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Cablegate: Zanzibar: First Karume/Seif Meeting Since 2005

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R 060754Z NOV 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9000
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 3003
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3540
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UNCLAS DAR ES SALAAM 000765

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E JTREADWELL, INR FEHRENREICH, NSC FOR MGAVIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PHUM TZ
SUBJECT: ZANZIBAR: FIRST KARUME/SEIF MEETING SINCE 2005

REF: A: DAR ES SALAAM 756 AND PRIOR

1. (U) Zanzibar President Amani Karume met with opposition CUF
leader Seif Sharif Hamad at Zanzibar's State House November 5, their
first private meeting since the 2005 elections. Zanzibar State
House issued a statement that "the meeting...focused on need to
maintain peace and harmony as well as understanding and cooperation
among all Zanzibaris" and that the two leaders "agreed to bury their
differences." Full text follows at para 6.

2. (SBU) Ismail Jussa, CUF's Director of International Relations,
told Polchief the meeting was "positive" and the first step in what
would need to be a continuous process to find common ground towards
power sharing. Jussa, who said he was present for only part of a
long meeting, said the leaders discussed the circumstances that had
led to the current impasse between the parties, for example touching
on CCM's proposal of a referendum that scuttled the 2008 "Muafaka"
talks. Jussa added that the leaders "did not want to fall into old
arguments" and also avoided discussion of CUF's complaints about the
registration process and Zanzibar IDs.

3. (SBU) Jussa had no concrete information about next steps - both
sides would now consult. He said neither party wanted discussions
in the framework of "Muafaka," which had a strongly negative public
image. He added that the meeting alone would not change CUF's
attitude towards the registration process, which still needed
fixing.

4. (SBU) Jussa said he had visited Karume about two months
previously and suggested the importance of a face-to-face meeting.
He said Karume took the message seriously but moved deliberately
before issuing the invitation to Seif the week prior.

5. (SBU) Comment: The meeting between Karume and Seif, while
unexpected, is evidence of growing pressures in both parties to find
accommodation (see ref). Statements made to the CDA by key State
House contacts in recent weeks indicated a renewed push for Zanzibar
reconciliation by Union President Kikwete. If something concrete
comes of this CCM/CUF Zanzibar meeting, congratulations will be in
order for President Kikwete as well as for the two Zanzibari
principals. Over the past two years we have publicly urged CCM and
CUF to work towards arrangements that would lead to fair elections
and genuine reconciliation. We shall continue to do so, weighing in
with our contacts on both sides of the Zanzibari divide to strongly
encourage a resolution. End Comment.

6. (U) Text of Press Statement:

Today President of Zanzibar Amani Abeid Karume met and held talks
with CUF Secretary General Seif Sharif Hamad at State House,
Zanzibar.

They discussed several issues, including the need to maintain peace
and harmony as well as understanding and cooperation among all
Zanzibaris.

The two leaders have agreed to bury their differences that cause
division among the people of Zanzibar and have called on political
leaders of all parties and the citizenry to cooperate in building
Zanzibar without considering their political affiliations.

They both agreed that if the people of Zanzibar cooperate in
building their country, Zanzibar will be more developed.

In their discussion, the leaders touched on the importance of
continued talks between them and their parties. (END TEXT.)

ANDRE

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