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KP chair said Zimbabwe was his primary challenge

Namibia’s deputy Minister of Mines and Energy Bernhardt Esau said Zimbabwe was going to be his primary challenge when his country was elected to chair the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

The United States embassy in Namibia conceded that it indeed was going to be because of the close relations between Windhoek and Harare.

“Esau struck us as smart, thoughtful, and engaging,” an embassy official said. “He is new to the Kimberley Process but seems determined to get up to speed quickly and to work cooperatively with us.”

“The difficult issue for him, however, may be Zimbabwe, an issue on which he might be boxed in by his own government’s policy. Namibia’s ruling party, SWAPO, has longstanding ties with Robert Mugabe from the liberation war years, and it has declined to criticise the Zimbabwean leader publicly.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09WINDHOEK82, NAMIBIA ON KIMBERLEY PROCESS CHAIRMANSHIP

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

Classification

Origin

09WINDHOEK82

2009-03-05 16:04

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Windhoek

VZCZCXRO0927

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHWD #0082/01 0641604

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 051604Z MAR 09

FM AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0383

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 0002

RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 0001

RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 0285

RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0086

RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0083

RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0023

RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 5255

RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0024

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WINDHOEK 000082

 

SIPDIS

 

FOR EEB (BBROOKS-RUBIN) AND AF/S (EPELLETREAU)

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/04/2019

TAGS: ECON ETTC EMIN ETRD WA

SUBJECT: NAMIBIA ON KIMBERLEY PROCESS CHAIRMANSHIP

 

Classified By: DCM Matt Harrington for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

 

Summary

——–

 

1. (C) Namibia’s newly appointed chair of the Kimberley

Process (KP) — Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy Bernhardt

Esau — told DCM on February 24 that Zimbabwe would be his

primary challenge.   He plans a site visit there shortly and

has invited South Africa and Angola to join the delegation,

although the exact terms of reference are still being

developed. It is unclear how firm a stance Esau will take on

Zimbabwe, given his own government’s historical ties to

ZANU-PF and reluctance to criticize Robert Mugabe. During

his chairmanship, Esau also hopes to standardize the KP

certificate, conduct a number of site visits, host a

successful intersessional meeting in June, and focus on

provision of capacity-building and training for the weaker

states. End Summary.

 

2. (C) Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy Bernhardt Esau

was recently named to lead Namibia’s chairmanship of the

Kimberley Process (KP). DCM called on him on February 24 to

learn more about his plans for the chairmanship. Esau was

accompanied by KP Coordinator Cecilie Mbundu.

 

3.   (C) DCM congratulated Esau on Namibia’s KP chairmanship

and expressed the USG’s desire to collaborate closely with

him on the key issues. He asked about Esau’s plans and

objectives for the year.

 

Zimbabwe

——–

 

4. (C) Esau, unprompted, identified Zimbabwe as his

principal challenge.   He noted his intention to lead a site

visit to Zimbabwe within the next two weeks. He was prepared

to issue a public statement, but thought it would be

premature to do so before a site visit. Pressed on who would

comprise the delegation, Esau said he had invited South

Africa and Angola to participate, and had asked the chair of

the working group on monitoring to recommend others. Esau

added that he would like to include members of civil society,

but he did not elaborate. Asked who the delegation’s primary

interlocutors would be in Zimbabwe, Esau said his intention

would be to see the minister responsible for mines, as well

as the chamber of commerce and the chamber of mines. He also

expressed interest in calling on representatives of the labor

movement. Esau said the details on the terms of reference

had yet to be worked out.

 

Administrative challenges

————————-

 

5. (C) Esau identified his other primary challenges as

“administrative.” Organizing the intersessional meeting in

June, would consume quite a bit of his attention. He also

plans to conduct site visits, including to DRC, Liberia,

Bangladesh, and the United States.

 

6. (C) When DCM expressed concern about the potential for

backtracking by some on the core KP issues, Esau strongly

agreed on the need for vigilance. He said an energetic

response now was appropriate, perhaps focusing on

strengthening the capacity of weaker states. “Capacity

building should be the buzzword,” he said.

 

U.S.-Namibia collaboration

————————–

 

7. (C) The DCM solicited Esau’s thoughts on which areas

might prove fertile ground for collaboration with or support

from the United States. The Deputy Minister mentioned the

following: capacity-building and training, standardization

of the KP certificate, and implementation of resolutions from

the last plenary session.

 

Comment

——-

 

8. (C) Esau struck us as smart, thoughtful, and engaging.

 

WINDHOEK 00000082 002 OF 002

 

 

He is new to the Kimberley Process but seems determined to

get up to speed quickly and to work cooperatively with us.

The difficult issue for him, however, may be Zimbabwe, an

issue on which he might be boxed in by his own government’s

policy. Namibia’s ruling party, SWAPO, has longstanding ties

with Robert Mugabe from the liberation war years, and it has

declined to criticize the Zimbabwean leader publicly.

MATHIEU

 

(10 VIEWS)

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