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US concerned about Mugabe’s successor

United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson expressed concern about President Robert Mugabe’s possible successors and seemed to be only comfortable with Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

Carson said Mugabe had rejected all approaches about “his” Global Political Agreement insisting that his “favourable legacy” in the history books had already been established.

While noting that Mugabe was still healthy and vigorous, he said Mugabe’s successor generation contained some “bad apples”, but there were some, like Joice Mujuru, who recognised the need for change in Zimbabwe.


Full cable:


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Reference ID






2009-08-18 15:18

2011-08-30 01:44


Embassy Stockholm



DE RUEHSM #0515/01 2301518


P 181518Z AUG 09










E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/2019





Classified By: CDA Robert Silverman for

reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


1.(SBU) Summary: Assistant Secretary for African Affairs

Johnnie Carson represented the U.S. at the EU troika meeting

on Africa issues held July 14 in Stockholm. The agenda

included the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea),

Sudan, Zimbabwe, Kenya, unconstitutional changes of

government (Madagascar, Mauritania, Guinea, and Niger), and

the Sahel. In addition to the agenda items, A/S Carson

raised the issues of piracy and drug trafficking in Africa.

The troika meeting provided the context for a good exchange

of views on many issues, on which the U.S. and the EU

generally agree. A/S Carson and Head of the Africa

Department at the Swedish MFA Ambassador Anders Hagelberg

declared the meeting a great success. Hagelberg said the EU

and the U.S. are &more like-minded than ever before,8

adding that he looked forward to a close cooperation during

the Swedish EU Presidency.


2. (C) A/S Carson and the CDA had a pull-aside on July 14

with Swedish MFA State Secretary Frank Belfrage to discuss

the intense public pressure on the Swedish government to get

Eritrea to release imprisoned Swedish-Eritrean journalist

Isaak Dawit. Belfrage asked if the U.S. had insights on

approaches to Eritrea. End Summary.





3. (U) Head of the Swedish MFA Africa Department Ambassador

Anders Hagelberg, chairing for the EU, opened the meeting by

praising President Obama’s July 12 speech in Accra, Ghana,

saying he saw it as “re-shaping” U.S. Africa engagement in

offering the platform that will open new opportunities for

U.S.-EU cooperation on the continent. A/S Carson explained

that the U.S. will focus on placing “Africa in the hands of

Africans.” The U.S. will be a partner in four key areas:

democracy and governance; economic challenges; public health;

and conflict mitigation. We also share the EU’s focus on

climate change in the Africa context and on the effects of

the global economic crisis in Africa.





4. (C) Somalia was the meeting,s top priority, and the

troika spent the majority of the morning discussing it. A/S

Carson led the discussion by explaining U.S. support for the

Djibouti Process under the Intergovernmental Authority for

Development (IGAD), Sheik Sharif and the Transitional Federal

Government (TFG), and the African Union Mission in Somalia

(AMISOM). He outlined Somalia,s problems, calling these

issues a &festering sore that impacts the entire region.8

The U.S. and the EU agreed that they need to address the

following issues: Somali refugee flows to neighboring

countries; spillover effects of Ethiopian and Eritrean hot

and cold war tensions; movement of smuggled goods; piracy;

the arrival of foreign fighters and their relation to

Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda; and continued efforts to find the

individuals responsible for the bombing of U.S. embassies in

Africa in 1998. A/S Carson emphasized the importance of a

comprehensive political solution that does not simply treat

the symptoms, but also treats the root causes of the internal

conflict in Somalia. He expressed deep concern for the

refugee problem, citing figures of nearly 270,000 refugees

currently in camps in northern Kenya and an additional

5-6,000 refugees entering Kenya each month.


