INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Mauritius Hopeful Regarding the President's Way

Published: Mon 7 Dec 2009 12:28 PM
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RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHPL #0399 3411228
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071228Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY PORT LOUIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4875
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS PORT LOUIS 000399
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL AF PK MP
SUBJECT: MAURITIUS HOPEFUL REGARDING THE PRESIDENT'S WAY
FORWARD IN AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN
REF: A. SECSTATE 122731
B. SECSTATE 122234
C. SECSTATE 123222
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: GOM reacted positively to the President's
speech on the way forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan
(reftels) while Mauritius media coverage of the policy speech
was mostly factual. END SUMMARY.
2. (SBU) On December 1, the DCM delivered reftel points to
Ambassador Gokulsing, Bilateral Affairs Director - Ministry
of Foreign Affairs. Gokulsing welcomed the announcement,
noting that although Mauritius has no troops involved in
Afghanistan, they remain strongly interested in U.S.
decisions on its involvement with that region. Poloff also
delivered reftel points to Ambassador Patrice Cure, Head of
Multilateral Directorate - Political, Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. Cure noted that while the job seems overwhelming,
he is hopeful that the President's actions will succeed. He
said he would try to watch the speech and requested a
transcript be sent to him. On December 2, the DCM delivered
reftel points to Acting Foreign Minister Burty David. David
remarked that he had seen part of the speech on television
and that he was encouraged that President Obama was sending
the right signals, most specifically that with the additional
30,000 troops, the President planned to "finish the job."
David also remarked that the GOM is pleased that the
President noted the need and intent to focus on Afghanistan
and that this focus is appropriate at this time.
3. (U) Press coverage of President Obama's speech on
Afghanistan and Pakistan generally was factual with a few
opinion pieces remarking on the irony of a Nobel Peace Prize
winning President deploying additional combat troops to
Afghanistan. On its evening news program December 2, the
Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation broadcast excerpts from
the President's speech drawn from previous BBC World and TV5
Afrique. Many daily and weekly newspapers reported on the
speech focusing on the President's decision to send an
additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan and his plans to
begin withdrawing them in 2011. On December 3, the morning
daily Le Matinal carried an article from Agence France Presse
"Afghanistan: Additional American troops are welcomed with
mixed feelings." A leading French language daily L'express
(December 3) published an article entitled "Obama faces tough
sell with Afghanistan troop plan." The pro-Muslim weekly
Impact News' (December 4) article was headlined: "Obama
deploys 30,000 additional troops. Withdrawal in 2011."
Impact News reported cited a Washington Post-ABC News poll,
reporting that 48% of Americans are unsatisfied with the
President's policies on Afghanistan. Newsnow, an on-line
journal, posted an article from contributors in Washington
and Kabul "The die is cast - Obama reaches out for
Afghanistan end-game." Columnist Nad Sivaramen opined in
L'express-dimanche: "When one becomes a Nobel Peace Prize
winner, how is it possible to justify a choice for war?"
L'express-dimanche also published an opinion piece from its
foreign correspondent Gwyne Dyer, "In Search of a Decent
Interval? Dyer observed "Some aspects of the President's
strategy even suggest that he understands how little really
is at stake in Afghanistan for the United States."
4. In anticipation of the President's speech, Embassy Public
Affairs posted a link to new articles previewing the speech
on America.gov. A press release also was issued to major
Mauritius news media announcing the date and time for the
speech. The President's speech was first broadcast in
Mauritius on he morning of December 2. Immediately following
the first broadcast of the President's speech, a link to both
the video and transcript of the speech was posted on the
Embassy's homepage. A link to the America.gov webchats about
the President's speech also was posted on the Embassy
homepage.
WALKLEY
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