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Media hype before earth summit

Pro-government papers hailed the World Summit for Sustainable Development in South Africa as the unique platform for President Robert Mugabe to set the record straight on the land issue.

The Herald it was impossible to achieve sustainable development as long as land ownership was skewed in favour of a minority race.

The Sunday Mirror accused Britain of trying to politicise the summit which it said was supposed to focus on food production as there was already talk that British Prime Minister Tony Blair should boycott Mugabe’s speech at the summit.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 02HARARE1949, MEDIA REPORT WSSD; HARARE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE1949

2002-08-26 13:52

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.

UNCLAS HARARE 001949

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PD, AF/S, AF/RA

NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PHUM KPAO KMDR ZI

SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT WSSD; HARARE

 

 

1.   The World Summit for Sustainable Development

(WSSD) in South Africa has become the subject matter

for editorials in two mainstream newspapers – the

government-controlled daily “The Herald” and the

independent weekly “The Sunday Mirror.” Editorial

excerpts follow:

 

2.   Under headline “Land vital for sustainable

development” the government-controlled daily “The

Herald” (08/26) comments:

 

“The WSSD which begins in South Africa today

presents yet another platform for Zimbabwe to

set the record straight on the land issue. . .

For Zimbabwe the land is at the core of its

development. But the country’s just struggle

for land has been viciously attacked by some

powerful Western nations, notably Britain and

the United States, who want the land-

redistributing program stopped. As the program

is now being wound up the American Government

wants the government removed for correcting a

historical injustice. In South Africa this week

the demonization of the government will be

intensified with the West seeking the isolation

of Zimbabwe. But Zimbabwe’s sovereignty will be

strenuously defended, as it will be represented

at the highest level. . . To us sustainable

development is impossible to achieve for as long

as land ownership is skewed in favor of a

minority race. . .   Zimbabwe will, therefore,

today join the rest of the world in searching

for ways to push forward an agenda to foster

sustainable development. . .”

 

3.   Under headline “Earth Summit not Blair Summit” the

pro-government weekly “The Sunday Mirror” (08/25)

comments:

 

“The debate in the British government on whether

Tony Blair should boycott President Robert

Mugabe’s speech at the Johannesburg WSSD is an

attempt by the Blair government to hijack a

United Nations function and pursue the long

drawn and well known British vendetta against

Zimbabwe. The Earth Summit. . .is supposed to

focus on food production, and it is unfortunate

that Britain is trying to politicize the summit.

It is therefore sad to note that, at a time when

all UN agencies that deal with food security are

agreed that the way forward is to encourage

rural communities to be self sufficient in food,

Tony Blair and his government are mourning that

Mugabe is `driving efficient farmers off highly

productive land.’ Whether Blair likes it or

not, Zimbabwe has taken the first step towards

rural development by giving the peasants land so

that they can produce enough food to feed

themselves. In any case, the WSSD has no

politics on its agenda and as the British would

like to intimate. . .”

 

SULLIVAN

 

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