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Cablegate: Harare Eac Meets to Review Travel and Security

VZCZCXRO1586
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0457 1440734
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230734Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2930
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

UNCLAS HARARE 000457

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR DS/IP/AF, DS/IP/ITA
AF/S
S/CT
CA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC AMGT CASC PREL PHUM ZI
SUBJECT: HARARE EAC MEETS TO REVIEW TRAVEL AND SECURITY
POSTURES

REF: A. HARARE 414

B. HARARE 389
C. HARARE 344
D. HARARE 331

1. (SBU) Embassy Harare's EAC met on May 22 to review the
political situation, including the confirmation of the
announcement of the election runoff date of June 27, the
current Travel Alert, and the Mission's security posture.
The Ambassador chaired the meeting. In attendance were
representatives from RSO, POL/ECON, CONS, USAID, MGT, R/POL,
CDC, GSO, IMO, CLO, and MSG.

2. (SBU) The Ambassador confirmed the runoff election date
of June 27 and explained that politically motivated violence
continues to escalate, especially in the rural areas, and the
Embassy continues to receive shocking reports of targeted
violence directed against opposition members and suspected
opposition supporters. Pol/Econ and R/POL concurred that
these reports of violence in the rural areas continue
unabated. It was also noted that many affected by the
violence and intimidation have begun to move to the city for
treatment and protection and have been gathering in
make-shift camps near residential areas.

3. (SBU) EAC members agreed that Embassy business has
remained largely unaffected by the current political
situation, especially in and around Harare.

4. (SBU) RSO commented that there are no reports of Americans
being specifically targeted for crime or harassment, however
overall crime in Harare appears to be on the increase, with
smash-and-grab attacks and attempted burglary events
continuing to happen with regularity. Two issues of concern
for the upcoming weekend were discussed, including a planned
march by youth party members and students in Harare and a
funeral of a high-profile MDC activist in the Harare Mabvuku
township. RSO will issue a Security Notice prior to the
weekend and CONOFF will issue a Warden Message if warranted.

5. (SBU) CONOFF presented the current Travel Alert for EAC
review, suggesting stronger language, as the date approaches
for the runoff election, regarding travel and security
posture in the rural areas immediately before and after the
runoff. EAC agreed on the new language and CONOFF will
submit the revised Travel Alert to CA for approval and
issuance.

6. (SBU) EAC members agreed that the Mission's current
security posture, which includes continued case-by-case
review of in-country travel requests, remains appropriate.
Country clearance requests will also be reviewed, and
non-essential travel will be discouraged during the week
before the June 27 election until the results are announced.

McGee

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