GABERONE – It has emerged that the US embassy in Gaborone has tried to organise a troika, a tripartite meeting between SADC, Zimbabwe and USA, but the US Ambassador, who also sits on SADC as a representative of America was unable to convince Washington to take part.
This is the first time it has ever been revealed that an attempt to have Washington, SADC, and Zimbabwe sit around the table, was ever made, at least at embassy level.
The leaked cables of 2005 titled: Gaborone Embassy cables, 2005 US Department of State & Broadcasting Board of governors Office of Inspector General, paint a picture of an embassy that differs with its headquarters especially regarding relations with Zimbabwe.
America has apparently been struggling to cement relations with SADC because of its policy toward Zimbabwe. The cable says; "The Ambassador has also been unable to convince the US government to hold a troika meeting with SADC as a way of inching US-SADC relations forward, despite complications wrought in those ties by the US policy toward Zimbabwe.
The tone of the 70 page document paints the picture of a super power desperate to entrench itself in SADC. The cable says the US government's interaction with SADC is complicated by disagreements between SADC member states and the US over US policy toward Zimbabwe. "In effect US engagement with SADC is frozen because US policy is not to engage with Zimbabwe; and SADC's policy is not to work with nations that do not work with all SADC countries; the ambassador is pressing Washington to find ways to reopen engagement; the embassy sees a possible window when Botswana takes over the chairmanship of SADC", said the report in part.
The leaked cables of 2005 also reveal how stubborn Botswana has been in frustrating America's persistent pleas to have the country participate in international or regional military operations for peace keeping purposes, but the cables do not say instances when Botswana refused to be engaged, nor does it name the military operations that Botswana rebuffed. But the report says Ambassador Huggins and the Mission made their best efforts to convince Botswana to participate in peacekeeping operations but were continually rebuffed.