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Cablegate: Sag Eager to Develop Strategic Dialogue

VZCZCXRO8867
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHSA #2590/01 3511034
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171034Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0642
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCPDC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0350

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 002590

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/S, EEB/ESC, ISN
DOE FOR M.SCOTT, T.SPERL, G.PERSON, A.BIENAWSKI, L.PARKER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV ENRG KNNP ETRD SENV SF
SUBJECT: SAG EAGER TO DEVELOP STRATEGIC DIALOGUE

REF: PRETORIA 2245

1. (SBU) SUMMARY and Action Request: The SAG is eager to
develop a Strategic Dialogue led by the Secretary of State
and the Foreign Minister. The idea would be to use existing
and prospective working groups and the existing Annual
Bilateral Forum, which would produce a summary document to
inform the annual meeting of the Ministers. The Ministers
would in turn provide direction for the Strategic Dialogue
and the bilateral relationship. The next Annual Bilateral
Forum (ABF) is targeted for March 2010. Post recommends
consideration of an Oval Office visit when President Zuma
attends the Nuclear Security Summit April 12-13 in Washington
DC. Post seeks Department's view on whether there should be
a Memorandum of Understanding for the new Strategic Dialogue
(see paragraph 6). The SAG DIRCO USA Desk made a few
comments about Iran sanctions and Zimbabwe. End Summary and
Action Request.

--------------------------------------------- -------
New Strategic Dialogue Builds on Existing Structures
--------------------------------------------- -------

2. (SBU) Department of International Relations and
Cooperation (DIRCO) USA Director Fadl Nacerodien told DCM on
December 10 that his Minister was eager to move forward on
the Strategic Dialogue agreed to by the Ministers when they
met in August 2009 in Pretoria. Nacerodien said his Minister
would like the Ministers' engagement to be on an annual
basis. The DCM and Nacerodien agreed that the term
"Strategic Dialogue" would be appropriate. They emphasized
that the dialogue should be flexible and informal, in
contrast to the historic binational Gore-Mbeki Commission,
which was top-heavy and unsustainable. Nacerodien cautioned
against scheduling the high-level meeting on the margins of
the UNGA.

-----------------------------------
Build on the Annual Bilateral Forum
-----------------------------------

3. (SBU) Nacerodien liked the idea of using the existing
Annual Bilateral Forum structure as an opportunity for senior
officials to take note of all the bilateral activities and
issues, many under existing and prospective working groups.
He said the next ABF should be targeted for March 2010, but
said DIRCO could not fix a specific date until the Minister
approved the structure for the Strategic Dialogue. The
advantage of the ABF is that it has been used successfully in
the past. Because this meeting involves wide interagency
participation both on the South African and U.S. sides, it is
envisaged that it will always take place in South Africa.
Nacerodien and the DCM agreed that Ambassador Gips and the
DIRCO Deputy Director General of the Americas and Europe
would chair the ABF. The DCM said A/S Carson may try to be a
special guest at the first new ABF under the Strategic
Dialogue. Nacerodien recommended that the DIRCO USA Desk be
the main interlocutor for preparing and running the ABF, as
has been done in the past.

4. (SBU) Nacerodien noted that the last informal ABF in April
2009 (led by the Charge and the USA Director and without
representation of other Departments-agencies for the SAG) was
productive, but constituted "a long, grueling day". He
recommended that the next full-fledged, inter-Departmental
ABF should be scheduled for a day and a half. It would be
QABF should be scheduled for a day and a half. It would be
DIRCO's turn to host at their spanking new headquarters.
Nacerodien recommended that the USG and the SAG work out some
sort of media statement for the ABF, characterizing the
Strategic Dialogue and the ABF. There would need to be
coordination of brief fact sheets for each issue and each
working group, which would be appendices to the jointly
prepared summary document for the Ministers.

------------------------------------
Forming New Bilateral Working Groups
------------------------------------

5. (SBU) The DCM and Nacerodien discussed working groups,
noting that existing formal groups were the DEFCOM (a vestige
of the Gore-Mbeki Commission) and Health (PEPFAR structure).
The ABF provides an opportunity to include Defense, but then
there would be a layer of separation with the Ministers'

PRETORIA 00002590 002 OF 002


meeting to avoid any perception that the Secretary of State
had specific oversight for Defense. The DCM argued for an
inclusive approach for other informal working groups where
there was already bilateral dialogue as for nuclear and law
enforcement. An agriculture working group will be
constituted imminently with the signing of a long-awaited MOU
between the two Agriculture Ministries. A US-SA business
council - not run by governments but encouraged by them to
promote trade, investment, and a healthy business environment
- is prospective with the MOU signed this year between CCA
and Business Union SA (BUSA) at the last CCA in Washington.
Other potential working groups identified include:
energy-climate change, education, human rights, trilateral
assistance, maritime, and economic-trade-ICT. Both sides
agreed that we should prioritize and not set up too many new
working groups. Post shared a draft list of working groups
for discussion.

---------------------------------------
Is a Memorandum of Understanding Needed
to Establish the Process?
---------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Nacerodien asked whether a MOU would be necessary
for structuring the Strategic Dialogue. Both sides agreed to
research this with their respective legal offices. While
there would be a potential advantage in clarifying structure,
a requirement of an MOU could delay startup. Comment:
Embassy feels that if the Department decides that a legal
document is preferable, it would be important to structure
this in a way that would permit us to hold the ABF in March,
since that meeting was scheduled to take place this Fall, but
had to be postponed because the South Africans needed more
time to get ready for it. END COMMENT.

----------------------
Other Issues Discussed
----------------------

7. (SBU) Presidential Visit: Nacerodien noted that President
Zuma would likely attend President Obama's Nuclear Security
Summit April 12-13, 2010. He asked for a copy of the White
House invitation (request sent separately by Post to ISN by
e-mail). The DCM and Nacerodien agreed that this could be a
good opportunity for an Oval Office visit. Nacerodien
expressed a preference that the two
Presidents meet after the Nuclear Summit if possible.

8. (SBU) Iran and Zimbabwe: Nacerodien asked about new Iran
measures he understood to be under discussion in Congress
(request sent separately by Post to Department by e-mail).
He said the SAG and the USG shared the goal of not letting
Iran obtain illegal nuclear weapons, but the SAG supported
Iran being able to pursue peaceful uses of nuclear energy
allowed under the NPT. He agreed that the SAG should take a
harder stand on Iran. Nacerodien also commended what he
termed the USG's new constructive and supportive approach on
Zimbabwe. He claimed that before the USG criticized the SAG
more than Zimbabwe.

9. (SBU) COMMENT: There is a strong desire on the part of
the SAG to move forward on the Strategic Dialogue to advance
our bilateral relationship in a number of areas of mutual
interest. In Foreign Minister Mashabane's meeting with the
Ambassador on November 2 (reftel), she expressed a strong
desire to move forward on structuring the Strategic Dialogue
and the DIRCO USA Desk has been tasked to help achieve this
Qand the DIRCO USA Desk has been tasked to help achieve this
objective. END COMMENT.

GIPS

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