» Monday, July 7, 2008


Asked for more on the Prime Minister’s meeting with President Mbeki, and where we were on Zimbabwe, the PMS replied that there was a good discussion in the G8 outreach lunch and in the afternoon session on Zimbabwe. As he said the Prime Minister also discussed this with President Mbeki. There was now widespread acceptance of the illegitimate nature of the election of Mr Mugabe. Of course this was an African problem that required an African solution, but we did need to find a way forward that respected the original election result. There would be a further discussion tomorrow just among the G8 and it would be following that discussion that there would be some language from the G8, he did not anticipate any conclusions language today on Zimbabwe. Of course we would continue to discuss with our G8 partners the issue of sanctions, including further sanctions at the EU as well as at the UN, and we did want to continue to push for access for a UN envoy to Zimbabwe as well.

Asked if there was any kind of feeling of a change of tone from Mbeki, and any thoughts of him being prepared to go a bit further in his public language, the PMS replied that he thought it was best if Mr Mbeki, or his spokesman spoke on behalf of Mr Mbeki’s position. It was for Mr Mbeki and the South African Government to discuss the South African position, but from our perspective, as he said this was a good and constructive discussion but no doubt we would continue to discuss with our African partners going forward.

Put that President Kikwete seemed to have suggested there was some discord between Britain and others and between the African nations on how to go forward on Zimbabwe, and asked if Britain would support a unity government with Mugabe as a titular head, or did we want to see some other way forward, the PMS replied that our position on this was very clear, we did not accept the legitimacy of Mr Mugabe’s election and therefore in the view of the British Government any solution going forward must respect the original election results. This was the basis on which we would continue to discuss this with our partners.

Asked to clarify that point, because at the time of the first round we did not declare that the MDC had won, and were we now saying that the British Government’s view was that Morgan Tsvangirai was the proper President of Zimbabwe, the PMS replied that we were saying that we wanted to see an outcome that respected and reflected the original election results. There was a process in Zimbabwe, and there was a conclusion to the first round of those elections. We then went into a period where there was clear intimidation of the opposition MDC party from the ruling party. We needed to find a way forward, but we needed to find a way forward as the Prime Minister has said many times, where the solution going forward needed to respect and reflect the original election outcome.

Put that the Canadians were saying that there would be extra sanctions very quickly if the situation was not resolved, and is this something that we agreed with, the PMS replied that this was certainly something that we would be discussing with our G8 partners tomorrow. It was important to keep on the table and indeed given the current situation in Zimbabwe push for further sanctions at an EU level as well as at the UN, and that is what we would continue to do.

Asked if immunity from prosecution could form any part of a deal to get Mugabe out, the PMS replied that he was not going to start getting into speculation about any deals or anything of that nature for Mr Mugabe. The key thing, as he had been saying, was that we continued to work with our international partners and discussed with them a constructive way forward that respects and reflects the original election outcome. As he had said he was not going to be a commentator on Zimbabwe constitutional issues. All the British Government was saying was that it was important that whatever outcome we reached was one that reflected the illegitimate nature of the election of Mr Mugabe and reflected the original election outcome.

Asked if that could mean Mugabe staying in a position of some power, the PMS replied that our position was very clear that the election of President Mugabe as President of Zimbabwe was not legitimate.

Asked on Zimbabwe if there was consensus during the G8 meeting this afternoon, and was there any opposition from African nations, the PMS replied that it was a good discussion, and it was a constructive discussion. Of course there were going to be different views around the table but there would be a further discussion among the G8 tomorrow.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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