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Cablegate: Media Reaction President Bush's Visit to Africa;

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

UNCLAS HARARE 001422

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/PDPA FOR DALTON, MITCHELL AND SIMS
NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAO KMDR ZI
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION PRESIDENT BUSH'S VISIT TO AFRICA;
HARARE

1. Under headline "Bush visit sees welcome consensus on
Zim" the independent weekly "The Zimbabwe
Independent" dedicated its July 11 editorial to
hailing President Bush's trip to Africa, saying: "By
reaching out to Africa. . .Bush has indicated that
post-Iraq America may be turning a new leaf."
Excerpts:

2. "President George W. Bush leaves Africa this weekend
hopefully better informed about the myriad problems
the continent faces. He cannot be accused of
lacking enthusiasm. He has committed his government
to billions of U. S. dollars in aid and trade that
far exceeds anything the Clinton administration
attempted. And as well as promoting a now-familiar
agenda on governance, he listened to what other
leaders had to say. In particular he built on ties
already forged at past meetings with South African
President Thabo Mbeki. Of interest to us was of
course their talks on Zimbabwe. . .While Mbeki
appears to have given Bush the same questionable
assurances on Zimbabwe that he has been giving other
heads of government. . .there does appear to be an
identity of views on the need to make progress in
resolving the spiraling crisis here that has
consequences for the region and NEPAD. . .But for
things to give, Mbeki will have to move beyond the
facile argument that `the principal responsibility
for the resolution of this problem rests with the
people of Zimbabwe.' If the people of Zimbabwe lie
bound and gagged, how then are they supposed to free
themselves? If Bush missed the opportunity to ask
that question. . .he will have missed a gaping hole
in Mbeki's rhetoric armor. . .We trust Bush is not
intent upon ignoring these problems in the interests
of diplomacy. . .Bush has faced considerable
hostility from civil society during his visit to
South Africa. His record on the environment,
including abandonment of the Kyoto consensus,
breaches of long-held liberties in the interment of
individuals suspected of links to Al-Qaeda, the
promotion of security legislation that infringes on
basic freedoms and encourages other states to do the
same, and the frontal assault on the post-1945
international dispensation which the end of
multilateralism portends, have all combined to
create the impression of a brash gun slinging regime
in Washington that disregards the concerns of
friends and foes alike. But bullheaded diplomacy
and confrontation with critics do not. . .provide a
basis for sound relations with the international
community. By reaching out to Africa, addressing
its concerns and doing some uncustomary listening,
Bush has indicated that post-Iraq America may be
turning a new leaf; that there is more to U. S.
power than twisting arms. . . . "

SULLIVAN

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