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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
01HARARE522
2001-01-25 15:53:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

READOUT ON MEETING BETWEEN ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT

Tags:  PREL PGOV ZI CG 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

251553Z Jan 01


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7206

PAGE 01        HARARE  00522  01 OF 02  251556Z 
ACTION AF-00    

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    ACQ-00   CIAE-00  DODE-00  DS-00    EUR-00   
      VC-00    TEDE-00  INR-00   VCE-00   NSAE-00  SSO-00   SS-00    
      DSCC-00  DRL-02   NFAT-00  SAS-00     /002W
                  ------------------BB811B  251556Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8085
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RWANDA COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 
AMEMBASSY LIBREVILLE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000522 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6 X5
TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI CG
SUBJECT: READOUT ON MEETING BETWEEN ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT
AND BELGIAN FOREIGN MINISTER


CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR
REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND (D).



1. (C) SUMMARY: THE DCM OF THE BELGIAN EMBASSY IN
HARARE PROVIDED A READOUT TO A SMALL GROUP OF DIPLOMATS
OF PRESIDENT MUGABE'S MEETING WITH BELGIAN FOREIGN
MINISTER LOUIS MICHEL, WHICH TOOK PLACE THE EVENING OF
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00522 01 OF 02 251556Z
JANUARY 24. MUGABE AND MICHEL DISCUSSED ALMOST
EXCLUSIVELY THE SITUATION IN THE DRC, AND AGREED IT IS
IMPORTANT TO GIVE PRESIDENT-DESIGNATE JOSEPH KABILA TIME
TO ESTABLISH HIMSELF AND FORMULATE HIS OWN POLICIES.
MUGABE TOLD MICHEL THAT ZIMBABWE HAD BOLSTERED ITS
FORCES IN THE DRC BY SEVERAL THOUSAND TROOPS AFTER
WITHDRAWING SEVERAL THOUSAND LATE LAST YEAR. ZIMBABWE
SENT TROOPS TO KINSHASA FOLLOWING KABILA'S ASSASSINATION
TO PRESERVE STABILITY AND PROTECT FOREIGNERS AND
DIPLOMATS, THE PRESIDENT STATED. MUGABE WAS ALSO
CRITICAL OF UGANDA AND RWANDA. THE HEAD OF STATE AND
FOREIGN MINISTER DISCUSSED THE INTERNAL POLITICAL
DYNAMICS IN THE DRC GOVERNMENT AND THE POSSIBLE ROLE OF
VARIOUS FACILITATORS, INCLUDING THE BELGIANS AND FORMER
SENEGALESE PRESIDENT DIOUF, IN REJUVENATING THE LUSAKA
PEACE PROCESS. MICHEL CAME AWAY FROM THE MEETING WITH
THE IMPRESSION THAT ZIMBABWE DOES NOT KNOW THE CONGOLESE
SITUATION VERY WELL AND HAS HANDLED ITS INVOLVEMENT
THERE IN A "CLUMSY" WAY. END SUMMARY.



2. (C) ON JANUARY 25, BELGIAN DCM ALEXIS DE
CROMBRUGGHE PROVIDED A READOUT OF PRESIDENT MUGABE'S
MEETING WITH BELGIAN FOREIGN MINISTER LOUIS MICHEL THE
NIGHT BEFORE TO CHARGE AND POLOFF, AND THE AUSTRALIAN
AND CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSIONERS. FOLLOWING HIS
ATTENDANCE AT LAURENT KABILA'S FUNERAL, MICHEL EMBARKED
ON A WHIRLWIND TOUR OF AFRICAN CAPITALS, FIRST STOPPING
IN LUANDA, THEN HARARE, ON JANUARY 24. (NOTE: MICHEL IS
PROCEEDING TO KIGALI AND KAMPALA JANUARY 25, THEN
LIBREVILLE, AND MAY STOP AGAIN IN KINSHASA BEFORE
RETURNING TO BRUSSELS. END NOTE.) IN THE EVENING OF
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 00522 01 OF 02 251556Z
JANUARY 24, MICHEL WAS MET BY ZIMBABWE FOREIGN MINISTER
STAN MUDENGE AT HARARE'S AIRPORT, WHERE THEY TALKED FOR
NEARLY AN HOUR, BEFORE PROCEEDING TO A HASTILY ARRANGED,
EARLY EVENING MEETING WITH THE ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT. THE
TWO, ACCOMPANIED BY THE BELGIAN DCM, MET AT MUGABE'S
RESIDENCE. DE CROMBRUGGHE REPORTED THAT THE PRESIDENT
WAS CHARMING, AND APPEARED ENERGETIC AND IN GOOD HEALTH,
DESPITE RECENT REPORTS TO THE CONTRARY.



