United Nations special envoy Haile Menkerios said negotiations between Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe were all about dividing power and not resolving Zimbabwe’s fundamental issues in the long run.
He told French diplomat Irchad Razaaly that he could easily see the MDC agreeing to a five-year-time frame, but once they were in power, there would be no rush for new elections.
Menkerios said that he would not be surprised if Tsvangirai abandoned principle in exchange for power.
He was bothered by the complete lack of discussion around amnesty and justice, and that any agreement that did not address these issues would be hard to sell at the UN.
Viewing cable 08PRETORIA1795, UN ENVOY MENKERIOS NOT OPTIMISTIC ABOUT
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SUBJECT: UN ENVOY MENKERIOS NOT OPTIMISTIC ABOUT
Classified By: Political Counselor Raymond L. Brown. Reasons 1.4(b) and
¶1. (C) French diplomat Irchad Razaaly (protect) told PolOff
he met on 8 August with UN Special Envoy Haile Menkerios, who
did not seem optimistic about the effectiveness or longevity
of a power-sharing agreement between MDC Leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and President Mugabe. Menkerios complained that
the current negotiations were all about dividing power, and
not resolving Zimbabwe’s fundamental issues in the long-run.
Menkerios also stated that he would not be surprised if
Tsvangirai abandoned principle in exchange for power. In the
end, Menkerios told Razaaly he fears the MDC will be
“practical.” As an example, Menkerios said he can easily see
MDC agreeing to a five-year timeframe; “once they are in
power, there will be no rush for new elections.” Razaaly
also said that Menkerios is bothered by the complete lack of
discussion around amnesty and justice, and that any agreement
that does not address these issues will likely be hard to
sell for him back at the UN.
¶2. (C) As for the mediation process, Menkerios specifically
asked the French to put him on the record as supporting the
mediation process. He said he and other members of the
reference group were regularly briefed when time permitted,
but did not seem to think this arrangement was unreasonable.
Menkerios said he believes that Mbeki should be given credit
for bringing Mugabe and Tsvangirai together to the same
table. Menkerios said that nothing will be resolved without
direct interaction between the two principles. (NOTE:
Razaaly said that the French were somewhat relieved to hear
Menkerios say this since they have chosen not to criticize
Mbeki for lack of progress. END NOTE)
¶3. (C) When asked what Paris’ stance will be if Mugabe ends
up with any type of executive power, he admitted that they
are taking a wait-and-see approach for now. They also have
concerns about how sustainable any agreement that includes
Mugabe, but also are conscious of how they will appear on the
continent if MDC comes out and says they are satisfied with
the agreement and seek reengagement. He added that they are
hoping the UK does not come out first and break ranks with
the EU, as they have in the past.