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Johnnie Carson said Mugabe’s stay in power is infinite

United States assistant secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said he had long regarded President Robert Mugabe’s stay in office as infinite as long as the security forces were behind him.

Carson, a former ambassador to Zimbabwe, said the United States was therefore looking for possible ways to help Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and reiterated the importance of targeted sanctions on individuals in Mugabe’s government.

Carson was speaking at a meeting with British Foreign Office officials who said they were looking for proof of progress in Zimbabwe.

British Prime Minister’s special advisor on Africa Brendan Cox said Britain would not change its policy on Zimbabwe substantially unless a quid pro quo was part of the strategy.

Possible elements included removal of Gideon Gono from the Reserve Bank, commitment to fully empower and swear in Roy Bennett, allowing the return of journalists into the country, and commitments to allow international monitoring of elections.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09STATE52639, A/S CARSON AND NSC SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAVIN

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09STATE52639

2009-05-22 12:36

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Secretary of State

VZCZCXYZ0001

RR RUEHWEB

 

DE RUEHC #2639 1472324

ZNY CCCCC ZZH ZDS

R 221236Z MAY 09

FM SECSTATE WASHDC

TO RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE 3821-3822

RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 7538-7539

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4270-4271

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 1732-1733

INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 7488-7489

RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 0458-0459

RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 4443-4444

C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 052639

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 052639

 

SIPDIS

 

C O R R E C T E D   C O P Y   (ADDED SUBJ TAGS)

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/22/2019

TAGS: PREL PINS KE SO UK XA ZI

SUBJECT: A/S CARSON AND NSC SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAVIN

DISCUSS AFRICA ISSUES WITH SENIOR UK REPRESENTATIVES

Classified By: AF A/S Johnnie Carson, Reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)

 

1. (SBU) On May 19, senior U.S. and UK Africa representatives

participated in a secure video teleconference (SVTC) focused

on Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Somalia. All expressed mutual

interest in holding a regular dialogue via SVTC, and agreed

to meet during Wood’s June 9-10 trip to Washington. U.S.

participants included Assistant Secretary for African Affairs

Johnnie Carson, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for

African Affairs Phillip Carter, and NSC-Africa Senior

Director Michelle Gavin. UK participants included Foreign

and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Africa Director Adam Wood,

Cabinet Office Senior Policy Advisor for Africa Anna French,

the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor for Africa and

Development Brendan Cox, and Department for International

Development (DFID) Deputy Director for East and Central

Africa John Gordon.

 

——————–

KENYA

——————–

2. (C) Carson warned that Kenya’s democracy is fragile and

political tensions have seriously fragmented the coalition.

He summarized the AF/NSC visit to Kenya last week, where

Carson and Gavin met with, among others, President Kibaki,

Prime Minister Odinga, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of

Finance Uhura Kenyatta, and the current and former Ministers

of Justice. Carson indicated he would return to Nairobi in

early June to reinforce messages made during the trip and to

continue pressing Kenya for progress on reform. (Note: the

trip is now postponed until July.)

 

– Carson noted his deep disappointment with the slow pace of

implementation of the Kofi Annan accord. He described the

striking weakness of the coalition and the apparent

alienation of Odinga from his closest supporters. Some in

the administration seemed to be taking a hard line on the

amount of power held by the Prime Minister. He expressed

concern with the sharp rise in human rights violations,

particularly the killing of young Kenyans by gangs in the

police service. He also noted a significant uptick in the

level of corruption, both in Odinga’s Orange Democratic

Movement coalition and Kibaki’s Party of National Unity.

 

– Carson noted that Secretary Clinton is expected to visit

Kenya in early August for the African Growth and Opportunity

Act Forum; the U.S. will want to use the visit to ratchet up

pressure on the Kenyans. He said the Secretary also planned

to raise Kenya and Zimbabwe in her May 19 meeting with former

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

 

3. (C) Gavin noted that she was also struck by the divide

between political elites and civil society– political elites

did not seem to be seized with the seriousness of the

situation.

 

4. (C) Wood, who visited Kenya just after Easter, echoed U.S.

concerns and warned that the visible anger of civil society

and ongoing human rights violations by police presented a

recipe for police violence. He noted the need to press for

progress on constitutional and other reforms over the next

few months and to break the culture of impunity. Wood

inquired into progress on the local tribunal; Carson noted it

was likely a hybrid was in the works. The UK’s next steps

include a potential invitation to Kibaki to visit the UK.

