The European Union last year partially lifted sanctions on Zimbabwe at the request of Finance Minister Tendai Biti who is also secretary general of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, a United States embassy cable released by Wikileaks says.
The cable says the UK had agreed to support the de-listing of eight parastatals requested by Zimbabwean “Foreign” (Finance) Minister Tendai Biti, any persons on the list who has died, a Lebanese national, and former ZANU-PF supporter Dr. Dumiso Dabengwa after “tortuous” discussions of the EU’s sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The cable was released on 21 January 2010, two days after Foreign Minister David Miliband had told the House of Commons that the easing of any sanctions on Zimbabwe would “be guided by what the MDC says to us about the conditions under which it is working and leading the country”.
The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front has been accused of being unreasonable by insisting that the MDC should get the West to lift sanctions for it to implement some of the outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement.
EU sanctions are reviewed every year in February. They were due for renewal on 20 February 2010.
Last year the EU lifted sanctions on Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe; Intermarket Holdings Ltd; Oryx Diamonds Ltd (a.k.a. Oryx Natural Resources); Scotfin Ltd; ZB Financial Holdings Ltd (Finhold); ZB Holdings Ltd; Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company ( Zisco, Ziscosteel); Zimre Holdings Ltd; and Zimre Reinsurance Company (PVT) Ltd.
It also lifted sanctions on Thamer Bin Al Shanfari, a Lebanese national; Dumiso Dabengwa who left ZANU-PF to revive ZAPU; Richard Hove now dead; Thomsen Jangara (a.k.a. Changara) now dead; Joseph Msika, now dead and Vitalis Zvinavashe, also dead.
The UK’s Cabinet Office Senior Africa Advisor Paul Godfrey said the EU had already agreed initial consensus on this position at a meeting in Brussels on January 20.
“Godfrey explained that UK ministers agreed that there had been some economic progress, but that there had been no real political concessions by ZANU-PF. ZANU-PF still controls the main levers of power, and any progress to date is still reversible,” the cable says.
President Robert Mugabe has blamed sanctions for the country’s economic collapse while the West argues that this was due to his mismanagement of the country’s economy and resources.
Viewing cable 10LONDON132, SOMALIA/ZIMBABWE/SOUTH AFRICA: UK MINISTERS ON RESOURCES, SANCTIONS, AND RELATIONS REF: LONDON 89 Classified By: Political Counselor Robin Quinville, reasons 1.4 (b/d).
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SUBJECT: SOMALIA/ZIMBABWE/SOUTH AFRICA: UK MINISTERS ON RESOURCES, SANCTIONS, AND RELATIONS REF: LONDON 89 Classified By: Political Counselor Robin Quinville, reasons 1.4 (b/d).
¶1. (C/NF) Summary. UK ministers agreed new resources for the implementation of its Somalia policy at a January 18 meeting of the cabinet sub-committee on Africa. They also decided to support, within the EU, a minimal lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe by delisting the eight parastatals requested by Finance Minister Tendai Biti as well as a few individuals — a position initial agreed with EU partners in Brussels on January 21. Ministers also agreed that the UK’s priorities for South Africa are to see it play a more effective role in Africa and to have South Africa’s international agenda more aligned with the UK’s. End summary.
Somalia: More Resources Approved ——————————–
¶2. (C/NF) At a January 18 meeting of the sub-cabinet committee on Africa, UK ministers agreed reftel proposal to put more resources to its Somalia policy, Cabinet Office Senior Africa Advisor Paul Godrey and Africa Advisor Gareth Hughes told Poloff January 21. Godfrey said the UK’s new total annual bilateral support to Somalia will be almost GBP 35 million (USD 56 million): GBP 23 million (USD 36.8 million) split evenly between humanitarian and development assistance; GBP 1.5 million (USD 2.4 million) for counter-terrorism; GBP 1.2 million (USD 1.92) in UK Navy operations; and GBP 9 million (USD 14.4 million) in conflict prevention funding. Ministers also agreed that if the international community puts additional resources to development assistance and agrees a comprehensive approach to Somalia, the UK would be willing to increase its development funding. Ministers also want to see that funding is spent in such a way that it has a tangible impact on the ground. Following the sub-cabinet committee meeting, the UK plans to raise Somalia and its development support from partners with various members of the international community, including the USG. Additionally, the UK plans to lobby hard within the EU to make Somalia a priority. Godfrey said the UK is already getting some traction on its EU lobbying efforts with EU High Representative Cathy Ashton.
¶3. (C/NF) Godfrey confirmed that the UK will open a “shadow embassy” for Somalia in Nairobi, hopefully during the summer of 2010.
Zimbabwe: Minimal Lifting of EU Sanctions —————————————–
¶4. (C/NF) Godfrey said after “tortuous” discussions of the EU’s sanctions on Zimbabwe, UK ministers agreed to support within the EU the de-listing of (1) the eight parastatals requested by Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Tendai Biti, (2) any persons on the list who has died, (3) a Lebanese national (NFI), and (4) former ZANU-PF supporter Dr. Dumiso Dabengwa. Godfrey said the EU already agreed initial consensus on this position at a meeting in Brussels on January 20. Godfrey said the sanctions are scheduled to be renewed for 12 months on February 20. Godfrey explained that UK ministers agreed that there had been some economic progress, but that there had been no real political concessions by ZANU-PF. ZANU-PF still controls the main levers of power, and any progress to date is still reversible.
South Africa: Needs to Be More Effective in AF, Better International Partner ——————————————— —
¶5. (C/NF) Godfrey said that in a brief discussion of the UK’s relations with South Africa in the run-up to President Zuma’s March state visit to the UK and the 2010 World Cup, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that the UK’s priorities with South Africa are having it play a more effective role in Africa and making South Africa more aligned with the UK’s international agenda. Godfrey said the latter objective became clear to Miliband after South Africa’s difficult rotation on the UNSC and its “awkward squad” role at LONDON 00000132 002 OF 002 Copenhagen. Miliband said there is the sense that South Africa is a “moral arbiter” for the G-77 and African countries, and it is important to bring them on the UK’s side. Visit London’s Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX