

5.(U) The third Presidency statement, issued March 18, said,

in its entirety: “The EU Presidency was outraged and deeply

concerned by the news of the arrest and brutal treatment of

the opposition MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC) on 18 March. Mr.

Chamisa was on his way to Brussels to attend a meeting of

parliamentarians from ACP and EU countries. He is now lying

in a critical condition in a Harare hospital under police

guard. The MDC executive members Sekai Holland and Grace

Kwinjeh, who were detained temporarily and mistreated by the

police last week, were arrested again yesterday (Saturday)

without being charged and prevented from travelling to South

Africa for medical treatment. The opposition MP Arthur

Muambara was also arrested once more. The Presidency

welcomes the statements issued by John Kufuor, President of

the African Union, and Bishop Tutu, who both protested

against these incidents. The Presidency condemns these

actions by the security forces in the strongest possible

terms and calls on the Zimbabwean Government to release all

 

BRUSSELS 00000917 002 OF 002

 

 

detained opposition politicians immediately, to enable them

to have access to legal assistance and medical care, and to

allow representatives of the EU Presidency to visit the

detainees. It appeals to the Government to respect the rule

of law and human rights and to refrain from doing anything

which might lead to a further escalation of the situation in

Zimbabwe.”

 

6.(U) The most recent public statement, issued March 19 by

Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign

and Security Policy said, “I follow with growing concern the

evolution of the situation in Zimbabwe, in particular the

increasing use of direct violence against members of the

opposition. I urge the authorities of Zimbabwe to work for

the rule of law, without which it will be impossible for the

people of Zimbabwe to overcome the current difficulties.”

Additionally, the European Parliament on March 19 forbade

three Zimbabwean officials from entering Parliament. The

officials, described as lower level members of the ruling

party, were in Brussels to attend the meeting of African,

Caribbean and European parliamentarians, the same meeting

that Nelson Chamisa was trying to get to when he was detained

and beaten at Harare International Airport on March 18. The

European Parliament’s action was only symbolic since the

officials did not plan to attend Parliament, they were

attending meetings at another location. But Glenys Kinnock,

chairwoman of the EU delegation to the meeting, said it was

“completely unacceptable” for the government delegation to

have proceeded to Belgium knowing that Chamisa had been

beaten.

MCKINLEY

.

(4 VIEWS)

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