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US did not take Tsvangirai seriously on call to end sanctions

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told United States embassy officials three years ago that although there were different interpretations of sanctions and their effect on the country there was no argument about the need to end sanctions.

Embassy officials, however, interpreted Tsvangirai’s call as a response to the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front’s incessant criticism that he and the Movement for Democratic Change were not fulfilling their commitment to the Global Political Agreement to end sanctions.

It concluded so because Tsvangirai did not condemn sanctions and call for an unconditional end to them and did not call for repeal of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act.

Tsvangirai had, however, emphasised the importance of “normalising relations with the EU and the US; of course with the US on ZDERA”.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE772, TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS DIPLOMATS

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE772

2009-09-28 12:30

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO5820

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0772/01 2711230

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 281230Z SEP 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4953

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3054

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3167

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1596

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2430

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2799

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3215

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5660

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2347

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000772

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR M. GAVIN

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/28/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS DIPLOMATS

 

REF: HARARE 736

 

Classified By: CDA Donald Petterson for reason 1.4 (b) & (d).

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on

September 24 briefed diplomatic chiefs of mission on the

status of the inclusive government (IG). His remarks were

essentially a reiteration of what he told the Charge two days

earlier about the aims of the Global Political Agreement

(GPA), the ZANU-PF-inspired impediments to their achievement,

his take on what happened at the SADC Summit in Kinshasa, his

confrontation with Mugabe about the stalled GPA, and their

subsequent meeting, which focused on means to unglue the

stalled constitutional process (ref). Tsvangirai also

responded to questions on sanctions, land and conservancy

seizures, prospects for further progress on the GPA, and the

SADC Tribunal. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) Tsvangirai convoked chiefs of mission, including the

Charge, on September 24 to brief on progress of the GPA and

to answer questions on the political and economic

environment. His initial remarks covered areas discussed

with the Charge on September 22. He touched on the following

areas in a question and answer session.

 

— Sanctions: Tsvangirai said: “Within government there are

different interpretations of sanctions and their effect.”

But there is “no argument about the need to end sanctions.”

He emphasized the importance of “normalizing relations with

the EU and the U.S.; of course with the U.S. on ZDERA.”

Although he acknowledged that ZDERA’s impact was symbolic

rather than substantive, he maintained that “coupled with the

travel ban, (ZDERA) feeds ignorance or misrepresentations

about sanctions.” Tsvangirai noted that the EU and U.S. had

established benchmarks, and ending sanctions and repealing

ZDERA would depend on progress in meeting the benchmarks.

 

— Land and conservancy seizures: Tsvangirai stated that

land reform is irreversible, but “the current activities” are

“politically motivated” and “impair confidence.” The

conservancy issue is a “political challenge” in that the

president says one thing but the government does another

thing. (COMMENT: The president is saying nothing on this

issue, and ZANU-PF insiders are taking advantage of his

silence to act. END COMMENT.) It is imperative that actions

that “preserve the negative image of Zimbabwe” be ended. The

ministries of lands and environment will put forward

proposals on land and conservancies which will be taken up by

parliament after it reconvenes October 6. Rhino poaching is

another black eye for Zimbabwe’s image with foreign investors.

 

— Commissions: Tsvangirai expects progress soon (i.e. after

Mugabe returns from the UNGA and Venezuela) on the media

commission first and then other commissions provided for in

the GPA (elections, anti-corruption, and human rights). He

said te state media’s campaign of hatred had to end and

implied that some in ZANU-PF agreed.

 

— SADC Tribunal: The statement by Minister of Justice

Q– SADC Tribunal: The statement by Minister of Justice

Chinamasa that Zimbabwe was pulling out of the Tribunal was

“unfortunate,” according to Tsvangirai. “We have agreed that

we are not pulling out, but in truth the Tribunal has not

been operationalized, and heads of state are looking into

this. Its mandate is being reviewed.” Once the Tribunal

“has been given a mandate,” its decisions “must be observed.”

(COMMENT: According to Tsvangirai advisors, he garbled the

MDC message on the SADC Tribunal. His talking points were

that the Tribunal was properly constituted and that its

decisions should be respected. END COMMENT.)

 

— The imperative of progress: The GPA has raised

 

HARARE 00000772 002 OF 002

 

 

Zimbabweans’ expectations. Donors have been greatly helpful

in the effort to provide for food security. But “failure of

donors to help enough would be damaging.” As it is, “the

failure to implement parts of the GPA threatens the inclusive

government.” Unless there is progress, people will react by

asking, “Is it worth it?”

 

3. (C) COMMENT: Although Tsvangirai did not condemn

sanctions and call for an unconditional end to them, and did

not call for repeal of ZDERA, his remarks in a semi-public

forum on sanctions and ZDERA seem to be a response to

ZANU-PF’s incessant criticism that he and the MDC are not

fulfilling their commitment in the GPA to push for an end to

them. It is important to note that he continues to link

actions on sanctions and ZDERA to benchmarks of reform.

Whether Tsvangirai’s seeming confidence, expressed in his

September 22 meeting with the Charge and in this meeting with

chiefs of mission, in his ability to persuade Mugabe and

company to give in on some of the issues at hand is well

placed will become evident in the near future. But from the

inception of the IG, Tsvangirai and the MDC have made

concessions to Mugabe and have received precious little in

return. END COMMENT.

 

PETTERSON

 

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