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Khama urged UK to support Zimbabwe

Botswana President Ian Khama, one of the strongest critics of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, called on the British government to resume aid to Zimbabwe barely a month after the formation of the inclusive government saying it would be a grave mistake not to do so, one of the diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks says.

Khama is reported to have said this on 16 March 2009 during a consultative meeting just before the London Economic Summit which was scheduled for 2 April. Zimbabwe’s inclusive government which saw Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai become Prime Minister while Mugabe remained president, was sworn in on 11 February 2009.

Khama said he had initially been “very skeptical” that a Government of National Unity (GNU) would work between the Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front but he became convinced that it would be a mistake not to support Zimbabwe’s GNU by resuming aid as quickly as possible after meeting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete also agreed that aid to Zimbabwe should be resumed in order to support the GNU and ensure its success.

Nigerian Finance Minister Mansur Muhtar, however, told British officials after the meeting that Khama, Odinga, and Kikwete’s statements had not been previously agreed and did not represent a consensus position.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Zimbabwe was receiving significant humanitarian support and additional support would come with GNU progress. He said the UK would respond to progress in stages adding that African countries should also provide financial and political support to Zimbabwe.

Full cable:

 

SOME AFRICAN LEADERS CALL FOR RESUMPTION OF AID AT LONDON MEETING

 

Ref ID: 09LONDON704

Date: 3/20/2009 17:01

Origin: Embassy London

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Destination: 09LONDON694

Header: VZCZCXRO5741OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRODE RUEHLO #0704 0791701ZNR UUUUU ZZHO 201701Z MAR 09FM AMEMBASSY LONDONTO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1772INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITYRUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITYRUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1412

Tags: PREL,PHUM,EAID,ZI,ZU,UK

UNCLAS LONDON 000704 SIPDIS SENSITIVE E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PREL, PHUM, EAID, ZI, ZU, UK SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: SOME AFRICAN LEADERS CALL FOR RESUMPTION OF AID AT LONDON MEETING REF: LONDON 694 Botswana President Ian Khama called for a resumption of aid to Zimbabwe during the March 16 consultative meeting with Africa leaders in the run-up to the London Economic Summit, according to UK Government officials present at the meeting (reftel). Khama said he was initially “very skeptical” that a Government of National Unity (GNU) would work between MDC and ZANU-PF, but that after recently seeing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Khama is convinced that it would be a mistake not to support Zimbabwe’s GNU by resuming aid as quickly as possible. Kenyan Prime Minister Odinga and Tanzanian President Kikwete also agreed that aid to Zimbabwe should be resumed in order to support the GNU and ensure its success. Nigerian Finance Minister Mansur Muhtar, however, told HMG officials after the meeting that Khama, Odinga, and Kikwete’s statements had not been previously agreed and did not represent a consensus position. According to HMG officials, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown responded by saying that Zimbabwe is receiving significant humanitarian support, but additional support will come with GNU progress. Brown said the UK will respond to progress in stages, and financial and political support is also needed from African countries. Visit London’s Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX LEBARON

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