Cablegate: Cg Discusses Foreign Affairs with Sag Mp Skosana

DE RUEHTN #0227 3191403
P 141403Z NOV 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) On November 12, 2008 the CG, PolOff and PolAsst met with
Moleeane Skosana, a member of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), and
one of three House Chairpersons of the National Assembly as well as
a member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign
Affairs. Mr. Skosana has had a long parliamentary career and has
been a member of parliament since 1994. In 1998 he was appointed
Minister of Correctional Services by President Mandela and continued
to serve in President Mbeki's Cabinet until 2004. In 2007, Skosana
was appointed one of three House Chairpersons of the National
Assembly supporting the Speaker of Parliament.

2. (SBU) As a member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Foreign Affairs, Skosana discussed some of the topics dealt with by
the Committee. Although Zimbabwe is a key issue that is discussed
within individual political parties, Skosana said it is not widely
discussed within the national government. He indicated that the SAG
is primarily concerned with upholding the international principles
of non-interference and sovereignty. He feels that one of the
reasons the SAG is soft on Zimbabwe is because it fears any
intervention will be opening the door for other African nations to
act in a similar manner against South Africa in the future should
the need arise. He continued by saying the only solution to the
Zimbabwe crises is to involve civil society in the matter.

3. (SBU) Mr. Skosana was also critical of the Southern African
Development Communities (SADC) appointment of Thabo Mbeki as sole
mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis. He felt mediation efforts should
have been undertaken by all SADC countries with a joint plan to deal
with Zimbabwe. He also stated that Mbeki was never going to be
successful in resolving the Zimbabwe crisis since Mugabe, the elder
statesman, views Mbeki as his junior and would, therefore, not take
instructions from him. One of the most important matters confronting
SADC is devising an acceptable exit strategy for Robert Mugabe and
his cabinet, but Skosana also felt that the only possible solution
for Zimbabwe is for the U.S. to become involved in the matter and
hopes that President-elect Obama will intervene in Zimbabwe. Mr.
Skosana also indicated that the SAG will not give aid to Zimbabwe
without stringent conditions being met.

4. (SBU) Skosana indicated that South Africa was working closely
with SADC to deploy more troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He said the SAG feels a particular responsibility towards the DRC as
it initially brokered the peace deal in the region. Skosana also
mentioned that South Africa was relying on the African Union and the
United Nations to help resolve the situation in Sudan.

5. (SBU) When questioned about U.S.-SA relations, Skosana said he
feels relations with the U.S. will strengthen following the election
of President-elect Obama. He found it encouraging that Senator Obama
expressed a desire to engage leaders in Cuba, other Latin American
countries and the Middle East. Skosana said in the past SA-U.S.
relations on an international political level were shaped more by
the U.S. attitude to and treatment of other countries especially the
Middle East, than by its treatment of SA. The Portfolio Committee
on Foreign Affairs feels that the Bush Administration has done well
with regards to aid for Africa, in fact far better than the Clinton
Administration, but still feels that U.S. relations with the rest of
the world is the most important factor in furthering SA-U.S.
relations. Skosana hopes that President-elect Obama will have a
Qrelations. Skosana hopes that President-elect Obama will have a
greater willingness to listen to the opinions of and engage with
other nations on a more open level.

6. (SBU) Skosana said his party, the IFP, did not foresee any major
loss in membership as a result of the new political party, which has
broken away from the ruling ANC party. IFP members are mostly Zulu
and based in the Kwa-Zulu/Natal province, a traditional Inkhata
stronghold, and would, in all likelihood, remain that way. He said
the IFP would not form any coalition before the elections, but did
not rule out the possibility of a coalition with the new party after
the election.

© Scoop Media

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