Did Air Zimbabwe cut corners on spare parts?


0

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office Zimbabwe section head John Gould said the West had to watch Air Zimbabwe’s safety because the airline was “cutting corners” on spare parts.

He said this at a meeting with London-based political officers from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand seven years ago at which Britain was lobbying for support to renew sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Most of the sanctions were lifted last month although 10 individuals including President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace as well as two state-corporations remain on the list.

Gould said up to 20 000 Britons were still in Zimbabwe, and experience elsewhere had shown that if one western country took drastic action in a deteriorating situation that tended to create a chain reaction.

Contingency planning for a worst-case scenario in Zimbabwe should therefore be very discreet so as not to contribute to instability.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06LONDON7136, C) ZIMBABWE: FCO CONVENES U.S., CANADA,

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

06LONDON7136

2006-10-04 15:34

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy London

VZCZCXRO9737

OO RUEHAG

DE RUEHLO #7136/01 2771534

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 041534Z OCT 06

FM AMEMBASSY LONDON

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9530

INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE IMMEDIATE 0123

RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA IMMEDIATE 0494

RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA IMMEDIATE 0952

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 0669

RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON IMMEDIATE 0203

RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM IMMEDIATE 0119

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0811

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 007136

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF/S, WHA/CAN, EAP/ANP, EUR/AGS, EUR/NB, EUR/WE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/04/2016

TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM ZI UK

SUBJECT: (C) ZIMBABWE: FCO CONVENES U.S., CANADA,

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

 

REF: EMAIL STEVE HILL – RICK BELL 10/03/06

 

Classified By: PolCouns Rick Mills; reason 1.4 (b, d)

 

¶1. (U) Action Request; please see paragraph 11.

 

¶2. (C) SUMMARY: FCO Zimbabwe Section convened a meeting

with London-based political officers from U.S., Canada,

Australia and New Zealand October 4. The UK’s priority on

Zimbabwe is to ensure renewal of EU sanctions in February; it

expects renewal but not without difficulty. FCO believes an

EU-tabled UNGA resolution would be desirable but more

difficult to achieve, especially as prospects of passage in

the General Assembly are not encouraging. Anticipating that

the UNSC may be less helpful on Zimbabwe next year, the UK

may try to push for a country-specific discussion of Zimbabwe

this year in the UNSC. The UK may end up having to allow a

senior Zimbabwean official (but not President Mugabe) to

attend an EU-Africa summit in 2007, which Portugal is keen to

arrange during its EU presidency. FCO seeks closer

coordination regarding policy and contingency planning.

Poloff shared ref talking points, which were timely and much

appreciated. Questions emerged from the discussion, for

which FCO would like more detailed information from USG

(paragraphs 10-11). END SUMMARY.

 

¶3. (C) FCO Zimbabwe Section Head St. John Gould and his team

convened a meeting October 4 with political officers from the

U.S. Embassy and the High Commissions of Canada, Australia

and New Zealand. Gould led the discussion, which covered the

EU, the UN, “bringing forward change,” contingency planning

and coordination.

 

¶4. (C) EU: Gould said:

 

– The EU has slipped back to a division between northern

countries supporting the UK’s hard line and southern

countries (notably France, Portugal and Italy) less willing

to challenge the Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ).

 

– The UK’s priority is to ensure renewal of EU sanctions in

February 2007. Gould “would be surprised” if sanctions were

not renewed. However, as renewal requires unanimity among

the 25 member states, Gould anticipated that France and

Portugal would both cause difficulties: France wants to host

a Franco-African Summit in February and will likely press for

an exception to the travel ban so that President Mugabe can

attend. Portugal is keen to arrange an EU-Africa Summit

during its EU presidency (second half of 2007; Germany, which

will have the presidency the first half of the year, is

“solidly” with the UK). Gould allowed that the UK might end

up having to accept a compromise whereby a senior GOZ

official subject to the travel ban (such as the Foreign

Minister) would be allowed to represent Mugabe.

