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Viva Mugabe champion of the oppressed

Morocco had to water down a resolution by the Non-Aligned Movement which showered praise on Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and contained “vestigial language” condemning unilateral sanctions on Zimbabwe.

The three-page resolution was introduced by Angola and praised Mugabe and South African President Thabo Mbeki but Morocco reshaped the document and reduced it to half a page.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08RABAT718, NAM MINISTERIAL: SNOOZING DINOSAUR MUTTERS IN ITS

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

08RABAT718

2008-08-04 11:05

CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN

Embassy Rabat

VZCZCXYZ0000

PP RUEHWEB

 

DE RUEHRB #0718/01 2171105

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 041105Z AUG 08

FM AMEMBASSY RABAT

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8930

INFO RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 0417

RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 4864

RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0028

RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 1220

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 3656

RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 6031

RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT 3794

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 5089

RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 0250

RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 9697

RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 4238

RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0846

C O N F I D E N T I A L RABAT 000718

 

SIPDIS

NOFORN

 

STATE FOR IO AND NEA/MAG

STATE PLS REPEAT TO NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT COLLECTIVE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/01/2028

TAGS: PREL PARM KNNP WI ZI AG ZP ZR MO

SUBJECT: NAM MINISTERIAL: SNOOZING DINOSAUR MUTTERS IN ITS

SLEEP

 

Classified By: Acting PolCouns David Brownstein for Reasons 1.4 (b) and

(d)

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C/NF) Moroccan MFA Chief of Staff Nasser Bourita

(strictly protect) said that Iran “did not get most of what

it wanted” on the issue of its nuclear and missile programs

during the recent Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ministerial in

Tehran. He expressed happiness with the more

Morocco-friendly statement on Western Sahara that came out of

the meeting. On Zimbabwe, Bourita explained that Morocco led

the charge to pare an unfocused and lengthy resolution down

to a manageable and more balanced half-page document.

Bourita described the NAM overall as a napping dinosaur and

said the meeting was poorly attended. He complained that the

organization has been “hijacked by radical actors” and now

serves as a forum for rhetoric of a bygone era rather than

constructive action. He noted that the full final conference

statement contains language critical of the U.S. on several

issues and advised the USG to engage the NAM on more than

just Iran. End Summary.

 

————————————-

Iran Did Not Get Everything It Wanted

————————————-

 

2. (C/NF) Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Chief of Staff

Nasser Bourita (strictly protect) told PolOff on August 1

that, despite hosting the 15th Ministerial Conference of the

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran, Iran “did not get most

of what it wanted” regarding its nuclear and missile

programs. The NAM’s final statement on the issue, which

Bourita said was the subject of heated debate, reaffirmed

states’ sovereign right to pursue peaceful nuclear programs,

but firmly endorsed International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

oversight of such efforts and encouraged Iran to continue

cooperation with the international body.

 

3. (C/NF) Bourita, who had just returned from the July 27

through 30 meeting, added that Iran had hoped to receive

formal endorsement of its desire to serve as the Gulf

region’s “security spokesman” in discussions with the UN,

U.S. and other international actors on the question of

security guarantees. The Moroccan delegation intensely and

successfully worked the margins of the Ministerial to

discourage support for the motion, arguing that Iran had too

many divergent interests from other Gulf states to make the

proposition viable.

 

——————————————— —-

Morocco/Algeria: Apparently, We CAN All Get Along

——————————————— —-

 

4. (C/NF) Bourita expressed pleasure at the final statement

on Western Sahara saying that, for the first time, the NAM

did not directly link self-determination to eventual

independence for the territory. It also endorsed all

Security Council Resolutions related to the issue and took

note of developments since 2006. The document contained

language strongly supportive of the UN Secretary General’s

Personal Envoy, which Bourita said was a specific endorsement

of the embattled Peter Van Walsum, and approved of the

negotiation process. Most importantly, he continued, the

statement encouraged the national parties to work with the UN

and “with each other,” which Bourita claimed was a tacit

admission that a solution to the issue was to be found in

improved relations between Morocco and Algeria.

 

5. (C/NF) Bourita described as “surprisingly constructive”

direct discussions with Algeria on the statement’s language,

mediated by NAM Chair Cuba and led, on the Moroccan side, by

Bourita himself. Despite initial attempts by the Algerian

 

delegation to frame the debate in terms of colonialism, his

counterparts quickly settled into a pragmatic exchange on the

issues. The fact that they agreed on the “precedent-setting”

final wording with little rancor, and that the resolution did

not become a point of contention within the wider meeting,

indicated a degree of acceptance of the Moroccan point of

view, Bourita asserted.

