The United States piled pressure for military intervention in Zimbabwe, one week after the African Union had failed to condemn the election of President Robert Mugabe, arguing that the reasons that were being put forward by two key members, Russia and China, were invalid.
The United States was pushing for a Chapter VII resolution on Zimbabwe by the UN Security Council which allows military intervention.
Russia and China were opposed to the resolution arguing that this would undermine negotiations between Zimbabwe’s political parties that had begun on 9 July.
Both Russia and China had the power for veto any UN Security Council resolution.
The United States argued that there were no such talks and quoted Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai who said there were no negotiations between his party and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
Tsvangirai, however, confirmed that members of his team were meeting their counterparts from ZANU-PF in Pretoria but said this was merely to present the five conditions under which genuine negotiations could take place.
The MDC leader wrote UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon on 9 July that no meaningful negotiations could take place with ZANU-PF in the current environment and expressed support for the draft UN Security Council resolution and for the appointment of a UN special envoy to assist in finding a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.
Viewing cable 08STATE74375, URGENT DEMARCHE ON ZIMBABWE NEGOTIATIONS IN SOUTH
DE RUEHC #4375 1922254
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O P 102244Z JUL 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0000
INFO RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE PRIORITY 0000
UNCLAS STATE 074375
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: URGENT DEMARCHE ON ZIMBABWE NEGOTIATIONS IN SOUTH
REF: A. STATE 70836
¶B. STATE 73173
¶1. (U) Summary and Action request: On July 8, the U.S.
tabled a draft Security Council resolution on Zimbabwe.
The vote planned for July 9 was postponed for procedural
reasons. While not yet scheduled, the vote is likely on the
morning of July 11. The Russians and the Chinese continue to
oppose the Chapter VII resolution, and allege that that it
will undermine negotiations between the parties that began
July 9 in South Africa. We want to refute these arguments
and make clear to all members of the Council that no
substantive negotiations have begun. Zimbabwe opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday denied that substantive
negotiations had begun with the ruling ZANU-PF party of
President Robert Mugabe. Tsvangirai said in a statement that
officials from his Movement for Democratic Change were merely
presenting conditions for negotiations, including the end of
violence against the opposition. Council members must be
reminded that these negotiations are not new (no positive
results despite 15 months of negotiations), and that the
proposed UNSC resolution is intended to support regional and
international mediation efforts by strengthening the
incentives for Mr. Mugabe to engage constructively in any
future negotiations. All action addressees (except Pretoria)
are requested to demarche host governments at the
Ambassadorial level on an urgent basis to confirm or solicit
their support, as appropriate, for the resolution prior to
the July 11 vote. Posts are requested to respond as quickly
as possible by e-mail or cables slugged for IO/UNP-Rebecca
Goldenberg and IO/PSC Jean Clark. End Summary and Action
¶2. (U) All action addressees (except Pretoria) may draw from
the following talking points:
— Media reports have said that negotiations are taking place
in South Africa between the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) and the Government of Zimbabwe.
— MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai today denied these reports.
He has told the media that, “over the past 10
days, I and my party have stated categorically that there are
no negotiations between ourselves and ZANU-PF
currently taking place…This position has not changed.”
— In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on July 9,
Tsvangirai said, &in this environment there can be
no meaningful negotiations and as I write you today there is
no dialogue between my party and ZANU PF.8 He expressed
support for the draft UNSC resolution and for the appointment
of a UN Special Envoy to assist in finding a solution to the
— In his statement on July 10, Tsvangirai clarified that the
meeting taking place in Pretoria is &solely to present the
five conditions under which genuine negotiations can take
place.8 These conditions include an end to the violence,
the release of political prisoners, the lifting of
restrictions on humanitarian operations, the swearing in of
the Parliament and Senate, and the inclusion of an African
Union permanent envoy in the mediation team. These
conditions have not yet been met.
— Informal talks between the MDC and ZANU-PF are not new.
They have been going on for fifteen months. The current
meeting is designed to discuss conditions that would have to
be in place to begin meaningful negotiations.
— The situation in Zimbabwe remains dire. The Security
Council must act to tell the Mugabe regime to end the
violence and begin serious negotiations with the opposition
leading to a solution that respects the will of the
— The draft resolution will empower regional and
international mediators by strengthening the incentives for
Mugabe to negotiate seriously.
— We urge you to instruct your Permanent Representative to
support bringing the draft resolution to an immediate vote
and to vote &yes.8
¶3. (U) Background:
The press is reporting that MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti
and representatives of the Arthur Mutambara MDC faction are
in Pretoria talking to GOZ representatives Nicolas Goche and
Patrick Chinamasa. SADC-facilitated
talks between the GOZ and MDC have been ongoing for 15 months
having produced minimal results. Although press
reports note progress, there is no reliable confirmation of
any positive outcome from this latest round of talks. On
July 9, Tsvangirai sent a letter to SYG Ban in which he
denied that there were meaningful negotiations and expressed
support for the UNSC draft resolution and the appointment of
a UN Special Envoy to assist in finding a solution to the
crisis. On July 10, Tsvangirai issued a statement again
denying that negotiations were underway and outlining the
five conditions necessary for substantive discussions with
the GOZ to begin.