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Cablegate: Un Coordination Meeting with Goz And

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

170948Z Sep 03

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001880

SIPDIS

AID FOR DCHA/FFP LANDIS, CRUMBLY, MUTAMBA, PETERSEN
DCHA/OFDA FOR PRATT, BARTON, MENGHETTI, BORNS
HALMRAST-SANCHEZ, MCCONNELL
AFR/SA FOR FLEURET, COPSON, BAKER, MACNAIRN
STATE/AF FOR RAYNOR, DELISI
PRETORIA FOR DIJKERMAN, HELM, DISKIN, HALE
NAIROBI FOR DEPREZ, RILEY
LILONGWE FOR RUBEY, SINK
LUSAKA FOR GUNTHER, NIELSON
MAPUTO FOR POLAND, BLISS
MASERU FOR AMB LOFTIS
MBABANE FOR KENNA
GABORONE FOR THOMAS, MULLINS AND DORMAN
ROME FOR FODAG FOR LAVELLE, DAVIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL US ZI
SUBJECT: UN Coordination Meeting with GOZ and
Donors


1. Summary. On September 15th, the UN held its first
coordination meeting on the humanitarian crisis, after a
hiatus of many months, with the Government of Zimbabwe
(GOZ) and donors. Overall, despite the GOZ's attempt to
try and reassure the donors and encourage them to
respond favorably to the humanitarian appeal, the
meeting was not useful in addressing the concerns donors
have raised regarding the apparent attempts by the GOZ
to exert greater control over the international food
relief process. End Summary.

2. On September 15th, UN Resident Representative,
Victor Angelo, called the first coordination meeting on
the humanitarian crisis, after a hiatus of many months.
The meeting was held at the request of the GOZ. In
attendance were more than 50 persons, including
representatives of the GOZ, donor countries, UN agencies
and a select group of NGOs. July Moyo, the Minister of
Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare, headed the GOZ
delegation. After introductory remarks by Victor Angelo
noting that both the GOZ appeal and the UN's
Consolidated Appeal have been formally issued and
stressing the need to discuss the different sectors
covered in the appeal, Angelo turned the floor over to
Minister Moyo.

3. Moyo began by summarizing the GOZ's appeal, which
covers food, non-food (health, HIV/AIDS) and
agricultural recovery assistance. Moyo emphasized that
the lessons learned from last year highlighted the need
for improved coordination among the GOZ, the UN
agencies, donors and NGOs in responding to the
humanitarian crisis. Moyo acknowledged that donors had
expressed concerns over the GOZ's recently issued
"Policy on Operations of Non-Governmental Organisations
in Humanitarian and Development Assistance in Zimbabwe."
He stated that the policy was intended to be a statement
of lessons learned and not designed to change the
existing procedures and practices, but expressed his
willingness to respond to questions and provide further
explanations. Moyo also stated that the GOZ was willing
to continue these coordination meetings as frequently as
every two weeks, if acceptable to the UN and donors, in
order to further coordination.

4. When the floor was opened for questioning,
Ambassador Sullivan began by expressing the broad donor
concern that the GOZ's policy was being taken by
officials at local levels as a significant change from
the beneficiary selection and food distribution
procedures that had worked effectively over the past
year. Sullivan stressed the need for the GOZ to
communicate publicly and in writing to all levels of
government that the past procedures would continue
unaffected and the role of NGOs in the beneficiary
selection and food distribution process would remain
unchanged. The Canadian Charge asked about the status
of the MOU being negotiated between the GOZ and WFP, and
specifically inquired whether the MOU or the GOZ's
policy would take precedence in the event of a conflict.
The Dutch Charge asked about the rationale behind the
GOZ's closure of the field offices of the UN's Relief
and Recovery Unit (RRU), and when such offices might be
reopened.

5. In addressing these inquiries, Minister Moyo did not
specifically respond to the comment about the need for a
public written statement from the GOZ. Rather, Moyo
only provided general assurances to the assembled donors
that nothing in the GOZ's documents suggests that the
role of NGOs would be different than last year. Moyo
promised that if any problems or misinterpretations
arise, the GOZ would deal with them on the ground
swiftly. Moyo also stated that he will personally be
travelling around the country, primarily to discuss the
GOZ's agricultural input scheme, but he will "clarify"
the policy to local structures. Regarding the question
about precedence between the WFP MOU and the GOZ's
policy, Moyo effectively avoided the issue, explaining
in general terms that many things take precedence over
policy in light of the legal framework the GOZ operates
under. Concering the RRU offices, once again, Moyo
declined to address the specific issue. He responded
that the issue of monitoring food distribution by the
RRU had been raised by the UN Special Envoy, James
Morris, with President Mugabe and, therefore, is a
matter of foreign affairs which should properly be
addressed to the Foreign Ministry.

6. Comment. The NGO policy was clearly another attempt
by a beleagured government to exert increased control
over international humanitarian assistance resources.
The donor response was swift and emphatic, with WFP
reporting no new aid pledges since August 14th, the date
the policy was launched. The government's request for
this meeting suggests its concern over the negative
impact on the international response to its aid appeal.
Despite Minister Moyo's best effort to assuage donor
concerns, however, his failure to adequately address the
major issues raised at the meeting was largely self-
defeating, leaving continuing unease within the donor
community. Because donors have maintained a united
stance opposing the GOZ's attempt to usurp control over
food aid resources, distributions on the ground have
been implemented with virtually no change. Nonetheless,
the GOZ is clearly resisting pressure to publicly
retract its policy statement. Post will continue to
monitor events closely and report on any incidents that
might impact on our on-going food relief program in
Zimbabwe. Until the issues in country are finally
resolved, it is important for USAID/FFP to refrain from
making any new pledges of food assistance without prior
concurrence from post. Sullivan

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