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Cablegate: Namibia: Demarche On Zimbabwe Talks

VZCZCXRO8770
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHWD #0229 2111710
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291710Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9994
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0132
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0212

UNCLAS WINDHOEK 000229

STATE FOR AF/S (ELIZABETH PELLETREAU AND GREG GARLAND)

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL SADC ZI

SUBJECT: NAMIBIA: DEMARCHE ON ZIMBABWE TALKS

REF: STATE 079617

THIS CABLE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT INTENDED FOR INTERNET
DISTRIBUTION. PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY.

1. (U) Acting DCM presented reftel points to MFA Permanent Secretary
Veiccoh Nghiwete on Tuesday, July 29. The meeting was cordial and
Nghiwete made clear that the GRN hopes the negotiations in Zimbabwe
will result in a unity government. Nonetheless, he stressed that
the GRN sees sanctions on Zimbabwean officials as counterproductive.


2. (U) Permanent Secretary Nghiwete thanked the Acting DCM for
informing him of the U.S. position. He said the Namibian government
adheres to the SADC and AU view that the participants in the
negotiations must engage to find a solution that is amenable to all
parties. He went on to say that the MDC did not win the 51%
necessary to be declared the winner outright in the March 29th vote.
He argued that one cannot throw the results of the second election
out and simply declare Tsvangirai the president. He asked what law
would that be: the "law of the jungle?" The Acting DCM replied
that the March vote was a clear indication of the Zimbabwean
people's desire for change in their country. However, the run-off,
having been marred by violence, could not be an accurate measure of
the people's view. Now that the talks are taking place, the U.S.
hopes they will result in a transitional government that reflects
the will of the people and focuses on reform.

3. (U) Nghiwete went on to say that the world community should give
the negotiations in Zimbabwe a chance because, "We don't want to see
another Kenya." He argued the West should give the parties to the
negotiations breathing room and that sanctions could undermine their
progress. He urged the U.S. to evaluate the history of its
sanctions against Zimbabwe and whether they have resulted in any
improvements for the people of that country. The Acting DCM replied
that the U.S. is very concerned with the plight of the Zimbabwean
people and therefore has continued to provide humanitarian aid and
has maintained its trade relationship with the country. (Note: The
PS seemed genuinely surprised that the United States still had trade
ties to Zimbabwe. The Acting DCM explained that Zimbabwe had held a
trade surplus until recently. End Note.) Nonetheless, we judge it
is important to deny rewards to those individuals who commit
atrocities or undermine democracy there. He reminded the PS that
the Zimbabwe government is not allowing NGOs to distribute food to
the people. The PS agreed that it has become a "very ugly
situation," and hoped the negotiations would produce an immediate
solution.

4. (U) The PS urged the U.S. to press Tsvangirai to come to an
agreement with ZANU-PF. He said that while Namibia is a close
friend to Zimbabwe, the GRN has limited influence over the
situation. He assessed that neither the MDC nor ZANU-PF could
control the government in Zimbabwe, and a unity government had
become necessary. He said the people of Zimbabwe do not
necessarily think a Tsvangirai-led government is the best outcome,
and therefore an inclusive solution would be the ideal. He went on
to say it is important to continue encouraging the two sides to talk
and he hopes the U.S. side will do the same. He hoped that the
current impasse between ZANU-PF and the MDC that has been reported
in the press is only an indication of tough negotiating tactics and
that the parties will rise above their conflicts in coming days. He
said he understood that Tsvangirai is negotiating from a position of
power, but that Mugabe must secure ZANU-PF's position in a future
government.

Mathieu

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