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Cablegate: U.S. Comments About Zimbabwe's Food Crisis

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 002414

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/PD, AF/S, AF/S, AF/RA, AF/PDPA
NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAO ZI
SUBJECT: U.S. COMMENTS ABOUT ZIMBABWE'S FOOD CRISIS
MAKE FRONT PAGES


1. Drawing on the Reuters report of Deputy Assistant
Secretary Bellamy's November 2 interview with the
Washington Times, both the government-owned Herald and
independent Daily News lead with reporting on U.S.
concern about Zimbabwe's food crisis. The Herald's
page-one, below-the-fold headline is "Anti-Zim Drive:
U.S. Plans to Invade Harare." The Daily News page-
one, above-the-fold headline is "U.S. Threatens
Zimbabwe: Warns of Intervention to Ensure Food Reaches
Needy Regardless of Political Affiliation." Both
stories accurately quote Reuters and Washington Times
reports, but the Herald provides page-two space for
reactions from Government of Zimbabwe officials and
supporters. The reactions are predictably critical.
Copies of both stories have been faxed to AF/S and
AF/PD.

2. The Herald also dedicates its November 6
editorial to the issue. Under the title "U.S. threats
an insult to Africans" editorial criticizes what it
sees as U.S. "deceit." Excerpts:

"The threats by the American Government to
openly undermine Zimbabwe's sovereignty should
not be taken lightly, as it is a direct
challenge to the universal norms of freedom that
are not only cherished by Zimbabweans but by the
entire free world. Coming barely a few months
after the launch of the African Union and the
last SADC summit, the American utterance, that
Africans are unworthy to stand as equals among
the nations of the world, is an insult to the
peoples of the continent as a whole. . ."

". . .The cynical justification for the
threatened intervention is three tons of food
aid that was reportedly confiscated from WFP by
alleged ZANU PF youths and distributed in an
unfair manner, although it is not stated whether
those who got it were supporters of the party or
not. The three tons of maize in question can
hardly feed one village for a day but for the
Americans, it is good enough evidence to
threaten the sovereignty of an independent
country. . ."

". . .To suggest that the U.S. will intervene in
Zimbabwe in a manner that will undermine the
country's sovereignty in order to ensure that
food relief gets to the needy, irrespective of
political affiliation is the height of deceit.
If the Americans are that worried about the
plight of hungry Zimbabweans, they are most
welcome to pour in all the required food aid and
distribute it themselves as long as it meets the
specifications and requirements set by the
government. Unlike in Afghanistan where Yankee
military planes were dropping bombs and bags of
food aid simultaneously, here, they do not have
to stretch themselves that far, as they will be
most welcome to come in and do the distribution
themselves while the government watches to
ensure that food aid is not politicized."

WHITEHEAD

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