Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi two years ago that the UK would not support the Zimbabwean government until President Robert Mugabe was gone, raising questions as to what the European Union will do next week when the sanctions are due for renewal.
According to one of the United States embassy cables released by Wikileaks, the UK was put under pressure just two months after the formation of the inclusive government to support the lifting of European Union sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The cable dispatched on 24 April 2009 says most of the pressure was from France. French officials all “pressed hard” on the British Foreign Minister Lord Malloch- Brown to support the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The French officials said that though they preferred the UK to take the lead, they would consider lifting the sanctions “with or without the UK”.
Malloch-Brown is reported to have told the French that though it was time to look at Zimbabwe “as a glass half-full” the inclusive government had not done enough to merit the lifting of sanctions.
Malloch-Brown left Brown’s government in October 2009. Brown himself resigned as British Prime Minister in May last year after being defeated by David Cameron. The EU had already renewed the sanctions for the current year. The sanctions are due for review next week.
Recent cables released by Wikileaks show that there are increasing divisions within the European Union about sanctions on Zimbabwe. There is a feeling that the sanctions are shutting out other European Union members and do not hurt Britain and the United States that much because they already have massive investments in Zimbabwe.
One of the cables also said the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe entirely depended on the feedback from Prime Minister MorganTsvangirai’s party. Last year the EU lifted sanctions on eight parastatals and several invididuals on the recommendation of MDC secretary and Finance Minister Tendai Biti.
ZIMBABWE/UK/FRANCE: SANCTIONS AND LEADING IN THE EU
Ref ID: 09LONDON955
Date: 4/24/2009 15:01
Origin: Embassy London
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C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 000955 SIPDIS NOFORN DEPARTMENT FOR AF/S DEPARTMENT FOR IO/PSC (JEAN CLARK) E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/24/2019 TAGS: PREL, EAID, PGOV, ECON, ZI, FR, UK SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE/UK/FRANCE: SANCTIONS AND LEADING IN THE EU REF: LONDON 937 Classified By: Political Counselor Richard Mills, reasons 1.4 (b/d).
1.(C/NF) At a April 21 meeting in Paris (reftel), French Deputy National Security Advisor Bruno Joubert, MFA Spokesperson Eric Chevallier, and FM Kouchner’s African Affairs Advisor Charlotte Montel all “pressed hard” on UK Foreign Office Minister for Africa Lord Malloch-Brown to support lifting EU sanctions on Zimbabwe, UK Cabinet Office Senior Africa Advisor Anna French (strictly protect throughout), who attended the meeting, told poloff April 24. According to French, Montel said that the EU will begin considering lifting sanctions “with or without the UK,” but would prefer the UK to lead the process. Malloch-Brown replied by saying, “Yes, it was time to begin looking at Zimbabwe as a glass half-full,” but that the Zimbabwe GNU had not done enough yet to merit lifting sanctions. Malloch-Brown affirmed to his French hosts that the UK will lead EU discussions on Zimbabwe.
2.(C/NF) Indicating that many senior UK Government figures remain hard-line on Zimbabwe, French said UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown had recently told Italian Prime Minister Prodi that the UK “will not support the (Government of Zimbabwe) until Mugabe is gone.” French said Ministers will consider next steps on Zimbabwe at a Cabinet Africa Sub-Committee meeting on May 6. Visit London’s Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX LEBARON