Zimbabwe talks kick off


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Talks between the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the Movement for Democratic Change began in Pretoria on 17 June 2007 with the two sides agreeing on a five point agenda for future negotiations.

The five points are the constitution, electoral laws, security legislation, communications and the political climate.

The two parties agreed to use the 2004 draft constitution as the basis for future discussions.

Nicholas Goche and Patrick Chinamasa represented ZANU-PF while Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube represented the two factions of the MDC.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07PRETORIA2209, ZIMBABWE TALKS FINALLY BEGIN IN PRETORIA

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07PRETORIA2209

2007-06-20 04:28

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO0236

RR RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #2209/01 1710428

ZNY CCCCC ZZH(CCY ADXD41754 MSI1922 – 648)

R 200428Z JUN 07

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0444

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COLLECTIVE

RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 1160

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0523

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1220

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1097

RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 0473

RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0079

RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0478

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0416

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 002209

 

SIPDIS

 

C O R R E C T E D COPY (INFO ADDRESS CORRECTION)

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S, DRL

NSC FOR AF SENIOR DIRECTOR

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/18/2017

TAGS: PREL KDEM SF ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE TALKS FINALLY BEGIN IN PRETORIA

 

REF: A. PRETORIA 1447

B. PRETORIA 1554

C. TRENKLE-HILL EMAIL OF 06/19/2007

D. 06 PRETORIA 0582

 

PRETORIA 00002209 001.4 OF 002

 

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Teitelbaum. Reasons

1.4 (b) and (d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. The long-awaited talks between ZANU-PF and

the MDC kicked off in Pretoria June 17-18 with the two sides

agreeing on a five point agenda for future negotiations:

constitution, electoral laws, security legislation,

communications, and political climate. On the constitution,

the ZANU-PF and the MDC negotiators reportedly agreed to use

the 2004 draft constitution as the basis for future

discussions. The parties will meet again on the constitution

in Harare o/a June 27, and the South African-mediated talks

will resume July 5 in Pretoria. While Post remains skeptical

that this South African facilitation will succeed in

resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe, these talks achieved more

than we would have expected. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) The South African mediated-talks between the

Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ)/ZANU-PF and the Movement for

Democratic Change (MDC) began in Pretoria June 17-18. This

was the first face-to-face meeting between the two sides

since the Southern African Development Community (SADC)

appointed President Mbeki facilitator at its March 28-29

Extraordinary Summit (see Ref A for Post’s assessment of the

South African mediation). Minister for Labour and Social

Welfare Nicholas Goche and Minister of Justice Patrick

Chinamasa represented ZANU-PF, and the Secretaries General of

the two MDC factions, Tendai Biti (Tsvangirai faction) and

Welshman Ncube (Mutambara faction) represented the opposition

party.

 

——————-

Agreement on Agenda

——————-

 

3. (C) These initial talks went “very well,” according to

Ivor Jenkins from the Institute for Democracy in South Africa

(IDASA) (strictly protect). Jenkins received a readout on

the talks from Ncube the evening of June 18.   President

Mbeki opened the talks the morning of June 17. Mbeki

stressed that the situation in Zimbabwe is a “mess,” and

parties must make progress in the negotiations. (NOTE: Mbeki

reportedly telephoned Mugabe last week and took a very hard

line, telling Mugabe he was not going to be able to wriggle

out of the SADC mandate. END NOTE.)

 

4. (C) The South African mediation team, led by Minister

Sydney Mufamadi, then met with the two parties and proposed

an agenda for the talks (not just this round, but rather for

the entire process). The SAG based its five point agenda —

constitution, electoral laws, repressive legislation,

political climate, and endorsement of SADC decisions — on

the documents submitted by the two parties. (See Refs B and

C for summaries of MDC and ZANU-PF negotiating positions.)

Both the MDC and GOZ/ZANU-PF agreed to the substance of the

agenda, but ZANU-PF objected to some of the language used,

particularly the phrase “repressive legislation.”

 

5. (C) Mufamadi met with both sides throughout the day June

17 to hash out a revised agenda which the parties would

support. The final agenda included the following items

(proposed and final agendas emailed to Embassy Harare and

AF/S):

 

— Constitution

– Process

– Substantive proposals, such as those of devolution of

powers, citizenship, manner of making constitutional

appointments, electoral system

 

PRETORIA 00002209 002.4 OF 002

 

 

 

— Electoral Laws

– Voter registration requirements

 

— Security legislation

– POSA

 

— Communications

– Broadcasting laws

– External radio stations

 

— Political climate

– Demilitarization of state institutions

– Hostile rhetoric

– Use of militias; abuse of state aid and traditional

chiefs

– Sanctions

– Land

 

——————————————–

Initial Discussions; Agreement on Next Round

——————————————–

 

6. (C) Following agreement on the agenda, both sides then

made presentations on the five items. The other party

responded, but there were no negotiations per se. According

to Jenkins, Goche largely played the good cop (being

conciliatory) to Chinamasa’s bad cop (loudly objecting to

nearly everything).

 

7. (C) Mufamadi secured agreement from both parties that the

2004 draft constitution (Ref D) — negotiated by Ncube and

Chinamasa with South African aid but never approved — will

serve as the basis of the constitutional talks. The MDC

views this as a major concession since it implicitly means

that the GOZ will not push the constitutional amendments now

pending in Parliament. Jenkins also reported that the two

MDC Secretaries General, Biti and Ncube, are working together

effectively.

 

8. (C) The two sides agreed to meet o/a June 27 in Harare to

resume talks about the constitution. The next formal South

African-mediated talks will take place in Pretoria July 5.

(NOTE: Mbeki must report back to SADC by the end of the June

on the talks. END NOTE.)

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

9. (C) While we remain skeptical about the prospects for

Mbeki’s mediation in Zimbabwe, the Pretoria talks achieved

more than we would have expected. The five agenda items are

largely the right ones, but they are complex and not easily

solved. We defer to Embassy Harare on analysis of ZANU-PF’s

goodwill and the possibility that Mugabe and his team will

drag out the negotiations, making reforms too late to affect

the March 2008 elections. As reported in Ref A, we believe

Mbeki is more determined than ever to resolve the crisis in

Zimbabwe. The Mbeki mediation remains the only game in town,

and we recommend the U.S. Government continue to offer quiet,

but cautious, support for his efforts.

 

BOST

(7 VIEWS)

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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.

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