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SADC wanted sanctions on Zimbabwe lifted

Leaders of the Southern African Development Community called for the immediate lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe three years ago, but nothing has been done up to now.

Democratic Republic of Congo Foreign Minister Alexis Thambwe said although things were not perfect in Zimbabwe, SADC leaders had agreed that continued sanctions were negatively affecting the population much more than the Zimbabwean leadership.

The United States and the European Union which imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe more than a decade ago have argued that the sanctions are targetted at individuals but Zimbabwe as a country cannot access finance from any of the international financial institutions without the express approval of the United States president.

Zimbabwe can also not sell its diamonds on the open market because the mining companies in which the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation is a joint partner are also on the sanctions list.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09KINSHASA826, DRC TAKES ON SADC CHAIRMANSHIP

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09KINSHASA826

2009-09-10 13:18

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Kinshasa

VZCZCXYZ0000

OO RUEHWEB

 

DE RUEHKI #0826/01 2531318

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 101318Z SEP 09

FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA

TO RUEHC/DEPT OF STATE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE

RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE IMMEDIATE

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KINSHASA 000826

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/10/2019

TAGS: PREL PGOV ETRD CG

SUBJECT: DRC TAKES ON SADC CHAIRMANSHIP

 

REF: KINSHASA 801

 

KINSHASA 00000826 001.4 OF 003

 

 

Classified By: Ambassador William Garvelink for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

 

1. (C) Summary: As expected, Zimbabwe and Madagascar were

front and center at the September 7-8 SADC Summit. On

Zimbabwe, the SADC leaders called for a lifting of all

sanctions against the country, with some arguing that full

implementation of the global political agreement should not

be a pre-condition for lifting sanctions. On Madagascar,

SADC remained more “principled.8 SADC Mediator Joaquim

Chissano voiced support for a consensual solution, but warned

that, until such a solution is found, Madagascar would remain

suspended from SADC. Other issues discussed included

regional economic integration (progress on the FTA and the

long-term goal of a customs union); democracy consolidation

(elections throughout the SADC region); gender parity in

politics; food security/agricultural productivity; support

for a new global climate change protocol; and HIV-AIDS.

Joining the incoming chair (DRC) and outgoing chair (South

Africa), is the new vice-chair, Namibia, which takes over as

chair next year at this time. Not insignificantly,

Mozambique has assumed the chairmanship of SADC,s Organ on

Politics, Defense, and Security, the SADC body to which the

Zimbabwe question has been referred. The final communique

announced that SADC would support Malawi,s candidacy to

become the next AU chairman. End summary.

 

Opening Session Atmospherics

—————————–

 

2. (U)   On the way to the summit site, ambassador noticed

that some of the main roads had just been paved and the

fronts of buildings were freshly painted. The meeting

facility was an impressive tent structure with air

conditioning and monitors scattered around the hall. It was

an excellent meeting environment rumored to have been built

by the South Africans. Although dignitaries had been

instructed to arrive at the location at 7:30am for an 8am

start of the summit, the meeting got underway shortly after

11:00am. Seven or eight of the fifteen heads of state showed

up. The heads of state were from the Congo, South Africa,

Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. President Mugabe was there

as was Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

 

3. (SBU) The speakers in the morning were the President of

Zambia, the outgoing member of the governing troika,

President Zuma the outgoing chairman of SADC and President

Kabila, the incoming chair. After a short greeting by

President Kabila, a 10-minute video of the Congo with

narration in French was shown. At the end, in English, it

thanked those countries of SADC which came to the aid of the

Congo in its hour of need. There was nothing remarkable

about any of the speeches. The Zambian President focused on

economic issues, the global economic crisis, trade, and some

vague references to political issues facing SADC. No

reference was made to specific countries.

 

4. (U) In his statement, President Zuma talked about climate

change, trade, a possible SADC customs union, and food

security. He noted the SADC countries that had elections in

the past year and listed the countries that would have

elections in the coming year. He stressed the importance of

peace and security and of democratic government and pointed

to the peaceful transition of government in South Africa. He

noted improvements in the situations in eastern Congo and in

Qnoted improvements in the situations in eastern Congo and in

Zimbabwe. Zuma urged all parties in Lesotho to reach a

peaceful solution. He urged Zimbabwe to overcome the

obstacles of the past and to move forward as a united

government. He lamented the unscheduled change of government

in Madagascar, noted its suspension from SADC and recognized

former President Chissano as the SADC facilitator for the

Madagascar question. He concluded his remarks with the

importance of gender balance and stressed the importance of

the SADC protocol on gender.

