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Cablegate: Media Report President Bush's Trip to Africa;

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

180840Z Jul 03

UNCLAS HARARE 001462

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 REPORT PRESIDENT BUSH'S TRIP TO AFRICA;
HARARE


According to press reports, South African President Thabo
Mbeki has distanced himself from news stories alleging that
he had told President George W. Bush - during their meeting
in Pretoria - that Robert Mugabe would step down in
December. Mbeki's denial has made headlines in the local
press. The July 18 edition of the government-controlled
daily "The Herald" published a wire article by Agence
France Presse as its lead story, under headline "Mbeki
denies report: `There was no discussion at all about
anybody stepping down.'" The independent daily "The Daily
News" (07/18) relegated the same story to page 3. Reacting
to reports in Britain's Independent newspaper that he
(President Mbeki) and President Bush had discussed Mugabe's
exit during President Bush's whistle-stop visit of Africa
last week, SAPA news agency quotes, President Mbeki as
having told reporters at a briefing in Pretoria: "There is
no such thing. I don't know where that comes
from. . .There was no discussion at all about anybody
stepping down." A weekend report in Britain's Independent
newspaper, by Zimbabwean journalist Basildon Peta, also
said Mugabe's stepping down as leader of ZANU PF could pave
the way for "his exit and fresh elections in 2004."

SULLIVAN

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