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SA ambassador accused Europeans of trying to impose Tsvangirai as president

South Africa’s ambassador to the United Nations Dumisani Kumalo strongly opposed the move by the United States to get the United Nations to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe arguing that “Europeans” wanted to install Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai as president of Zimbabwe.

Though he acknowledged the severity of the situation in Zimbabwe following its presidential elections run-off which was marred by violence forcing Tsvangirai to pull out, Kumalo said that the US sanctions proposal was “aimed at the people of Zimbabwe” and that if the Council approved the sanctions “you are going to blow up Zimbabwe”.

Vietnam, China, Indonesia and Libya each made brief statements questioning the utility of sanctions and emphasising the importance of a negotiated solution in Zimbabwe.

China and Vietnam emphasised the need for the Council to act “prudently” and within its mandate.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08USUNNEWYORK602, UNSC: D/SYG MIGIRO BRIEFS COUNCIL ON ZIMBABWE

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

08USUNNEWYORK602

2008-07-08 23:45

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

USUN New York

VZCZCXRO2259

OO RUEHDU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHSR

RUEHTRO

DE RUCNDT #0602 1902345

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 082345Z JUL 08

FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4562

INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L USUN NEW YORK 000602

 

SIPDIS

 

IO AND AF FOR FRONT OFFICE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/08/2018

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL UNSC ZI

SUBJECT: UNSC: D/SYG MIGIRO BRIEFS COUNCIL ON ZIMBABWE

 

REF: USUN 593

 

1 (C) SUMMARY: In a July 8 meeting the Security Council heard

a briefing on the situation in Zimbabwe from Deputy

Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, in which she emphasized

the fact that all three African observer missions in Zimbabwe

had condemned the 6/27 elections and its results, dubbing the

current crisis a “moment of truth” for democracy in Africa.

In subsequent consultations, the UK, France, Belgium, Italy,

Croatia, Burkina Faso, Panama and Costa Rica voiced support

for the U.S.-backed sanctions resolution. South Africa and

Russia strongly criticized the U.S. proposal, while China,

Indonesia, Vietnam and Libya made more muted statements on

the importance of negotiation and the need for the Security

Council to take a narrow view of its mandate. END SUMMARY.

 

Europeans, Latins, Burkina in favor

———————————–

 

2. (C) European and Latin American members of the Security

Council made strong statements of support for the U.S.

resolution, with France, the UK and Belgium offering to

co-sponsor the text. Italy and Croatia voiced their support

for passage of the resolution as soon as possible. Costa

Rica argued that failure to enact sanctions would undermine

the Council’s prestige in light of the Zimbabwean

government’s “contempt” for efforts to mediate the conflict.

Burkina Faso stressed that its support for the resolution

should be considered not as a condemnation of the Zimbabwean

government but as support for the appropriate amount of

pressure required to prod the government to the negotiating

table. Panama expressed some squeamishness over the Chapter

7 threat determination contained in the resolution, but

rationalized its support by claiming that in Zimbabwe there

is “enough of a threat” to international peace and security

to justify sanctions.

 

Sparks fly in opposition

————————

 

3. (C) South African Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo acknowledged

the severity of the situation in Zimbabwe but alleged that

the U.S. sanctions proposal was “aimed at the people of

Zimbabwe” and that if the Council approves sanctions “you are

going to blow up Zimbabwe.” Kumalo then directly accused

“the Europeans” of wanting to install Morgan Tsvangirai as

president before launching into an emotional speech about

South Africa’s stabilizing role in Zimbabwe and his personal

history in the ANC. Vietnam, China, Indonesia and Libya each

made brief statements questioning the utility of sanctions

and emphasizing the importance of a negotiated solution in

Zimbabwe. China and Vietnam emphasized the need for the

Council to act “prudently” and within its mandate.

 

4. (C) Russian PermRep Vitaliy Churkin delivered the most

forceful statement against the U.S. sanctions resolution,

citing “well-founded objections” to the Security Council’s

involvement and stating that the Council had never before

interfered in a matter related to elections in a member

state. Churkin alluded to the fact that supporters have the

necessary votes to pass the resolution, but cautioned that

“this arithmetic of votes is not suitable for the Security

Council” and that any U.S. move to advance to a vote today or

tomorrow would be “excessively hasty.” In a separate

conversation with Ambassador Khalilzad, Churkin denied having

instructions to veto the resolution, but said that Russia’s

opposition was closely tied to South Africa’s and he could

not rule out the possibility. Russian experts later advised

that the matter was being handled “at the highest level” and

they would not have instructions until Friday, July 11.

 

Khalilzad

 

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