 

5. (U) President Kabila began his remarks with the listing

of critical issues similar to the ones mentioned by President

Zuma, including climate change, trade, cooperation with

COMESA, agriculture and food security and the global economic

crisis. He also emphasized the importance of infrastructure

to economic development. Kabila noted the importance of

peace and security and democracy and mentioned the importance

of democracy in Zimbabwe and Madagascar. He ended his remarks

by stressing the importance of the role of women in national

life.

 

KINSHASA 00000826 002.3 OF 003

 

 

6. (U) The opening session concluded about 1:00pm and then

the heads of state adjourned to closed sessions for the

afternoon.

 

The new SADC team

—————–

 

7. (U) Namibia, in its role as vice chairman and future

chair, joined the DRC and South Africa on the SADC Troika.

SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao (Mozambican) was sworn

in for a second four-year term, as was the Deputy Executive

Secretary for Regional Economic Integration Joao Caholo

(Angolan). Mozambican President Armadno Guebuza accepted the

chairmanship of SADC’s Organ on Politics, Defense, and

Security.

 

Zimbabwe

——–

 

8. (SBU) Most notably, the SADC leaders called for the

immediate lifting of all sanctions against Zimbabwe. While

rumors flew at what level and in what forum the internal

situation in Zimbabwe should be discussed, in the end, the

question of the country,s fragile political situation was

referred to the SADC,s Organ on Politics, Defense, and

Security. A spokesman for Tsvingarai, James Maridadi, had

earlier maintained that Zimbabwe would be the subject of a

special summit. Following the summit, Tsvangirai told the

press that the power-sharing accord between the MDC and

ZANU-PF should be fully and quickly implemented, but he

expressed confidence that the organ,s three-member panel was

able to handle the issue. Some MDC officials reportedly

wanted SADC to review certain aspects of the global political

agreement (GPA), especially controversial governmental

appointments by President Mugabe. DRC Foreign Minister

Alexis Thambwe told the Kinshasa diplomatic corps on

September 10 that, although “things were not perfect in

Zimbabwe,” the SADC leaders agreed that continued sanctions

were negatively affecting the population much more than the

Zimbabwean leadership.

 

Madagascar

———-

 

9. (SBU) On Madagascar, the summit communique &firmly

rejected and strongly condemned any unilateral decision that

violates the spirit of the Maputo power-sharing agreements.8

SADC mediator Joaquim Chissano added that SADC had rejected

the recent &unilateral decision taken in Madagascar.8

Chissano said he would continue to work for a consensual

solution, but Madagascar,s SADC suspension would remain in

place until a solution is reached. During his briefing to

the diplomatic corps, Thambwe stressed that SADC resolutely

opposed any unilateral moves outside of the framework of the

Maputo agreements.

 

Other issues

————

 

10. (U) The final communique echoed previous comments by

Zuma and Kabila, noting the “consolidation of democracy8 in

the region (various levels of elections in Angola, Malawi,

Swaziland, South Africa, and Zambia already in 2009, with

elections for later in 2009 scheduled in Botswana,

Mozambique, and Namibia). SADC recommitted to strive for its

gender parity goal of 50% women in political positions.

Progress on strengthening the Free Trade Area and the

possible creation of a customs union was also noted. Other

issues addressed included the following: food

security/agriculture productivity (higher productivity has

been offset by higher food prices); support for a new climate

change treaty as a successor to Kyoto; and continued efforts

to combat the spread of HIV/AIS, particularly through

mother-to-child transmission and better access to

anti-retroviral drugs.

Qanti-retroviral drugs.

 

11. (C) Comment: The MDC came to Kinshasa hoping to

highlight the lack of progress on implementing the GPA as the

summit,s main outcome. However, the MDC had to revise its

objectives of calling an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe

down to referring the issue to the SADC,s political organ.

While we are not privy to the internal discussions on

Zimbabwe, the marquee headlines in local and international

press has been &SADC calls for lifting of Zimbabwe

sanctions.8 On Madagascar, SADC took a more laudable stand

by demanding a return to constitutional normalcy before

suspensions would be lifted. Madagascar, however, is not a

 

KINSHASA 00000826 003.3 OF 003

 

 

very important — or emotional — issue for most SADC

members, whose leaders hold Robert Mugabe, a fellow

anglophone who fought against colonialism and racism, in high

regard. For the DRC, the summit was important symbolically,

as this was the first regional or international conference in

Kinshasa since the 1980s when Mobutu hosted a France-Africa

summit. For many DRC citizens, from Kabila down to the man

on the street, the fact that the DRC could host (albeit with

considerable South African logistical support) such an event

confirms that the DRC has moved out of the deepest depths of

conflict and is perhaps ready to be viewed as &a normal

African state.8 End comment.

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