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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.

180503Z Jul 03

UNCLAS HARARE 001457

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. An editorial and an op-ed article carried in the July
13 edition of the pro-government weekly "The Sunday Mirror"
concentrate on the talks between President George W. Bush
and his South African counterpart, Thabo Mbeki, during
President Bush's visit to Africa. Excerpts follow:

2. Under headline "Time to set road map in motion" the
paper comments:

"U. S. President George W. Bush left Africa last
week after making significantly progressive
statements on the resolution of Zimbabwe's political
stalemate. His endorsement of the African
initiative on Zimbabwe was the final confirmation to
all those who expected and actually agitated for a
more muscular approach to the country's protracted
impasse that only Africans and Zimbabweans in
particular were better placed to sort out the
country's challenges. . .The country must now put
into motion its road map for a transition out of the
current impasse without getting obfuscated by
academic and irrelevant demands that do not serve
the interests of the nations. . . ."

3. Under headline "Zimbabwe: The messages from the
Mbeki/Bush meeting" the same newspaper carried the
following op-ed under its ghost column "The
Scrutator" on page 10:

". . .But, was there a `climb-down' on the part of
the U. S. A., as claimed in some official circles
here in Zimbabwe? No. There could have been no
`climb-down' if there had been no `climb-up' in the
first instance. For, the position of both the
U. S. A. and Britain on the question of Zimbabwe had
been stated quite clearly by the American Assistant
Secretary of State, William Kansteiner. . .following
the visit to Harare on 5 May, 2003, by the three
African Presidents, Mbeki, Obasanjo and Muluzi.
Both expressed confidence in this "African
initiative. . .' So, if there had been a
`climb-down,' it was in May, 2003, after which the
burden was firmly on Mbeki's shoulders. That Bush
would so unequivocally re-affirm that. . .is only a
pyrric (sic) victory for those in Zimbabwe who are
gloating over what they perceive as another defeat
for the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change (MDC);
in reality, it is a major challenge for Mbeki in
particular and a loud warning for Harare. . . ."

SULLIVAN

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