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Cablegate: Zimbabwe Agreement: Divided Unsc Reaction

VZCZCXRO8809
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUCNDT #0858 2662317
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 222317Z SEP 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4987
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000858

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM UNSC ZI
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE AGREEMENT: DIVIDED UNSC REACTION

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a September 19 briefing to the Security
Council, A/SYG Menkerios called the Zimbabwe power-sharing
agreement a "delicate compromise." He hoped that an ongoing
dispute about division of portfolios between the Mugabe and
Tsvangirai camps would prove a short-lived "snag." He
reiterated the need for Zimbabwean authorities to allow
unfettered access to humanitarian assistance, warned of the
dire need for food aid, and called on donors to assist.
Council members expressed support for the agreement. Several
members (UK, U.S., France) called for rapid implementation of
the agreement and lifting of remaining restrictions on
humanitarian operations. Other members (Russia, South
Africa) urged patience from the international community on
the agreement's implementation. END SUMMARY.

MENKERIOS DESCRIBES AGREEMENT AS "DELICATE"
-------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) In the first Security Council session on Zimbabwe
since the September 15 signing of the Zimbabwe power-sharing
agreement, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political
Affairs Haile Menkerios reviewed the Zimbabwe agreement,
describing it as "a delicate compromise," in which ZANU will
receive 15 seats, the MDC-Tsvangirai 13 seats and the
MDC-Mutumbara 3 seats. He stated that ministerial portfolio
division remained "a snag" but believed the parties would
resolve it soon. He reiterated the Secretary-General's
message urging Zimbabwean authorities to facilitate
unhindered access to humanitarian assistance. He called on
donors to provide food aid, stating that 3.8 million
Zimbabweans will need food between October and December, and
5.1 million between January and March. "If properly
implemented," he said, the agreement could change the lives
of Zimbabweans. He concluded by urging the parties to
continue to consult.

SOME UNSC MEMBERS EXPRESS CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM
-------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Many UNSC members, including the U.S., UK, Belgium,
and France, emphasized the new partners' responsibility to
implement the agreement, and called on authorities to lift
restrictions on humanitarian operations. Members raised
other issues, including Belgium's mention of the recent
arrest of a trade unionist. China (also stating that
implementation will be important) added that Zimbabweans will
be disappointed if the new government does not succeed.
Italy said the agreement "may not represent the end of the
crisis." Burkina Faso said they hope Zimbabwe overcomes the
difficulty in assigning ministerial posts.

OTHER MEMBERS CALL FOR PATIENCE WITH IMPLEMENTATION
--------------------------------------------- ------

4. (SBU) Other UNSC members, including Russia and South
Africa, referred to the agreement as a breakthrough and urged
members to be patient with implementation. Russia deemed the
agreement a success "of negotiation over use of force."
South Africa stated that "cabinets are not formed overnight"
and added that Kenya took "several weeks" to form a cabinet.
While South Africa agreed with other UNSC members that the
humanitarian situation is "very bad," they added that both
negotiating parties agreed to address it immediately.
Khalilzad

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