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Cablegate: Ambassador Called to Mfa Over New Sanctions

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

UNCLAS HARARE 000517

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/S
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER

E. O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR CALLED TO MFA OVER NEW SANCTIONS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET POSTING.

1. (SBU) Ambassador Sullivan was called to a meeting on
March 11 by Ambassador Joey Bimha, Divisional Head - Europe
and America, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Although
Ambassador Bimha would not disclose the purpose of the
meeting in advance, after a few courtesies he immediately
asked for an explanation of the Executive Order of March 7
targeting financial assets of President Mugabe and 76 other
GOZ officials. Ambassador Sullivan explained the Executive
Order, restated the prevailing American concern about
continued violations of human and civil rights, and
delivered a copy of the text.

2. (SBU) Ambassador Bimha stated that he and his ministry
were open to dialogue and expressed the hope that dialogue
would somehow lead to an end to the current political
impasse. However, when discussing the possibility of
dialogue with the opposition party Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), he blamed the opposition party for the
breakdown in inter-party dialogue. He remained adamant that
no dialogue was possible as long as the MDC continued to
pursue its court challenge of the 2002 presidential
elections.

3. (SBU) Comment. The most significant aspect of this
conversation was Ambassador Bimha's expressions of surprise
that economic sanctions had finally been imposed. Despite a
year's worth of USG and international censure of Zimbabwe's
human rights violations, civil rights violations,
humanitarian catastrophe, economic implosion, political
crisis, and despite frequent USG warnings of impending
financial sanctions, the diplomat feigned astonishment that
the USG's clearly stated intentions had finally matured into
explicit action. This also fits with the slowness of GOZ
reaction to USG financial sanctions. Except for an
anonymous GOZ official's claim to Reuters International that
the sanctions were a white racist reaction to land
redistribution, the US financial sanctions went unreported
and without comment in the state media until the night of
Tuesday, March 11. The explanations given that US sanctions
were somehow a favor to the British and a part of Iraq
policy were bizarre. How to explain GOZ wrong-footedness?
Perhaps they have been reading too much of their own
propaganda that the French invitation to Mugabe and South
African/Nigerian advocacy for ending Commonwealth sanctions
were great Zimbabwean triumphs signaling the accommodation
of the world to Zimbabwean reality. Oh well -- back to the
drawing board. End comment.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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