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Mbeki denies saying Mugabe is stepping down

South African President Thabo Mbeki denied that he had discussed with United States President George Bush during his visit to Pretoria that President Robert Mugabe would step down in December.

He was reacting to a story in the British newspaper, The Independent, which had been written by Zimbabwean journalist Basildon Peta, which also said Mugabe’s stepping down as leader of ZANU-PF could pave the way for his exit and fresh elections in 2004.

“There is no such thing. I don’t know where that comes from. . .There was no discussion at all about anybody stepping down,” Mbeki was quoted as saying.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE1462, MEDIA REPORT PRESIDENT BUSH’S TRIP TO AFRICA;

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE1462

2003-07-18 08:40

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

180840Z Jul 03

UNCLAS HARARE 001462

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PDPA FOR DALTON, MITCHELL AND SIMS

NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL KPAO KMDR ZI

SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT PRESIDENT BUSH’S TRIP TO AFRICA;

HARARE

 

 

According to press reports, South African President Thabo

Mbeki has distanced himself from news stories alleging that

he had told President George W. Bush – during their meeting

in Pretoria – that Robert Mugabe would step down in

December. Mbeki’s denial has made headlines in the local

press. The July 18 edition of the government-controlled

daily “The Herald” published a wire article by Agence

France Presse as its lead story, under headline “Mbeki

denies report: `There was no discussion at all about

anybody stepping down.'” The independent daily “The Daily

News” (07/18) relegated the same story to page 3. Reacting

to reports in Britain’s Independent newspaper that he

(President Mbeki) and President Bush had discussed Mugabe’s

exit during President Bush’s whistle-stop visit of Africa

last week, SAPA news agency quotes, President Mbeki as

having told reporters at a briefing in Pretoria: “There is

no such thing. I don’t know where that comes

from. . .There was no discussion at all about anybody

stepping down.” A weekend report in Britain’s Independent

newspaper, by Zimbabwean journalist Basildon Peta, also

said Mugabe’s stepping down as leader of ZANU PF could pave

the way for “his exit and fresh elections in 2004.”

 

SULLIVAN

 

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