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UN piles pressure on Mugabe

United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon criticised President Robert Mugabe for the crisis in Zimbabwe which had resulted in an outbreak of cholera in the country and accused him of not forthcoming to ask for help.

United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Mugabe was either evil or mad and it was long pastime for him to go. She said the power-sharing agreement shouldn’t include him.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband urged the United Nations Security Council members to agree that:

  •  That Zimbabwe’s predicament has been caused by misrule and corruption;
  • That Zimbabwe’s people had clearly voted for change;
  • That the crisis in Zimbabwe, especially in its health aspects, has become regional;
  • and that the international community, most particularly the Security Council, needed to show leadership by helping to restart a process that could lead to progress on the humanitarian and political fronts.

Russian Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin said that neither side to the Zimbabwe dispute seemed to be in a hurry to resolve the crisis and that both acted “almost like it does not exist”.

South Africa’s Permanent Representative Dumisani Kumalo said the negotiation process could produce a Prime Minister by Christmas but, “because we try to push, it moves very slowly”.


Full cable:


Viewing cable 08PARTO122201, U) Secretary Rice’s Participation in the December

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Reference ID





2008-12-22 21:30


US Delegation, Secretary




DE RUCNAI #0003/01 3572130


O 222130Z DEC 08














E.O. 12958: DECL: N/A


SUBJECT: (U) Secretary Rice’s Participation in the December

15, 2008 UN Security Council Meeting on Zimbabwe


1. (U) December 15, 2008; 3:00 PM; New York City


2. (U) Participants:



The Secretary

Ambassador Khalilzad

Ambassador DiCarlo

Assistant Secretary Hook

Assistant Secretary Frazer


United Nations

Security General Ban Ki-moon


United Nations Security Council

Croatian Prime Minister Sanader (Council President)

United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Miliband

The Permanent Representatives of China, France, Russia,

Belgium, Indonesia, Panama, South Africa, Costa Rica, Libya,


The Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy


3. (SBU) SUMMARY: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the

Security Council on December 15 that Zimbabwe’s leaders had

failed to address the crisis in the country and that their

inaction had caused a dramatic deterioration in the situation

as witnessed by a widespread and growing incidence of cholera.

The Secretary supported Ban’s call for heightened

international community action in Zimbabwe, adding that the

crisis there was particularly tragic in that it was man-made

and left no doubt that the man responsible was Robert Mugabe.

British Foreign Secretary Miliband said the “real disease is

the misrule of the regime.” France, Belgium, and Italy

strongly supported a heightened Security Council role in

mitigating the crisis. Russia was very critical of “both

sides” in Zimbabwe for failing to appreciate the crisis. END



4. (SBU) In a 90-minute meeting closed to television and the

press on December 15, UNSYG Ban used, what was for him,

unusually pointed language in criticizing Zimbabwe’s

leadership. Ban said Robert Mugabe had “not been forthcoming”

and that his regime had failed to address the political crisis

confronting the country. This inattention, Ban said, had

created a dramatic deterioration in living conditions and a

humanitarian crisis featuring a widespread outbreak of

cholera, dependency on international assistance for the

necessities of life, and the collapse of health and education

infrastructures. He put the number of cholera cases at

18,000, adding that projections had the total eventually

reaching 60,000. He said neither the Zimbabwe leadership nor

the mediators had welcomed a UN role and had “left limited

space for my good offices.”


5. (SBU) The Secretary said Ban’s report was very difficult

to listen to, particularly because the devastating crisis he

described was not the result of natural disaster but was man-

made instead. She called Mugabe’s recent accusation that the

international community was unleashing disease on Zimbabwe the

ranting of a man who was either evil or had gone mad. She

concluded that we were long past the time for Mugabe to go and

that a power-sharing government could not include him.


6. (SBU) UK Foreign Secretary Miliband urged Council members

to agree on four points: that Zimbabwe’s predicament has been

caused by misrule and corruption; that Zimbabwe’s people had

clearly voted for change; that the crisis in Zimbabwe,

especially in its health aspects, has become regional; and

that the international community, most particularly the

Security Council, needed to show leadership by helping to

restart a process that could lead to progress on the

humanitarian and political fronts.


7. (SBU) French PermRep Ripert said implementation of the

September 15 power-sharing agreement between the Zimbabwean

parties ZANU-PF and MDC was being blocked by the Mugabe regime

and that human rights abuses continued as evidenced by the

recent abduction of activist Jestina Mukoko. Belgian PermRep

Grauls criticized unnamed Council members for preventing the

Council from becoming unambiguously seized with the crisis in

Zimbabwe by holding a public session with a clear agenda

listing rather than the generic “Peace and Security in

Africa.” Italy, Panama, and Costa Rica agreed that the

session should have been open to the public in order to shine

a light on conditions in Zimbabwe. Costa Rican PermRep Urbina

added that the UN should play a more active role in resolving

the crisis.


