The former Deputy Foreign Minister of the Vatican Archbishop Celestino Migliore told a United States official in 2001 that President Robert Mugabe’s son was a key player in the exploitation of diamonds in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The cable does not name which son. Mugabe has two sons, Robert Junior and Chatunga. But it is not clear how any of the two could have been key players in diamond exploitation in the DRC as at the time both were under 10 years of age.
According to the cable filed by United States Charge d’Affairs Joseph Merante on 6 March 2001, Archbishop Migliore is reported to have met Merante on behalf of the Foreign Minister Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran who was attending the pope’s annual Lenten retreat.
Migliore is reported to have told Merante that the Vatican wanted the United States and Britain to put pressure on Uganda and Rwanda to withdraw their troops from the Kivu region and immediately stop the exploitation of the DRC’s natural resources. He said the occupation of Kivu had contributed to the death of more than one million people.
Asked if the Vatican would be approaching other countries, Migliore is reported to have said the Vatican had limited this to the US and the UK because it believed the two had the most influence on Rwanda and Uganda.
He added, however, that the Vatican would be contacting Angola and Zimbabwe to take part in the dialogue. At the time Angola and Zimbabwe were supporting the Congolese army against the rebels who were being supported by Rwanda and Uganda.
Migliore is however reported to have said that “he believes Zimbabwe is going to resist as President Mugabe’s son is a key player in the exploitation of the diamond mines in the DROC”.
Asked to comment on how any of Mugabe’s sons could have been involved in DRC diamonds when the older one Robert Junior was only eight and Chatunga was four at the time, the archbishop’s spokesman said on Tuesday the archbishop had “no recollection at all of such a conversation with Mr Merante”.
“Besides,” the spokesman went on, “it’s not in his habit to share pieces of information which make no much sense.”
Archbishop Migliore is now the Apostolic Nuncio to Poland. He was appointed the Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations in October 2002. These are both diplomatic posts.
Mugabe is a catholic and the Vatican had to bent over backwards to allow him to wed Grace who was not catholic.
The United Nations set up a panel to investigate the exploitation of natural resources in the DRC and published a report in 2002 which exposed how each of the seven countries involved in the DRC war was exploiting that nation’s natural resources.
Viewing cable 01VATICAN1261, DROC–VATICAN DEMARCHE
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C O N F I D E N T I A L VATICAN 001261
DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (VAN CLEVE); DEPT FOR AF/C
FROM EMBASSY VATICAN/MESSAGE NO. 31/01
E.0. 12958: DECL: 03/05/11
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS CG VT
SUBJECT: DROC–VATICAN DEMARCHE
¶1. (U) CLASSIFIED BY CDA JOSEPH MERANTE FOR REASONS 1.5
(A) AND (D) .
¶2. (C) DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER MIGLIORE CALLED IN CHARGE
PAGE 02 VATICA 01261 061419Z
TO PRESENT A PRO MEMORIA ON THE SITUATION IN THE DEMOCRATIC
REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (FAXED TO EUR/WE 3/6). (NOTE: FOREIGN
MINISTER TAURAN IS ATTENDING THE POPE’S ANNUAL LENTEN
¶3. (C) MIGLIORE EXPANDED UPON THE TEXT OF THE PRO
MEMORIA. HE SAID THAT THE VATICAN IS REQUESTING THE U.S.
AND THE UK TO PUT PRESSURE ON UGANDA AND RWANDA TO FULLY
WITHDRAW ITS TROOPS FROM THE KIVU REGION, TO IMMEDIATELY
CEASE THE ILLEGAL EXPLOITATION OF THE NATURAL RESOURCES,
AND TO ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE IN THE INTERCONGOLESE DIALOG.
MIGLIORE SAID THAT THE UGANDAN/RWANDAN OCCUPATION OF KIVU
CONTRIBUTED TO THE DEATH OF OVER ONE MILLION PEOPLE IN THE
PAST FEW YEARS.
¶4. (C) CHARGE INQUIRED IF THE HOLY SEE WOULD BE
APPROACHING OTHER COUNTRIES IN ADDITION TO THE U.S. AND THE
UK. MIGLIORE SAID THAT THE VATICAN HAD DECIDED TO LIMIT
ITS DEMARCHE TO THE U.S. AND THE UK ON THE SITUATION IN THE
KIVU REGION BECAUSE IT BELIEVES WE ARE THE TWO COUNTRIES
WITH THE MOST INFLUENCE WITH THE RWANDANS AND THE UGANDANS.
HOWEVER, THE VATICAN WILL BE CONTACTING THE ANGOLANS AND
THE ZIMBABWEANS TO URGE THEM TO ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE IN THE
DIALOG. MIGLIORE SAID THAT HE BELIEVES ZIMBABWE IS GOING
TO RESIST AS PRESIDENT MUGBAE’S SON IS A KEY PLAYER IN THE
EXPLOITATION OF THE DIAMOND MINES IN THE DROC. MIGLIORE
ALSO SAID THAT HE WAS CONSIDERING CONSULTING WITH THE
¶5. (C) COMMENT: THE FACT THAT MIGLIORE MADE NO MENTION OF
CONSULTATIONS WITH THE FRENCH IS SURPRISING. THE FRENCH
PAGE 03 VATICA 01261 061419Z
EMBASSY TO THE VATICAN HAS REPEATEDLY URGED THE VATICAN AND
SANT’EGIDIO TO BECOME ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN THE PROCESS.
¶6. (U) ACTION REQUESTED: EMBASSY SHOULD REPLY TO MIGLIORE
BY 3/9. REQUEST THAT DEPARTMENT PROVIDES POINTS FOR USE.