wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07MASERU563 2007-10-10 16:41:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Maseru
Cable title:  

LESOTHO: AMBASSADOR NOLAN PRESENTS CREDENTIALS TO KING

Tags:   PREL PGOV EAID KHIV KMCA LT 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO5921
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHMR #0563/01 2831641
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 101641Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY MASERU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3390
INFO RUEHMR/AMEMBASSY MASERU 3789
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MASERU 000563 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT ALSO FOR AF/S;

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID KHIV KMCA LT
SUBJECT: LESOTHO: AMBASSADOR NOLAN PRESENTS CREDENTIALS TO KING
LETSIE III


MASERU 00000563 001.2 OF 002




1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On October 10, Ambassador Robert B. Nolan
presented his credentials to Lesotho's King Letsie III at the
Royal Palace in Maseru. During their private conversation
following the presentation, the King emphasized the excellent
state of U.S.-Lesotho bilateral relations following the July
signing of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact,
the continuing importance of the African Growth and Opportunity
Act (AGOA) to Lesotho's economy, and the need to cooperate in
confronting the scourge of HIV/AIDS. While addressing many of
the same themes, Lesotho's acting Prime Minister expressed
gratitude for the U.S.'s continuing presence in Lesotho -- thus
emphasizing the importance of the "universality" of a U.S.
presence in Africa. In sum, October 10, 2007 was a day to
celebrate the flourishing U.S.-Lesotho relationship and to
commit to further cooperation and strengthening of bilateral
ties. END SUMMARY.



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


Credentialing in Lesotho: The Mechanics


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





2. (U) On October 10, Ambassador Nolan, accompanied by the DCM
and pol/econ officer, undertook a series of clockwork events,
expertly orchestrated by Lesotho's MFA, as part of his
presentation of credentials to Lesotho's Head of State, King
Letsie III. Following courtesy calls on Principal Secretary of
Foreign Affairs Julius Metsing and Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mohlabi Kenneth Tsekoa, Ambassador Nolan proceeded to the Royal
Palace under official escort. At the Palace, he read a brief
statement, handed his credentials to King Letsie III, and
listened to the King's response. Afterwards, he held a
15-minute private conversation with the King, attended by
Minister of Foreign Affairs Tsekoa. After an elegant ceremony
at which Ambassador Nolan reviewed a Lesotho Defense Force honor
guard, he proceeded to a courtesy call with the acting Prime
Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs
Archibald Lehohla.



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


A Conversation with the King


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





3. (SBU) Remarking that the U.S.-Lesotho bilateral relationship
is flourishing, Ambassador Nolan congratulated King Letsie III
for Lesotho's effective international role on free trade,
global health, and efforts to thwart international crime and
terrorism. The Ambassador noted the keystone programs of this
relationship, such as the $362.5 million Millennium Challenge
Corporation compact, 40 years of Peace Corps presence in
Lesotho, the PEPFAR program, the African Growth and Opportunity
Act, and recently renewed military-to-military cooperation. In
his official remarks, King Letsie III specifically thanked the
Ambassador for the past and future contributions of Peace Corps
and the Millennium Challenge Corporation to Lesotho's
development. He noted that the extension of AGOA until 2015
will allow Lesotho time to further diversify its economy.
Echoing the Ambassador's sentiments on the importance of the
fight against HIV/AIDS, he stated that Lesotho was "encouraged
and emboldened" to note that Lesotho is not on its own in trying
to halt the epidemic, but has the support of friendly nations
such as the United States. In their private conversation, a
very relaxed and cordial King Letsie reiterated these themes.
Ambassador Nolan shared his commitment to pursuing bilateral
objectives, as well as his personal impressions of a recent trip
to the central highlands of Lesotho where he visited Peace Corps
volunteers and a Catholic mission providing local health care,
support for HIV/AIDS patients, education, and outreach to
at-risk Basotho herd boys.



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


DPM: You are a Dependable Ally


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





4. (SBU) During the Ambassador's courtesy call on Deputy Prime
Minister Lehohla (in the latter's capacity as acting Prime
Minister), the DPM emphasized the excellent state of
U.S.-Lesotho bilateral relations, singling out U.S. assistance
in the education and governance spheres as particularly helpful.
Calling the United States a "dependable ally," he expressed his
desire to expand educational ties between the two nations.
Citing land degradation in the lowlands as an area of particular
concern, he noted his hope that MCC funding could be used to
address the issue. The Deputy Prime Minister spoke passionately
and positively about the continued United States presence in
Lesotho, contrasting it to the painful blow in 2005 of the
United Kingdom's closure of its diplomatic mission in Maseru.



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


MFA: U.S. Support is Vital

MASERU 00000563 002.2 OF 002




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





5. (SBU) During separate consultations with Minister of Foreign
Affairs Mohlabi Kenneth Tsekoa and Principal Secretary of
Foreign Affairs Julius Metsing, both men assessed the state of
the bilateral relationship to be excellent. Minister Tsekoa
recounted Lesotho's political turbulence following the February
2007 national election and pointed to the USG-funded support of
the National Democratic Institute as vital. Both men praised
the work of American NGOs in Lesotho, singling out the
contributions of the Clinton Foundation in the health sphere.
Principal Secretary Metsing noted that while Lesotho and the
United States have similar views on many international issues,
he allowed that Lesotho could not always vote with the United
States due to its obligations to regional and thematic
organizations such as the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).



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


A Feel Good Universality


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





6. (SBU) COMMENT: In sum, October 10, 2007 was a day to
celebrate the flourishing U.S.-Lesotho relationship and to
commit to further cooperation and strengthening of bilateral
ties. Ambassador Nolan's first encounters have initiated an
excellent rapport with his Basotho interlocutors, including
initial calls on the Ministers of Finance and Health following
the presentation of credentials to discuss MCC and PEPFAR
issues. Judging from the Prime Minister's comments on the
painfulness of the British diplomatic withdrawal from Lesotho,
the continued presence of the U.S. Mission in Maseru is
extremely important to the GOL and the Basotho people -- which
is a strong argument for the continuation of a "universality"
USG policy for a U.S. presence on the continent. END COMMENT.
NOLAN