5. (C) Swedish Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Marika

Fahlen responded, pointing out that the EU is the largest

donor to Somalia and that the EU hopes to harmonize EU-US

policies. Fahlen expressed fear that the TFG lacks a clear

vision and is now less able to articulate the Djibouti

Commitment upon which its legitimacy is based. Fahlen noted

both U.S. and EU donations to the AMISOM and questioned

AMISOM,s capability, asking whether or not the EU should

increase its mandate for AMISOM without providing more

equipment. Additionally, Fahlen stated that the EU and the

U.S. should work to stop the “financial middle man8 and

interrupt the flow of equipment to Al-Shabaab. She addressed

the symbiotic relationship between the pirates and

Al-Shabaab, an exchange of service for protection. Fahlen

also took up the role of the Somali diaspora (25,000) in

Sweden and Somali-Swedes fighting in Somalia. She expressed

that perhaps the diaspora could possibly play a constructive

role in aiding Somalia, if properly encouraged. A/S Carson

noted that the U.S. was also very concerned about the foreign

fighters in Somalia, some of whom traveled there in response

to Ethiopian engagement. Both sides expressed concern that


STOCKHOLM 00000515 002 OF 005



Sheik Sharif might call for the return of Ethiopian troops.


6. (C) Jose Costa Pereira of the Council Secretariat asked

about the idea of a special EU representative to the Horn of

Africa. A/S Carson emphasized that the TFG must show that

it is an effective government, not just a symbol. The U.S.

will continue to support AMISOM, but will urge the Algerians

first to provide troop transportation. A/S Carson agreed

with his EU interlocutors that Eritrea acts as a regional

spoiler in Somalia not because it loves Al-Shabaab but

because Eritrea seeks to undermine Ethiopia. Additionally,

A/S Carson suggested that the U.S. and the EU work to

energize the seven IGAD states individually coordinate

representations and joint demarches in Nairobi; and ask Kenya

not to serve as a port for foreign fighters and illegal






7. (C) Both the U.S. and the EU voiced similar concerns

about Ethiopia and Eritrea. A/S Carson said he agreed with

the EU assessment that “political space” has narrowed in

Ethiopia. Amb. Hagelberg described the situation as

sensitive, but not as sensitive as it has been, stating that

the EU &shouldn,t be too shy8 about the border dispute.

The EU places elections at the center of the Ethiopian agenda

and is concerned with election observation and instability

that could result following the &wrong8 election results,

he said. A/S Carson stressed the importance of resolving the

Eritrea-Ethiopia border dispute by getting Ethiopia to live

up to its Algeria Agreement commitment, adding that the EU

might be better positioned to achieve this. A/S Carson,

noting that “we’re stymied,” asked if EU access to dialogue

with Ethiopia has actually produced influence. Delegates

admitted that the Europeans were frustrated too, and said

that the EU would reassess its Eritrea policy during the

Swedish Presidency.





8. (C) A/S Carson said the EU and the U.S. shared much the

same position on Sudan regarding the elections, the

north-south divide, and the situation in Darfur. He led the

discussion and emphasized that if the Comprehensive Peace

Agreement (CPA) is not concluded, efforts to end the

humanitarian crisis in Darfur will be ineffective. A/S Carson

commented that any referendum calling for the division of

Sudan should not necessarily have to result in an “immediate

split” of the country. The Council Secretariat’s Pereia

noted that the CPA ends soon and that the international

community needs to address post 2011 political, economic, and

security arrangements. Ambassador Fahlen added that Darfur

has become so politicized that it too is its own player in

the peace process, adding that dialogue should include rebel

groups. Eritrea has had a role in training Justice and

Equality Movement (JEM) rebels in Darfur, so it needs to be a

player in the peace process as well. A/S Carson stated that

the U.S. was uncertain as to how important the work of the

Mbeki Panel would be, adding that the U.S. hopes it be

consistent with other efforts. Amb. Hagelberg stated that

the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) indictment of Bashir

has handicapped Europe,s relations with Sudan.





9. (C) Amb. Hagelberg led the discussion for the EU side,

saying that along with Somalia, Zimbabwe would be at the top

of the EU priority list during the Swedish Presidency. (It

will also feature prominently on the agenda of the October

EU-South Africa Summit.) The Commission’s Roger Moore,

Director of the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa, Indian

Ocean and Pacific (ACP III), and A/S Carson exchanged views

on meetings with Morgan Tsvangirai and his GOZ delegation

during their recent visits to the U.S. and Europe. Moore

opined that relations between Tsvangirai and Mugabe’s Zanu/PF

factions seemed both “complementary and competing,” a

description with which A/S Carson agreed. Moore said that

Zimbabwe and the EU have agreed to produce “joint roadmaps,”

with Zimbabwe doing one related to commitments under the

“global political agreement,” and the Commission addressing

the normalization of EU-Zimbabwe relations. The goal would

then be to build bridges (linkages) between the two roadmaps.