 

———————————————

Viva Mugabe, Champion of the Oppressed Masses

———————————————

 

6. (C/NF) The initial resolution on Zimbabwe, introduced by

Angola, was three pages long and contained much “Soviet era”

verbiage praising Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and

South African President Thabo Mbeki, Bourita groaned.

Morocco attempted to subtly re-shape the draft and discussion

without openly criticizing the document and goaded other

nations, such as Senegal, into suggesting amendments and

modifications. The final product was reduced to half a page

and was more “balanced and constructive.” It reaffirmed the

July 1 resolution on the dispute adopted by the African Union

at Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, and encouraged continuation of

the current talks being held under Southern African

Development Community (SADC) auspices. It also included

“vestigial language” condemning unilateral sanctions on

Zimbabwe that “crawled into the document from the 1970s and

80s,” he scoffed.

 

—————————————-

A Nice Place for Pictures, Not Much Else

—————————————-

 

7. (C/NF) Bourita said the meeting was poorly attended and,

after opening statements, few foreign ministers sat in on the

proceedings. If it had not been for the importance Morocco

attached to the Sahara resolution, Bourita commented, Foreign

Minister Fassi-Fihri would not have gone. As it was,

Fassi-Fihri had a proxy read his opening statement as he

thought it was “beneath his dignity to speak to an empty

hall.” Debate during the Ministerial was negligible except,

according to Bourita, when Morocco provoked discussion on

Iran and Zimbabwe. Members simply entered reams of

resolutions into the record, which were then incorporated

into conference proceedings unedited and unexamined. “The

Ministerials have become a place to get your picture taken,

and then go home,” he sighed.

 

——————————————— —-

Sleeping Dinosaur with A Big Body and Small Brain

——————————————— —-

 

8. (C/NF) Bourita described the NAM overall as a sleeping

dinosaur with a big body and small brain. He said it has

been hijacked by “radicals” such as Venezuela, Iran and Cuba,

which use it as a rhetorical soapbox rather than as a venue

for policy coordination. “How can you take an organization

seriously whose last four meetings have been in Caracas,

Havana and Tehran,” he asked. He also complained that

discussion still often centered around “liberation struggle”

questions from the 1970s and 1980s. Bourita suggested that,

ideally, a modernized NAM should be a vehicle for designing

and coordinating “third way” strategies focused on promoting

constructive engagement and dialogue between developing and

developed countries. He said a secretariat was necessary to

help it effectively address technical issues such as Iran’s

arms program, but countries that could afford to fund a

permanent staff, such as the Gulf states, are disengaged from

the Movement. Unless moderate members like Morocco and

others assume responsibility for pushing change, the NAM will

“remain a joke.” In Tehran, he added, the NAM dinosaur just

“talked in its sleep” but did not accomplish much.

 

————————————-

Engage the NAM on More than just Iran

 

————————————-

 

9. (C/NF) Bourita chided the USG for “not having come to

Morocco sooner” regarding engagement with the NAM. He said

that the full final conference statement contains language

critical of the U.S. on several issues not related to Iran,

and that a more comprehensive approach should be undertaken.

At the same time, he made clear that he did not think the NAM

warranted a great deal of USG time and effort, except insofar

as to encourage centrist members to take a more active and

moderating role. As part of Morocco’s activities in this

regard, Bourita said that FM Fassi-Fihri delivered a

“strongly worded” letter from King Mohammed VI to Iranian

President Ahmedinejad on the need for religious, political

and military temperance in the volatile Gulf region. He

expressed hope for a change in the Movement’s tone and

direction when Egypt takes over the Chairmanship in 2009, and

said that Rabat intended to discuss some its concerns with

Cairo.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

10. (C/NF) Bourita’s happiness at having won symbolic

victories on Iran, Western Sahara and Zimbabwe was palpable.

Despite what he described as the NAM’s current

ineffectiveness, he appeared to view the body as a vehicle

through which Morocco could demonstrate its ability and

willingness to serve as an effective behind-the-scenes policy

shaper and moderate actor. His characterization of the NAM

as having been hijacked by radical actors is somewhat akin to

describing the Mafia as being infiltrated by criminals, but

he appears to be committed to moving the NAM towards a more

practical and relevant role. He shied away from

characterizing his positive experiences with the Algerian

delegation as a deliberately positive signal from Algiers,

but expressed hope for continued progress. Bourita provided

PolOff with copies of key NAM statements, which have been

scanned and emailed to NEA/MAG. End Comment.

 

 

*****************************************

Visit Embassy Rabat’s Classified Website;

http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/rabat

*****************************************

 

Riley

 

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