|02ABUJA320||2002-02-01 10:38:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Abuja|
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 ABUJA 000320
1. (C) On January 25, during a brief pull aside prior to a
larger meeting on a just established USAID program for
agricultural assistance, President Obasanjo briefed me on his
January 20-21 trip to Zimbabwe.
2. (C) Obasanjo recounted that his discussion with Mugabe
focused mainly on the need for the Zimbabwean to clean up the
political arena. The President told Mugabe that he would
like to be able to support him in the Commonwealth but could
not help Mugabe in that assembly unless Mugabe pledged
himself and the GOZ to free and fair elections in March.
3. (U) Mugabe did not voice opposition to fair elections
and indicated his understanding of Nigeria's position
regarding the Commonwealth, Obasanjo said. Attempting to
show his commitment to a free and fair contest but
maintaining his animus towards London, Mugabe stated he would
allow all EU and Commonwealth election observers, except for
the UK, Obasanjo noted. The door would also open to the
foreign press to cover the election, except for UK-based
4. (C) Obasanjo reported that the Africa Union would form a
Foreign Ministers task force, which would presumably include
Nigeria's Lamido, to meet on Zimbabwe. The group would meet
5. (C) In an effort to ease political tensions and to give
the public a sign that reconciliation was possible, Obasanjo
tried to broker a meeting between Mugabe and MDC leader
Tsvangirai; however, Mugabe rejected the offer.
6. (C) Obasanjo concluded the pull aside, stating that he
briefed Tsvangirai on his meeting with Mugabe and that the
MDC leader seemed pleased.