3. (C) THE DISCUSSION BETWEEN FOREIGN MINISTER MICHEL
AND MUGABE AND MUDENGE FOCUSED ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY ON THE
DRC SITUATION. MUGABE AND MICHEL AGREED THAT IT IS
IMPORTANT TO GIVE JOSEPH KABILA TIME TO ESTABLISH
HIMSELF AND FORMULATE HIS OWN POLICIES. THE TWO AGREED
THAT THE JUNIOR KABILA COULD NONETHELESS ENHANCE HIS
LEGITIMACY BY OPENING A DIALOGUE WITH THE REBELS AND THE
POLITICAL OPPOSITION. MUGABE STATED THAT HE SHOULD AT
LEAST SEND A SIGNAL TO THE REBELS TO INDICATE HE IS
INTERESTED IN NEGOTIATING. MUGABE NOTED THAT THE ELDER
KABILA HAD BEGUN A DIALOGUE WITH THE REBELS IN
LIBREVILLE. THE ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT DID NOT EXPECT THE
DRC GOVERNMENT TO IMMEDIATELY OPEN UP TO THE OPPOSITION,
BUT SAID HE WOULD NOT GET "PUSHY" WITH KABILA. MUGABE
WAS NON-COMMITTAL ABOUT JOSEPH KABILA, AND IMPLIED A FEW
TIMES THAT HE IS A TRANSITIONAL FIGURE, ACCORDING TO DE
CROMBRUGGHE.



4. (C) MUGABE TOLD MICHEL THAT ZIMBABWE NOW HAS ABOUT
13,000 TROOPS IN THE DRC. THE GOZ HAD WITHDRAWN BETWEEN
3,000 AND 5,000 TROOPS LATE LAST YEAR, BUT WAS FORCED TO
REAUGMENT ITS FORCE WHEN PWETO FELL TO THE REBELS AND
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 00522 01 OF 02 251556Z
WHEN KABILA WAS ASSASSINATED, MUGABE SAID. THE
PRESIDENT FURTHER EXPLAINED THAT WHEN THE REBELS TOOK
PWETO, THEY TRAPPED SEVERAL HUNDRED ZIMBABWEAN TROOPS
BETWEEN LAKES MWERU AND TANGANYIKA. THE TROOPS WERE
INSTRUCTED NOT TO FIGHT BUT TO RETREAT ACROSS THE BORDER
INTO ZAMBIA. MUGABE HINTED AT SOME UNHAPPINESS WITH THE
ELDER KABILA WHEN HE UNILATERALLY DECIDED TO ATTACK
PEPA, AND THE RWANDAN COUNTERATTACK RESULTED IN THE FALL
OF PWETO.



5. (C) MUGABE STRESSED TO THE FOREIGN MINISTER THAT
ZIMBABWE SENT MORE TROOPS TO KINSHASA IN THE WAKE OF
KABILA'S ASSASSINATION TO "MAINTAIN LAW AND ORDER" AND
TO PROTECT RESIDENT FOREIGNERS AND DIPLOMATS. MUGABE
BLITHELY SUGGESTED THAT THE WEST CONTRIBUTE FINANCIALLY
TO ZIMBABWE'S INTERVENTION, SINCE IT WAS COSTING
ZIMBABWE SO MUCH TO PROVIDE THIS VALUABLE SERVICE. THE
GOZ WAS FORCED TO INTERVENE "BECAUSE THE INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY DID NOT DO THE JOB," MUGABE REMARKED.
BESIDES, ZIMBABWE CANNOT LEAVE A POLITICAL VACUUM IN
KINSHASA, NOR CAN IT RISK THE POLITICAL OPPOSITION

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ7207

PAGE 01 HARARE 00522 02 OF 02 251556Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DODE-00 DS-00 EUR-00
VC-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 VCE-00 NSAE-00 SSO-00 SS-00
DSCC-00 DRL-02 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /002W


--------------------------

BB8127 251556Z /38
O 251553Z JAN 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8086
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RWANDA COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS
AMEMBASSY LIBREVILLE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000522

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6 X5
TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI CG
SUBJECT: READOUT ON MEETING BETWEEN ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT
AND BELGIAN FOREIGN MINISTER

STARTING SOME KIND OF ANTI-GOVERNMENT MASS ACTION, HE
TOLD MICHEL. MUDENGE EARLIER REPORTEDLY ADMITTED IT IS
A "NIGHTMARE" TO MAINTAIN SO MANY TROOPS IN THE DRC WHEN
ZIMBABWE'S OWN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IS FAST
APPROACHING.



