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Cablegate: Mozambique-Unhcr Contingency Plan for Zimbabwe

VZCZCXRO9945
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #0373 1191547
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281547Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8823
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0152

UNCLAS MAPUTO 000373

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM SMIG PREF MZ ZM
SUBJECT: MOZAMBIQUE-UNHCR CONTINGENCY PLAN FOR ZIMBABWE

REF: 07 MAPUTO 1239

1. (U) Poloff met on 4/21 with head of the UNHCR mission in
Mozambique, Victoria Akyeampong to discuss UNHCR initiatives
concerning Zimbabwe since the March 29 elections. Akyeampong
noted that a UNHCR team from Geneva had recently visited
Mozambique to work with the GRM on a contingency plan for a
substantial increase in the number of Zimbabweans entering
Mozambique. The UNHCR is preparing to receive an estimated
80,000 Zimbabweans in Mozambique and is working closely with
the GRM on the logistical groundwork, which includes daily
inter-ministerial meetings. Akyeampong does not personally
believe that Zimbabweans will enter Mozambique seeking asylum
"unless intimidation, beatings, and killings begin in
earnest," but suggested that the contingency plan would still
be useful in the future "when Mugabe eventually leaves power."

2. (U) The UNHCR-GRM contingency plan involves one major camp
to be established in Manica Province, with an estimated
capacity for 50,000 refugees. In addition, two temporary
shelters with a capacity for 10,000 people each will be
established in Tete and Gaza Provinces. The camp and
temporary shelters share borders with Zimbabwe's Manicaland,
Mashonaland Central, and Masvingo Provinces respectively.
Akyeampong credited the new centralization of UN agencies in
Mozambique for making the contingency plan possible. Under
the plan, each UN agency in-country will be responsible for
specific functions, such as food distribution, sanitation,
transportation, etc. while ultimately reporting to UNHCR. A
final component of the contingency plan involves the creation
of a separate camp for returned Mozambicans living in
Zimbabwe.

3. (SBU) COMMENT: GRM cooperation with the UNHCR represents a
significant shift in thinking and initiative compared with
before the elections. The GRM traditionally had maintained
that cross border movement by Zimbabweans into Mozambique
represented the natural movement of people from one SADC
country to another (reftel). It appears clear that
Zimbabwe's prolonged failure to end the election stalemate
has forced the GRM to take a more pronounced role in
contingency preparations. The UNHCR representative's praise
of the GRM's recent commitment is a positive step and further
evidence that the GRM recognizes that the situation next door
could have a significant refugee impact in Mozambique.

Chapman

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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