Chronology of Zimbabwe talks April to October 2007

Although South Africa was appointed facilitator for the Zimbabwe talks at the Southern African Development Community meeting in Dar es Salaam on 29 March 2007, it did not publicly announce the meetings of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change. But here is how the talks progressed.

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07PRETORIA3640, CHRONOLOGY OF SOUTH AFRICAN FACILITATION IN

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07PRETORIA3640

2007-10-17 06:54

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO1441

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #3640/01 2900654

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 170654Z OCT 07

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2288

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 003640

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S S. HILL

NSC FOR B. LEO

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2017

TAGS: PREL ZI SF

SUBJECT: CHRONOLOGY OF SOUTH AFRICAN FACILITATION IN

ZIMBABWE

 

 

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Donald Teitelbaum. Reasons 1.4(b) and

(d).

 

1. (C) Following is a chronology of key events in the South

African mediation in Zimbabwe since the Southern African

Development Community (SADC) appointed President Thabo Mbeki

as "facilitator" at its March 29, 2007 summit in Dar es

Salaam. The South African Government (SAG) has not publicly

announced the meetings with ZANU-PF or the opposition

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), so many of the events

are not/not confirmed and based on reports from various press

and privileged sources.

 

 

March 27-29: SADC Extraordinary Summit in Dar es Salaam.

Summit "mandates" Mbeki to "continue to facilitate dialogue

between the opposition and government" in Zimbabwe and report

on progress. Also "mandates" Executive Secretary to

undertake "study of economic situation" and propose measures

for assisting Zimbabwe.

 

Early April: Mbeki sends letters to ZANU-PF and two MDC

formations explaining his plans for the mediation and

requesting papers on their views on the crisis. Mbeki

appoints Minister for Provincial and Local Government Sydney

Mufamadi as his lead negotiator for the Zimbabwe talks.

Other members of the SAG team are Director General in the

Presidency Frank Chikane, Presidential Legal Advisor Mojanku

Gumbi, and Department of Foreign Affairs Director General

Ayanda Ntsaluba.

 

April 4: Mufamadi and SAG team meet with MDC

Secretary-Generals Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube in Pretoria.

 

SIPDIS

 

April 11: MDC presents joint negotiating paper to SAG,

focusing on necessary conditions for free and fair elections.

 

May 4: MDC presents follow-up joint paper at request of SAG,

identifying possible areas of "contention" during upcoming

talks.

 

Early May: Mufamadi and SAG team travel to Harare for talks

with ZANU-PF, including key negotiators GOZ Justice Minister

Patrick Chinamasa and Labour Minister Nicholas Goche.

 

June 1: Government of Zimbabwe/ZANU-PF presents negotiating

paper to SAG, highlighting role of U.K. and sanctions in

crisis.

 

June 17-18: First round of South African/SADC-facilitated

talks takes place in Pretoria; agreement on five-point agenda

(constitution, electoral laws, security legislation,

communications, and political climate).

 

June 30: SADC Executive Secretary completes report on

economic situation in Zimbabwe.

 

July 7: ZANU-PF no-show at scheduled facilitation talks in

Pretoria. Mbeki reportedly angry, calls Mugabe.

 

Mid-July: ZANU-PF and MDC meet privately in Harare. ZANU-PF

negotiators travel to Pretoria. SAG pressure on ZANU-PF to

negotiate seriously.

 

July 29: Following SAG Cabinet retreat, Mbeki says he is

"quite confident" that agreement in Zimbabwe will be reached.

Stresses that election results "should not be contested."

 

August 13: SAG briefs Zimbabwe civil society in Johannesburg

on talks. Civil society complains about exclusion from

process.

 

August 16-17: SADC Summit in Lusaka. Mbeki presents report

on political facilitation. SADC Executive Secretariat

reports on economic situation. Communique "commends" Mbeki

and "welcomes progress" in negotiations.

 

September 1-2: ZANU-PF and MDC negotiators meet in Pretoria

on electoral process and constitutional reforms.

 

September 14-15: Mbeki meets with MDC Presidents Tsvangirai

and Mutumbara, and Secretary-Generals Tendai Biti and

Welshman Ncube in Pretoria; convinces them to support

Constitutional Amendment 18.

 

September 17: SAG briefs Zimbabwean civil society for second

time in Johannesburg.

 

PRETORIA 00003640 002 OF 002

 

 

 

September 18: Zimbabwean Parliament agrees on Constitutional

Amendment 18 with support of ZANU-PF and MDC.

 

September 19: South African Cabinet "welcomes" recent

breakthrough on constitutional amendments in Zimbabwe.

 

September 19-28: MDC and ZANU-PF meet regularly in Harare on

new constitution and other issues.

 

September 26: In UNGA speech criticizing U.S. and U.K.,

Mugabe expresses "gratitude" to Mbeki for "successfully

facilitating" dialogue between ZANU-PF and MDC. Mbeki and

Mugabe meet privately on margins of UNGA.

 

September 29-30: MDC and ZANU-PF initial new constitution in

Harare; SAG officials Mufamadi, Gumbi, and Chikane witness

agreement. New constitution includes elements of rejected

2000 constitution, 2004 initialed document, and NCA draft.

 

Early October: Mufamadi and Chikane meet ZANU-PF and MDC in

Harare..

 

October 5: In public remarks with German Chancellor Merkel,

Mbeki states that Zimbabwe talks "going very well," and he is

"confident that they will reach an agreement."

 

o/a October 17: Select SADC Finance Ministers, including SAG

FinMin Manuel, to meet in Harare on economic crisis.

 

Ongoing: MDC and ZANU-PF negotiators meeting in Harare to

finalize remaining agenda items: repressive legislation,

diaspora vote, sanctions, voters roll, timing of elections,

and timing of implementation of constitution.

 

October 30: MDC and ZANU-PF negotiators scheduled to return

to Pretoria to report on progress.

 

November: Target date for conclusion of South African/SADC

facilitation.

 

March 2008: Current date for Zimbabwe parliamentary and

presidential elections; could be delayed to September or

October.

 

2. (U) This message was coordinated with Embassy Harare.

Teitelbaum

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