Moore admitted that there was probably little chance of a

successful outcome to this endeavor, but it was all that was

going at the moment. The Europeans listened eagerly to A/S

Carson’s detailed recounting of the GOZ visit to both the

White House and the State Department, and of A/S Carson’s


STOCKHOLM 00000515 003 OF 005



recent meeting with Mugabe at Sirte. (Mugabe rejected all

approaches about “his” GPA and insisted that his “favorable

legacy” in the history books has already been established.)

A/S Carson also expressed concerns about Mugabe’s possible

successor(s), while noting that the leader is still healthy

and vigorous. The successor generation contains some “bad

apples,” but there are also some, for example Vice President

Joyce Mujuru, who do recognize the need for change in






10. (C) A/S Carson stated that he is deeply concerned about

the turn of events in Kenya. The coalition is fragile and

the process is not moving forward, he opined. All

delegations expressed approval of the agreement brokered by

Kofi Annan and fear that Kenya,s fragile coalition could

falter. A/S Carson noted the failure of the Kenyan government

to prosecute corruption, human rights violations and

extra-judicial killings and only “patchwork” progress on

reform. The EC called the situation in Kenya depressing but

still recognized its potential in regard to its thriving

private sector, independent media, and strong civil society.

Hagelberg said that the U.S. and the EU share many of the

same concerns and should keep up the pressure on the reform






11. (C) Both sides expressed the need for involvement

regarding the problem of unconstitutional governments. A/S

Carson emphasized the need to nurture and support democracy.

He noted that the African Union embraces democracy as a

principle and must support and reward progress. In regard to

Madagascar in particular, A/S Carson expressed hope for

further AU partnership and a need to break the “cycle of

elite entitlement” in the country. All, or else none of the

current presidential candidates should have the ability run,

and the U.S. prefers that no current government members run

in the next election. Carmen de la Pena , representing the

incoming Spanish Presidency of the EU, stated that the

international community needs to send Madagascar a common

message and might get more strongly behind the SADC mediation

efforts of former Mozambican President Chissano.





12. (C) All delegations acknowledged the risks associated

with the upcoming elections. A/S Carson emphasized that the

international community should stay engaged after the

elections, honor the results, and make sure that if the

current government loses that it does not seek revenge. De

la Pena expressed fear of a post-election coup and called

Mauritania a &situation waiting for a crisis.8





13. (C) Conversation on Guinea-Conakry was short. A/S

Carson raised the topics of elections and the increasing

concern about narcotraffickers operating in the country. The

EU delegates commented that leadership in the country is

isolated and difficult to influence. They expressed fears

that the government will not live up to promises of elections

and noted their concerns about drug trafficking.





14. (C) The EU has committed to a series of fact-finding

missions in the region. The first has been Mali, and in

September it will focus on Mauritania and Niger. De la Pena

shared her delegation’s findings with the group, and

emphasized the need for Europe not to solve the region,s

problems but to provide help and support. A/S Carson added

that Mali and Algeria must work together to counter the

terrorist threat in the region, but the international

community should not confuse the historical, political, and

social problems related to Tuareg insurgents with the growing

Al-Qaeda presence in the region. The EC’s Moore stated that

threats in the region “feed off of one another,” and added

that security forces in the region must be strengthened.


U.S. Requests



15. (C) A/S Carson requested that that the EU member states


STOCKHOLM 00000515 004 OF 005



consider a proposal to prosecute and imprison pirates who

attack their respective flagged vessels. The Council’s

Pereira explained that this issue would not fall under EU

compentency, but is up to member states, stressing that

piracy is not a crime under the criminal codes in these

countries as well. A further complication would be that in

some Member States, captured pirates might even be able to

apply for assylum. Nevertheless, the EU side took note of

A/S Carson’s request.


