wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
01ABUJA2253
2001-09-07 14:55:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

NIGERIA TURNS ZIMBABWE AROUND ON LAND SEIZURES

Tags:  PREL ECON PHUM SOCI EAID PINR NI ZI UK 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 002253 

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/01/2011
TAGS: PREL ECON PHUM SOCI EAID PINR NI ZI UK
SUBJECT: NIGERIA TURNS ZIMBABWE AROUND ON LAND SEIZURES


REF: ABUJA 2178


AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
AMCONSUL LAGOS


E.O.12958: DECL: 09/01/2011
TAGS: PREL ECON PHUM SOCI EAID PINR NI ZI UK
SUBJECT: Nigeria Turns Zimbabwe Around on Land Seizures




Classified by CDA Andrews. Reason: 1.5(b)




1. (C) Summary: President Obasanjo and Nigeria played the
critical role in extracting GOZ commitment to stopping land
seizures at the Abuja Ministerial on Zimbabwe September 6.
The UK agreed to a "significant financial contribution" to
land reform but views that commitment as contingent upon the
GOZ keeping its promises. For Nigeria, the Ministerial
provided a platform from which to demonstrate its prowess at
international statesmanship. HMG will provide further
details in London and Washington. The full text of the
communique has been faxed to AF/W. End summary.




2. (U) The Commonwealth Ministerial Committee on Zimbabwe
(Nigeria, Canada, Jamaica, Kenya, South Africa, the United
Kingdom and Zimbabwe) met in Abuja September 6. It agreed
that "land is at the core of the crisis in Zimbabwe and
cannot be separated from other issues of concern to the
Commonwealth, such as the rule of law, respect for human
rights, democracy and the economy." The joint communique,
agreed among heads of delegation over a very long lunch,
called for a "program of land reform...implemented in a fair,
just and sustainable manner, in the interest of all the
people of Zimbabwe, within the law and constitution of
Zimbabwe." The meeting welcomed the "re-affirmation of the
United Kingdom's commitment to a significant financial
contribution to such a land reform program and its
under-taking to encourage other international donors to do
the same."




3. (U) Assurances were given by the GOZ that there would "be
no further occupation of farm lands;" that it was committed
"to the Harare Commonwealth Declaration and the Millbrook
Commonwealth Action Programme;" that it would "speed up the
process by which farms that do not meet set criteria are
de-listed;" and that "for farms that are not designated,
occupiers would be moved to legally acquired lands." The GOZ
also agreed to accelerate "discussions with the UNDP, with a
view to reaching agreement as quickly as possible,...to
restore the rule of law to the process of land reform
programme (sic);...to freedom of expression as guaranteed by
the Constitution of Zimbabwe and to take firm action against
violence and intimidation."




4. (U) The meeting agreed, "that the way forward is for
Zimbabwe's international partners:
(a) to engage constructively with the UNDP and the Government
of Zimbabwe in pursuing an effective and sustainable land
reform programme, on the basis of the UNDP proposals of
December 2000;
(b) to respond positively to any request from the Government
of Zimbabwe in support of the electoral process; and
(c) to continue to contribute to poverty reduction programmes
for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe and that those
partners present (Australia, Canada and United Kingdom),
would actively pursue these objectives."




5. (C) Separately, Ambassador Raphael Uwechue, Special
Presidential Envoy for Conflict Resolution in Africa, told
Charge and Polmiloff September 7 that Nigeria did not define
being African by skin color. It was critical to avoid
further conflict on the continent, particularly conflict with
a racial tinge.




6. (C) According to British High Commission officials here,
this was the line President Olusegun Obasanjo took at a
September 6 breakfast opening the Ministerial gathering.
Nigeria's President also stressed the need for equitable and
fair land reform. HMG regretted that Zimbabwean FM Mudenge
had not been present to hear Obasanjo's remarks but noted
that Foreign Minister Sule Lamido echoed Obasanjo faithfully
during the rest of the day. Consensus was achieved on most
points at issue. However, Mudenge would not agree to
international election observers; the best that could be
obtained was the passage in para 4(b), above.




7. (C) According to officials here, HMG is not convinced
that Mugabe will carry through on the commitments Mudenge
made at Abuja. There is residual unease that the GOZ came to
Abuja in order to "avoid a division within the Common-wealth,
especially at the forthcoming CHOGM in Brisbane" (joint
communique, para 2(d)) and that intimidation and land
seizures could resume shortly thereafter (assuming they
indeed cease).




8. (C) The British could not have been more pleased with the
way Obasanjo handled the event. He brought the GOZ to Abuja
and, our British colleagues surmise, worked the phone with
Mugabe throughout, to produce a successful ending.




9. (C) Comment: For Nigeria, the positive conclusion to the
Ministerial on Zimbabwe demonstrates the prowess of its
statesmanship and the fruit of many years of engagement in
southern Africa. While the Nigerians do not want to give up
on Mugabe (stressing repeatedly during the meeting that the
international community has to treat him with "dignity" in
order to obtain cooperation), neither can Mugabe easily
forget Nigeria's firm support for liberation. The results
also demonstrate once again that Obasanjo is a force of his
own in foreign policy and on the international stage. Just a
week ago, his Foreign Ministry was still espousing a position
that demanded far less of Mugabe than what the Commonwealth
Ministers extracted (reftel). End comment.




10. (C) Mission has faxed the full text of the communique to
the Department (AF/W). Our British interlocutors advise that
a thoroughgoing briefing on HMG views, including the thoughts
of principals who attended the meeting, can be obtained in
London after the return of the UK delegation Friday
afternoon, September 7.
Andrews