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US wanted Tsvangirai to form government with Mai Mujuru

The United States wanted Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai to form a transitional coalition government with Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Vice-President Joice Mujuru so that President Robert Mugabe could leave his position with dignity.

This is disclosed in a cable in which the US was trying to lobby Burkina Faso to support it but cabinet director Vincent Zakane said Burkina Faso preferred a coalition government between Mugabe and Tsvangirai with no presumption that Mugabe would leave the government.

Zakane urged the United States to work through the African Union to gain African support for US positions vis-a-vis Zimbabwe.

He said that the European Union had angered several African countries by taking positions on Zimbabwe at its recent Africa Summit in Lisbon in ways that “ignored the African Union”.

Should the United States work exclusively through the United Nations system without reference to the AU, it risked creating an impression that non-Africans were dictating to Africans how they should handle one of the continent’s most important issues.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08OUAGADOUGOU694, Burkina Faso: Demarche on Zimbabwe Talks

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08OUAGADOUGOU694

2008-07-28 11:13

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Ouagadougou

VZCZCXRO7568

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO

DE RUEHOU #0694 2101113

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 281113Z JUL 08

FM AMEMBASSY OUAGADOUGOU

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4006

INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0664

RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L OUAGADOUGOU 000694

 

AF/W FOR EPLUMB, AF/S

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECLASSIFY ON 7/28/2028

TAGS: PREL SADC UV ZI

SUBJECT: Burkina Faso: Demarche on Zimbabwe Talks

 

Reftel: State 079617

 

Classified by Charge DBrown for reasons 1.4 (b)(d)

 

1. (U) Charge presented reftel points to MOFA Cabinet Director

Vincent Zakane on Sunday, July 27.

 

2. (C) Zakane expressed agreement with several of reftel’s points

with one critical difference: while the USG was in favor of a

transitional coalition government between Vice President Mujuru and

opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai allowing Mugabe to leave his

position “with dignity,” the Government of Burkina Faso (GOBF)

presently envisaged a coalition government between Mugabe and

Tsvangirai with no presumption that Mugabe would leave government.

Zakane added, however, that the GOBF position regarding a coalition

government in Zimbabwe was still under development.

 

The Role of African Union in Zimbabwe Crisis: Inconsistencies in

Burkinabe Views

———————————————

 

3. (C) Zakane was somewhat inconsistent regarding the African Union’s

(AU) role in assisting to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe. On the one

hand, Zakane appeared almost dismissive of an important role for the

AU, emphasizing that South African President Thabo Mbeki was the

facilitator for talks (on behalf of the Southern African Development

Community (SADC)), and that AU participation should be clearly

subordinated. (Comment: Zakane may consciously or subconsciously be

making a parallel to Burkina Faso’s President, Blaise Compaore, who

as current Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

President has also been designated as facilitator of the Cote

d’Ivoire peace process. In this context, the AU has had effectively

no substantive role, and even the role of the UN Secretary General’s

special representative for Cote d’Ivoire has been very subordinated

to that of Compaore. End comment.)

 

4. (C) On the other hand, Zakane – as he had done in an earlier

conversation – urged that the United States work through the AU to

gain African support for U.S. positions vis-a-vis Zimbabwe. He again

asserted that the European Union had angered several African

countries by taking positions on Zimbabwe at its recent Africa Summit

in Lisbon (in December 2007) in ways that “ignored the African

Union.” Zakane asserted that, should the United States work

exclusively through the UN system without reference to the AU, it

risked creating an impression that non-Africans were dictating to

Africans how they should handle one of the continent’s most important

issues. Instead, he advocated, the UN and AU should work together to

“harmonize as much as possible” their respective positions regarding

Zimbabwe. This, he added, would also be consistent with the South

Africa-proposed UN Security Council Resolution 1809, which was

adopted in April 2008 and which, in Zakane’s view, created a “rule”

that the “UN should work cooperatively with the AU.”

 

5. (C) Recalling an earlier demarche presented by Charge, Zakane

expressed disappointment that the United States had not supplemented

its leading role in seeking a UN Security Council resolution on

Zimbabwe with a more active diplomacy in the AU to convince the AU to

take a firmer line on Zimbabwe. Zakane at first even suggested that

the rejection of the U.S.-led resolution (due to a veto by Russia and

China) was in part due to a “lack of coordination with the African

Union.”

 

6. (C) The normally reserved and polite Zakane, perhaps stepping back

from his surprisingly direct criticism of a key ally, the United

States, then added that perhaps the UN resolution was “not such a bad

idea after all.” Zakane had felt that the United States had been

taking a risk to propose the resolution because – if it failed – it

might make Mugabe so proud that he would unleash even more violence

against his political opposition. Instead, the UN resolution, even

though not adopted, had been a useful “warning to Mugabe from the

international community.”

 

Brown

 

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