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Cablegate: Lesotho: Agoa Forum, Iran Package, Biotechnology, and Food

VZCZCXRO4080
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHRN
DE RUEHMR #0180 1721108
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201108Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MASERU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3732
INFO RUCNSAD/SADC COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0096
RUEHMR/AMEMBASSY MASERU 4151

UNCLAS MASERU 000180

SIPDIS

KAY), AF/EPS (JANET POTASH), EEB/TTP/ABY (AMY WINTON), EEB/TTP
(MIKAEL LURIE), EEB/IFD/ODF (MARGO SIEMER)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KNNP MNUC PARM EAID ETRD TBIO ECON EAGR IR LT
SUBJECT: LESOTHO: AGOA FORUM, IRAN PACKAGE, BIOTECHNOLOGY, AND FOOD
EXPORTS RESTRICTIONS

REF: A) STATE 61414; B) STATE 64530; C) STATE 53346; AND D) STATE 53353

1. SUMMARY: On June 20, Poloff delivered reftel demarches to
Mr. P. P. Makosholo, Europe and Americas Desk Director at
Lesotho's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, learning that: a) while
the GOL has received AGOA forum invitations (ref a), their
delegation has not been finalized; b) Lesotho's MFA appreciates
continued updates regarding ongoing negotiations with Iran (ref
B); c) Lesotho still has no official policy on agricultural
biotechnology (ref C), but has allowed GMOs to be imported in
the past; and d) Lesotho currently has no food staple export
restrictions (ref D). END SUMMARY.

-------------------------------------
AGOA Forum Invitations Delivered,
Private Sector Representatives Likely
-------------------------------------

2. As per ref A, post distributed invitations to the July AGOA
Forum in Washington to Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohlabi
Tsekoa, Minister of Finance and Development Planning Timothy
Thahane, and Minster of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and
Marketing Popane Lebesa under the cover of dipnote on June 12.
While Lesotho has not officially responded with the list of
their delegation, post has learned that the Prime Minister's
Office would like to include representatives of Lesotho's
fledging aloe industry in its official delegation.

----------------------------
Iran P5+1 Incentives Package
----------------------------

3. On June 20, Poloff delivered ref B talking points and
associated information on the updated P5+1 package for Iran to
Mr. P. P. Makosholo, Europe and Americas Desk Director at
Lesotho's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Makosholo thanked
Poloff for the information, noting that the MFA appreciated the
continuing flow of information regarding negotiations with Iran.

----------------------------
No Position on Biotechnology
----------------------------

4. After Poloff delivered ref C points and aide memoire on the
use of agricultural biotechnology as a tool to fight hunger, Mr.
Makosholo commented that the MFA's lack of capacity on
scientific issues has kept it from formulating an official
policy on genetically modified crops. He noted that Lesotho has
accepted food aid consisting of genetically modified crops in
the past without any concerns expressed by Lesotho's government
or citizenry.

--------------------------------------
No Food Export Restrictions in Lesotho
--------------------------------------

5. Per ref D, post corresponded with the Lesotho Revenue
Authority, the Ministry of Trade, and the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and confirmed that Lesotho has no existing food staple
export restrictions.

------------------
Open to Influence?
------------------

6. COMMENT: While the GOL has been slow to comment on the
lineup of its AGOA delegation, Lesotho's private sector,
encouraged by recent post export diversification outreach
activities, has already announced its intention to send three
representatives. Lesotho's lack of a clear position on
agricultural biotechnology could leave the nation open to
influence, and post would eagerly pass on any additional
information on the issue to relevant local parties. END COMMENT.

MURPHY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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