6. (C) MUGABE AND MUDENGE WERE FAIRLY CRITICAL OF
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00522 02 OF 02 251556Z
RWANDA, UGANDA AND THEIR REBEL SURROGATES. MUDENGE
NOTED THAT EVEN THOUGH RWANDA HAD PROMISED TO WITHDRAW
ITS FORCES 200KM, IT INSTEAD ADVANCED 200KM TO TAKE
PWETO. ZIMBABWE IS ALSO WORRIED THAT BEMBA'S FORCES
CONTINUE TO ADVANCE IN NORTHERN DRC. MUDENGE REMARKED
THAT BEMBA'S WAR IS REALLY UGANDAN PRESIDENT MUSEVENI'S
WAR, AND THAT MUSEVENI IS THE KEY TO RESOLVING THAT PART
OF THE CONFLICT. MUDENGE WENT AS FAR AS TO SAY THAT THE
U.S. HAS GIVEN MUSEVENI CARTE BLANCHE IN NORTHERN CONGO
IN ORDER TO KEEP SUDAN OUT. MUGABE STATED THAT UGANDA
AND RWANDA SHOULD BE ABLE TO DEAL WITH THEIR CONGOLESE
BORDER PROBLEMS VIA BILATERAL DISCUSSIONS WITH THE DRC.
AS FOR THE RCD-GOMA REBEL GROUP, MUDENGE OPINED THAT
THEY WOULD NEVER ACCEPT A DEMOCRATIC CONGO BECAUSE THEY
ARE SO UNPOPULAR AND WOULD LOSE IN ANY ELECTION.
FOREIGN MINISTER MICHEL SAID HE WOULD TRY TO PERSUADE
RCD-GOMA TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CONGOLESE DIALOGUE.



7. (C) ON THE LUSAKA PEACE PROCESS, MUDENGE SAID
ZIMBABWE HAS ENCOURAGED JOSEPH KABILA TO KEEP FORMER
BOTSWANA PRESIDENT MASIRE AS PEACE FACILITATOR, BUT
ACKNOWLEDGED TO MICHEL THAT CREATIVITY WAS NEEDED IN
FINDING A WAY TO SUPPLEMENT HIS EFFORTS. MUGABE
INTERJECTED, SAYING THAT THE PEACE PROCESS SHOULD NOT
DEPEND ON MASIRE ENTIRELY, ESPECIALLY SINCE HE DOES NOT
SPEAK FRENCH. GABON PRESIDENT BONGO ADDS A NEW
DIMENSION TO THE PEACE PROCESS, BUT FORMER SENEGALESE
PRESIDENT ABDOU DIOUF MAY ULTIMATELY BE A BETTER
FACILITATOR, MUDENGE OFFERED. FOREIGN MINISTER MICHEL
STATED THAT BELGIUM SUPPORTS MASIRE, AND SUGGESTED
BRUSSELS COULD ALSO PLAY A ROLE IN GETTING THE PEACE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 00522 02 OF 02 251556Z
PROCESS GOING AGAIN. HE INVITED MUDENGE TO BRUSSELS TO
FURTHER THE DIALOGUE. MUDENGE REPORTED THAT HE IS GOING
TO NEW YORK FOR THE FEBRUARY 21 UN SECURITY COUNCIL
MEETING OF FOREIGN MINISTERS INVOLVED IN THE DRC WAR.



8. (C) THE BELGIAN DELEGATION COMMENTED AMONG
THEMSELVES, AND LATER TO US, THAT THEY DO NOT BELIEVE
THE ZIMBABWE LEADERSHIP HAS A VERY GOOD GRASP OF THE
POLITICAL DYNAMICS INSIDE THE DRC. THEY NOTED THAT THE
GOZ IS MORE CLOSELY LINKED TO THE OLD GUARD FIGURES OF
INTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER KAKUDJI AND JUSTICE MINISTER
KONGOLO. THE BELGIAN AMBASSADOR IN KINSHASA REPORTS
THAT THE CONGOLESE AMBASSADOR TO ZIMBABWE, KIKAYA BIN
KARUBI, IS PART OF THE SO-CALLED "NEW GUARD" OF UP-AND-
COMERS. THE GOZ'S DISCUSSIONS WITH THE POLITICAL
OPPOSITION FIGURE AND INTELLECTUAL ARTHUR ZAHIDI NGOMA
AS A POTENTIAL PRESIDENTIAL SUCCESSOR DISPLAYS THEIR
NAIVETE, THE BELGIANS REMARKED. MICHEL COMMENTED TO HIS
STAFF LATER THAT HE THINKS ZIMBABWE'S HANDLING OF THE
CONGO INTERVENTION HAS BEEN "CLUMSY" FROM THE START.

IRVING

CONFIDENTIAL

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