16. (C) A/S Carson also requested that the EU consider

prosecuting and imprisoning drug traffickers caught in Africa

that are subject to Interpol, international or European

warrants. The EC responded that the feasibility of this

would depend on the type of crime. The Europeans seemed to

think the Latin American drug trafficking problem in Africa

has decreased and that many of the drug traffickers are now

of local origin.


Other Discussions



17. (C) CDA Robert Silverman hosted a dinner for A/S Carson

on July 13, giving him the opportunity to meet a number of

key Swedish officials who did not attend the troika meeting.

Dinner topics included the Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia. Horn

of Africa Special Envoy Marika Fahlen mentioned that an

Al-Shabaab &spiritual8 leader and cleric recently spoke at

a Gothenburg mosque to recruit young Somali-Swedes, which

prompted major concerns from the Somalia diaspora in Sweden.

The diaspora has now invited a delegation of moderate Somalis

to speak in Sweden, Fahlen pointed out. Director-General for

Development Cooperation Jan Knutsson emphasized that although

Sweden had reduced the number of countries receiving Swedish

assistance, Africa remained a top priority, adding that four

of the top five aid recipients of Swedish aid are in Africa.

(Sweden has a long history of providing assistance to Africa,

including more than 60 years of aid to Ethiopia.) In an

interesting aside, Fahlen opined that the U.S. might be the

only actor that could &pressure8 Bashir not to run for

President in Sudan. A/S Carson,s dinner interlocutors were

extremely enthusiastic about working closely with the U.S.

during Sweden,s EU Presidency and praised President Obama,s

speech in Ghana.


18. (C) A/S Carson also met with Swedish State Secretary for

Foreign Affairs Frank Belfrage and Director-General for

Political Affairs Bjorn Lyrvall on July 14, prior to the

start of the troika meeting. Belfrage stated that Sweden

supports the Djibouti Process, the TFG and Sheik Sharif,

adding that &Al-Shabaab could well take over if the TNG

fails.8 A/S Carson noted that success will hinge on Sheik

Sharif,s ability to mobilize his forces, fight and begin to

act like a government. Sheik Sharif is disadvantaged against

Al-Shabaab by the fact that he is not a warlord, but an

Islamic scholar with no training in conducting warfare. A/S

Carson stressed the U.S. is moving toward a holistic view of

Somalia and the region that transcends a purely

counter-terrorism perspective.


19. (C) At the end of the formal meeting, Belfrage pulled

aside A/S Carson and the CDA to discuss “a sensitive matter.”

He explained that the Swedish government is under intense

pressure from its public (in the form of petitions and

continuing headlines in the press) to engage Eritrea in order

to obtain the release imprisoned Swedish-Eritrean journalist

Isaak Dawit. Belfrage reported that direct bilateral

contacts with Eritrea have not worked, and an approach via

the Foreign Minister of Qatar &backfired.8 (Eritrea,s

President Isaias Afwerki publicly condemned Sweden for asking

the Qataris to help release the journalist.) Belfrage said

another option is for Sweden to ask the Libyans for help. A

final option is to ask the EU to put aid to Eritrea on hold;

he said the EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian

Aid Louis Michel has warned the Eritreans, most recently at

the AU meeting in Sirte, Libya, that aid may be reexamined as

a result of human rights policies. Belfrage asked if the

U.S. had suggestions on possible approaches to Eritrea.


20. (C) A/S Carson replied that the USG also is attempting

to reach out to Eritrea as part of our general approach of

seeking diplomatic engagement with a number of regimes,

including Iran, Syria, and Cuba. To date, the U.S.

approaches to Eritrea have not been fruitful, and A/S Carson

detailed his unsuccessful attempts to obtain a visa to

Eritrea prior to his trip the week before to Ethiopia and

Kenya. Secretary Clinton also has attempted to call

President Isaias Afwerki unsuccessfully, he noted.

Underlining USG concern with Eritrean support for al-Shabaab

in Somalia, A/S Carson commented that our willingness to


STOCKHOLM 00000515 005 OF 005



engage with Eritrea is not an open-ended offer.


21. (U) This cable has been cleared by A/S Carson.






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