8. (SBU) Russian PermRep Churkin said that neither side to

the Zimbabwe dispute seemed to be in a hurry to resolve the

crisis and that both acted “almost like it does not exist.”

He urged continuation of the mediation efforts of former South

African President Mbeki. South Africa PermRep Kumalo, after

declining to speak initially, offered a few words after being

directly invited by Miliband. Kumalo said he had not spoken

“because I agree with what has been said.” He said the

negotiation process could produce a prime minister by

Christmas but, “because we try to push, it moves very slowly.”




International Response



9. (C) Advani said the international community must

deliver a coordinated message to the Pakistani leadership

that it must permanently put a stop to terrorism emanating

from its territory. The Secretary agreed that the

international community should call on Pakistan to respond

in a responsible manner. She said that the USG had a

special interest in being involved in this matter because

six Americans had lost their lives in the attacks.

Citizens of many other countries had died in these attacks

as well. She noted that she had stopped in London on the

way to India and the United States and UK are in agreement

that they need to deliver a unified message to Pakistan.



GOP Recognizes the Responsibility



10. (C) The Secretary said she has spoken to President

Zardari and believes that he understands that Pakistan has

a special responsibility to respond in a credible manner

because Pakistan territory is involved. She observed that

the internal political situation in Pakistan is such that

the civilian government finds it difficult to respond in

the manner it would like to. She counseled that the

United States, India, and other countries should work

together to give the civilian government a chance to




State of Denial



11. (C) Advani observed that Pakistani state of denial on

Pakistani involvement in this attack is unacceptable. He

said that Pakistani leaders have a disinclination to do

anything other than make empty offers to cooperate in

investigating something that they know fully well

originated in their country. What matters, according to

him, is that Pakistan take concrete measures, not provide

mere assurances. In his view these measures must start

with steps to dismantle the infrastructure of cross-border

terrorism aimed at India. The Secretary responded that

she believes President Zardari wants to do that but faces

internal constraints. Advani said he is aware of the

multiple centers of power in Pakistan.



Instrument of State Policy



12. (C) Advani noted that Pakistan has long used terrorism

and terrorist groups as an instrument of state policy. It

had begun deploying these groups in a proxy war, according

to him, after conventional war failed to wrest Kashmir

from Indian control. He said that then-President

Musharraf had shared with him the inability of the GOP to

control or disband these groups, telling Advani in 2005

that “once a country adopts a certain approach (i.e., to

support these groups), it is difficult to reverse it.”

Advani added that the GOP had not realized that these

groups would finally turn on their masters, as they had

now begun to do. He emphasized, however, that the

Lashkar-e-Taiba is treated differently because it has not

yet acted against Pakistan. The Secretary responded that

the Pakistani leadership is starting to understand that

some of its past associations with extremist groups are

coming back to haunt it. She felt that President Zardari,

who lost wife Benazir Bhutto to a terrorist attack,

certainly understands this.



Kashmir: De facto to De Jure



13. (C) Advani suggested the Secretary could also

contribute to lowering tension in the region by “making

Islamabad realize that no gain will come” from its

fixation with Kashmir. According to him, India will never

part with Kashmir and after 60 years, “what was de facto

has become de jure.” He noted that Pakistan had assured

India of this in the 1972 Simla Agreement but ignored its

commitment. In his view, Kashmir is not the “core problem

and if it is a problem today, it became one only after

Pakistan used aggression there” he said. When asked by

the Secretary and A/S Boucher whether a resolution to the

Kashmir issue is possible if Pakistan agrees to accept the

Line of Control and then takes steps against terrorist

groups targeting India, Advani responded: “Mumbai comes

first. The country expects a clear and firm response.”

He evaded the question about resolving Kashmir and pointed

instead to a 1994 Indian parliament resolution on the

liberation of “Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.”



Appreciation for Afghanistan



14. (C) Advani offered his support and encouragement to

the United States as it faces enormous challenges in

fighting two wars and dealing with the financial crisis.

The Secretary thanked him and noted that the situation in

Iraq was going well with the country taking steps towards

stable government and democracy. In Afghanistan, the

problems that the United States and its allies are dealing

with are: safe havens for insurgents in Pakistan,

strengthening the government, and reconstruction and

economic stability. The Secretary expressed her

appreciation for the significant Indian effort in






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