Wood acknowledged that stronger U.S. connections to Kibaki

and other Kenyan officials make the U.S. better placed to

push messages. Carson and Wood agreed they may want to visit

Kenya in tandem to signal stronger concerns.

 

————–

ZIMBABWE

————–

 

5. (C) Wood left for Zimbabwe May 19 for a 48-hour visit; he

indicated he would not make any commitments to Tendai Biti

and Morgan Tsvangirai during the trip. Wood noted that he

would be in an “interrogative” mode, asking for proof of

progress. The UK is interested in benchmarks based on the

Global Political Agreement (GPA), which they agree is a means

not an end. Cox said the PM will not change policy

substantially unless a quid pro quo is part of the

strategy-possible elements include removal of Gideon Gono

from the Reserve Bank, commitment to fully empower and swear

in Roy Bennett, allowing the return of journalists into the

country, and commitments to allow international monitoring of

elections. Wood acknowledged that the UK may be more

forward-leaning than the U.S. on Zimbabwe, and warned that

excessive caution from the international community in

providing assistance could doom the Zimbabweans to failure.

He noted the UK is considering additional support for

education.

 

6. (C) Carson noted the U.S. is looking for possible ways to

be helpful to Tsvangirai and reiterated the importance of

maintaining targeted sanctions on individuals in the regime.

Post is inclined to support limited assistance in health and

education. Carson noted he has long regarded Mugabe’s stay

in power as infinite, as long as the security forces are

behind him.

 

7. (C) Gavin noted that that President Obama will see

Tsvangirai in Washington next month and will privately

underscore with him that the GPA is not an end in itself.

Gavin also noted the Movement for Democratic Change’s recent

call to the Southern African Development Community to press

for more engagement by the regional organization.

 

———-

SUDAN

———-

 

8. (C) Wood and Cox expressed interest in meeting in

Washington “to get a better sense of where the administration

is across the board” on Sudan. Wood inquired into the status

of the policy review; Gavin expressed optimism that it was

near completion. Gavin welcomed the proposal for a meeting

in Washington, also noting the need to incorporate U.S.

Special Envoy to Sudan Gration’s views on next steps.

 

———-

SOMALIA

———-

 

9. (C) Wood asked for the U.S. read on the situation on the

ground and its implications for President Sharif’s position.

He expressed disappointment that Sharif has not done more on

reconciliation or formation of the unity government. He

noted that if weakened, Sharif may need to broaden his

alliances, which may include reaching out to Aweys.

 

10. (C) Carson characterized the situation as extraordinarily

fragile and confusing– depending on how the situation is

read, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has either

overcome its toughest test and survived, or is about to be

defeated by al-Shabaab. He noted that Ugandan President

Museveni believes the TFG will not collapse and that

al-Shabaab has been thwarted in Mogadishu. Reports from

Addis Ababa, Nairobi, and the media indicate that the

situation is fragile, fluid, and uncertain, and that the

battle for Mogadishu has not been resolved. He noted reports

that al-Shabaab has captured several towns, as well as of

Ethiopians inside the border, which would represent a show of

support for the TFG.

 

11. (C) Carson noted that if Sharif survives the most

concerted effort that al-Shabaab can launch, with

international support he may emerge stronger. He stressed

that the international community must find a way to

strengthen Sharif, his forces, and his government; to gain

public support, the TFG must be able to demonstrate its

effectiveness in delivering basic government services. He

noted that at the Secretary’s request, we have done as much

as possible to shore up the TFG, including urging

InterGovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) support for

the TFG on the margins of the May 20 IGAD Ministerial and

delivering $500,000 to Somalia last Friday. Cox inquired

about the $2 M notified to the UN sanctions committee.

Carter explained that the $2 M (which includes the $500,000

already released) will go toward salaries, weapons,

equipment, and material support. He noted the U.S. is

working with the TFG to ensure our support is deconflicted

with the TFG’s requests for assistance to other donor

nations.

Gavin highlighted the importance of seizing the opportunities

related to potential al-Shabaab expulsion from Mogadishu.

CLINTON

(14 VIEWS)

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