 

– The UK would like the October 16 GAERC to result in

“conclusions” by the EU Foreign Ministers, but France is

objecting.

 

¶5. (C) EU – UNGA: London would like the EU to table an UNGA

resolution specifically on Zimbabwe, referencing the

Tibaijuka report and the resolution of the African Commission

on Human and Peoples’ Rights. However, France, Portugal,

Italy and Austria are skeptical, partly because the last such

draft in 2004 was blocked by a “no-action” motion. The EU’s

October 10 meeting will be “the last chance” to get agreement

on such a resolution this year. Gould opined that it would

be easier for the EU to support a draft tabled by someone

else.

 

¶6. (C) UN: UNSYG Annan has “drawn a blank” on Zimbabwe and

his term is nearly up, so Gould expects nothing from the UN

Secretariat in the near term. The UNSC’s composition in 2007

 

SIPDIS

suggests that it will become harder to get action against the

GOZ, so the UK is considering trying for a country-specific

discussion of Zimbabwe this year in the UNSC. Gould admitted

it was unlikely that any action (PRST or Resolution) would

come out of it. Gould was heartened that Tanzania spoke out

on Zimbabwe in the Security Council, and pleased that

President Bush had met with President Kikwete, which should

bolster the latter’s resolve.

 

LONDON 00007136 002 OF 002

 

 

 

¶7. (C) “BRINGING FORWARD CHANGE”: Gould said that FCO

Minister for Africa Lord Triesman is keen to find ways to

hasten change in Zimbabwe rather than standing helplessly by

until Mugabe departs the scene. This is easier said than

done, however, Gould acknowledged:

 

– The opposition and civil society are divided, and the GOZ

has shown it is willing and able to crush dissent.

Nonetheless, Harare missions should keep coordinating support

for the most strategic groups.

 

– South Africa is potentially key, but has been

disappointingly unwilling to challenge Mugabe. It does seem

to be more willing lately to talk about long-term change in

Zimbabwe, but not to take action while Mugabe is in power.

 

– Within the ZANU-PF regime, dissatisfaction is increasing,

but Mugabe is a master at fending off challenges. The UK is

contemplating having its ambassador tell Mugabe there is no

chance of a policy change while he remains in office, but has

not/not reached a decision on this.

 

¶8. (C) CONTINGENCY PLANNING AND COORDINATION: Gould

emphasized the importance of close coordination on policy and

contingency planning, in capitals as well as in the field.

(He was not/not implying that such coordination is lacking in

the field, his point was that capitals should be more tightly

lashed up as well.) The UK has up to 20,000 nationals in

Zimbabwe, he noted, and experience elsewhere has shown that

if one western country takes drastic action in a

deteriorating situation, that tends to create a chain

reaction. Contingency planning for a worst-case scenario

should be very discreet so as not to contribute to

instability. One specific item to watch, according to Gould,

is Air Zimbabwe’s safety: the company is “cutting corners”

on spare parts.

 

¶9. (C) Among ourselves, we should have a clear understanding

of what reforms would enable us to re-engage fully with the

GOZ, and what levers are available to us, Gould said. The UK

will meet at officials level on October 6, then put a

proposal to ministers. It will then want to consult with the

USG. Gould said the FCO is thinking of inviting U.S.,

Canadian, Australian and New Zealand officials who cover

Southern Africa in their respective capitals to come to

London for further consultations.

 

¶10. (C) FCO QUERIES: Poloff shared ref points, which were

much appreciated. Based on the discussion, FCO would like

more information from the USG on the following:

 

– USG thoughts on an UNGA resolution;

 

– Details of USG engagement with SADC (especially military);

 

– USG engagement with China regarding Zimbabwe;

 

– USG assessment of coordination regarding contingency

planning.

 

¶11. (U) Action Requested: We would be grateful for

responses to the queries in paragraph 10 that we can pass to

FCO.

 

Visit London’s Classified Website:

http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/london/index. cfm

Tuttle

 

(212 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *