Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade criticised Britain for its handling of the Zimbabwe crisis saying it was Prime Minister Tony Blair’s failure to live up to the Lancaster House commitments to subsidise land reform that was the origin of the crisis.
A British embassy official Julia Edwards, however, took exception to this notion saying: “We signed on for land reform, not Mugabe giving land to his mates”.
Wade had announced plans to travel to Harare to try to mediate on the Zimbabwe crisis arguing that one person, South African President Thabo Mbeki, could not do it alone.
Edwards said the UK would not allow President Wade to negotiate between it and President Mugabe. Instead, efforts should be focused on getting Mugabe to stop repressing the opposition.
View+ing cable 07DAKAR2116, SENEGALESE PRESIDENT PLANS TO VISIT ZIMBABWE
PP RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDK #2116 3031322
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301322Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9460
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE PRIORITY 0001
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0326
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1084
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 2182
C O N F I D E N T I A L DAKAR 002116
STATE FOR AF/W, AF/S, AND AF/RSA
PARIS FOR POL ) D,ELIA
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/29/2017
SUBJECT: SENEGALESE PRESIDENT PLANS TO VISIT ZIMBABWE
REF: DAKAR 1988
Classified By: CHARGE D,AFFAIRES JAY SMITH FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).
¶1. (C) Summary: Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is still
planning to visit Zimbabwe and meet with President Robert
Mugabe in an effort to succeed where South African President
Thabo Mbeki has failed: relieving the suffering of the people
of Zimbabwe. To do so, according to President Wade, several
African presidents acting through the African Union need to
mediate between President Mugabe and UK Prime Minster Gordon
Brown. End summary.
¶2. (SBU) On October 18, MFA Director of International
Organizations Mame Baba Cisse informed Pol Counselor that
President Wade is still planning to travel to Harare to
discuss Zimbabwe,s political crisis with President Mugabe.
President ade originally announced his intention to travel
to Zimbawe during a press conference shortly after eturning
from the United States for the meeting f the UN General
Assembly (REFTEL). According t Cisse, the Government o
Zimbabwe welcomes Presdent Wade,s visit, but since there
was not enoughtime to prepare for it before the end of
Octoberthe presidential rendezvous will take place at the
end of November.
¶3. (C) Cisse reiterated wha President Wade said during his
pres conference; it is not possible for one country (i.e.
South Africa) or one president (i.e. South African President
Thabo Mbeki) to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe. He echoed
Wade,s sentiment, arguing that the President Mbeki,s
efforts heretofore had met with only failure. Instead of
relying on one head of state, several African presidents need
to work together through the African Union to relieve the
suffering of the people of Zimbabwe, he opined.
¶4. (C) When asked, Cisse said that President Wade did not
have any particular country or president in mind, saying that
all efforts to improve the situation would be welcome. Like
Wade, he criticized the United Kingdom for its handling of
the crisis, particularly Gordon Brown,s threat to boycott
the EU-AU Summit if President Mugabe participates. (Note:
During his press conference, President Wade said that former
Prime Minister Tony Blair,s failure to live up to the
Lancaster House commitments to subsidize land reform were the
origin of the crisis. End note.)
¶5. (C) On October 19, UK DCM Julia Edwards told Pol
Counselor that the United Kingdom welcomed efforts by other
African heads of state to assist in resolving the crisis,
although HMG took exception to the notion that the origin
stems from the UK,s failure to honor its commitments saying,
&We signed on for land reform, not Mugabe giving land to his
mates.8 Moreover, she said the UK would not allow President
Wade to negotiate between it and President Mugabe, as Wade
had suggested in the press conference. Instead, efforts
should be focused on getting Mugabe to stop repressing the
¶6. (C) Comment: Upon his return from the United States,
President Wade focused the majority of his comments during
his press conference on foreign affairs. Facing criticism
for alleged corruption and cronyism in his government, he
like many second-term presidents, is putting more energy into
foreign policy. Moreover, it is clear that Wade is at least
in part motivated by a desire to compete with and outdo
Mbeki, with whom he has clashed over the direction of the AU
and NEPAD. It is also equally clear that Wade and his team
in the MFA have only the most basic understanding of the
crisis in Zimbabwe and are ill-equipped to make any dramatic
progress during Wade,s upcoming visit. In the meeting with
Pol Counselor, Cisse noted that Senegal does not have an
embassy in Harare and requested any information or analysis
of the current state-of-play in Zimbabwe that the United
States might be able to provide. End comment.