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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09PORTLOUIS66 2009-02-24 07:00:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Port Louis
Cable title:  

CHARGE'S QUARTERLY CALL ON MAURITIAN PRIME

Tags:   PGOV PREL ZI MP 
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VZCZCXRO0546
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHPL #0066/01 0550700
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 240700Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY PORT LOUIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4448
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0350
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT LOUIS 000066 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/18/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI MP
SUBJECT: CHARGE'S QUARTERLY CALL ON MAURITIAN PRIME
MINISTER RAMGOOLAM

REF: A. PORT LOUIS 49

B. PORT LOUIS 64

C. SECSTATE 13422

D. PORT LOUIS 62

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Virginia M. Blaser for reasons 1.4 (b
and d).

1.(C) SUMMARY: On February 19, Charge met with Mauritian
Prime Minister Ramgoolam to discuss the PM's recent trip to
the United States for the annual Prayer Breakfast. The PM
seemed pleased with the trip, although disappointed not to
meet President Obama during the breakfast. The PM's efforts
to build an education-sharing program with University of
Maryland had him the most animated, while realities of
pushing GOM goals on Diego Garcia proved more sobering. END
SUMMARY.



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

--
US TRIP - DIEGO GARCIA - UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND


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

--



2. (C) During Charge's quarterly meeting with Prime Minister
Ramgoolam (PM) on February 19, the PM reviewed his recent
trip to the United States, covering many of the issues as
expressed in ref C. He echoed reftel statements that he
understood the Department of State position vis-a-vis Diego
Garcia was that the GOM must take the issue up with the UK,
not the US. He noted that negotiations with the UK are
continuing, and that he hoped they would begin soon at
"higher levels." The PM expressed great enthusiasm for his
discussions with the University of Maryland for education
exchange opportunities, and said he has asked the Mauritian
Ambassador to the US to spearhead efforts to bring an
agreement forward quickly.



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



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


PLANS TO REQUEST POTUS MEETING - ATTENDANCE AT UNGA


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



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





3. (C) The PM expressed disappointment at not meeting
President Obama at the prayer breakfast, adding that he had
thought that all heads of state attending the breakfast would
have the opportunity to see the President separately. The PM
said he will forward through his Embassy an official request
for an appointment with the President sometime this year. He
was willing, he added, to make a special trip to Washington
to meet with the U.S. President if a date could be arranged.
Alternatively, he would seek a meeting on the margins of the
UN General Assembly, which the PM plans to attend in
September. (NOTE: The PM did not attend the UNGA last year.)



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


ZIMBABWE


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





4. (C) The PM expressed satisfaction that the situation in
Zimbabwe had shifted in recent weeks, while noting "grave
concern" over the recent arrests of MDC senior party leaders.
The PM agreed that Mauritius should look to support Botswana
and other initiatives in SADC to assist with the continuing
problems in Zimbabwe. The PM reminded Charge that the
President of Zimbabwe will be the senior representative for
Mauritian Independence celebrations planned for mid-March
2009, and implied this trip would give Mauritius a chance to
show support for Botswana's efforts.



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


US ASSISTANCE AND MAURITIAN PEACEKEEPERS


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





5. (C) Charge reviewed the number of current USG-sponsored
training programs taking place in coming months, including
separate training programs being run by FBI, NCIS, Coast
Guard, DHS and AFRICOM and the March African Center for
Strategic Studies (ACSS) program. The Charge added that the
ACSS would have elements of peacekeeping in the agenda, and
thanked the PM for his support to bring a larger group of
Mauritian police into peacekeeping teams. The PM replied
that he understood it was time for Mauritius to take a more
responsible role and he would continue to support this
effort. The PM also expressed interest in the planned U.S.
Department of Energy program for radioactive material
safeguards.



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


SHIFTS IN THE PM'S OFFICE


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




PORT LOUIS 00000066 002 OF 002




6. (C) Due to the grave illness of his cabinet secretary and
the unexpected demise of Home Affairs Secretary Raj Madhoo
(who died on February 16 during the Chinese President's
visit), the PM noted that a number of shifts will be made in
his office in coming weeks. In the interim, his senior
secretary will serve as the cabinet secretary for purposes of
taking notes at cabinet meetings. The Home Affairs director
will be filled "very quickly." His options for both
positions are in short supply, as due to legal requirements
he may only fill the posts with Senior Civil Servants.
Finding one with the right experience, whom he can trust to
be discreet, may be difficult, he told the Charge.



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


COMMENT


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





7. (C) From a public relations perspective, the PM's trip to
the US was less than ideal. In advance of the trip, a number
of press outlets quoted him and other government officials as
saying he would be meeting Obama. (The PM denies he said that
and accuses the press of simply getting the facts wrong).
There was open criticism of his being away from the country
for a "non-substantive" trip to the United States. After the
trip, it was widely stated in the press that he sat with the
Secretary of State at the breakfast. Again, according to the
PM, this was incorrect. In the end, the PM had no
deliverables to provide critics of his US trip and basically
stayed quiet about his U.S. trip upon his return. Instead he
shifted his public comments to the (then pending) Chinese
President visit.



8. (C) With regard to the staff losses in the PM's office,
the PM continues to discuss with the Embassy his distrust of
his cabinet and of PM office subordinates. His unwillingness
to discuss his ideas and plans with others sometimes leads
him to make poor choices (such as overboard remarks in his
speech to the Chinese President described in reftel B). The
vacancies left by the loss of both senior PM office civil
servants will be difficult to fill, but it appears the
current Mauritian Ambassador to the US will return in coming
months to fill the long vacant chief of cabinet position.
This will help with management of PM issues -- an important
need because the PM holds so many decisions in his own hands
and delegates little to his cabinet -- and should also help
USG efforts by providing a pro-US interlocutor very close to
the PM.
BLASER