Herald Reporter, The Herald, May 17, 2008
GOVERNMENT on Wednesday summoned United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee and warned him over his involvement in the country’s domestic affairs.
Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi confirmed this at a Press briefing in Harare yesterday.
"The US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 14, 2008.
"Ambassador McGee was dressed down on the following sequence of events which constituted violations of Diplomatic Protocols and Procedures," he said.
Cde Mumbengegwi said McGee wrote a letter to the Press on May 12, 2008 making unsubstantiated allegations clearly in support of MDC-T.
"This was clear interference in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs and in violation of the protocols governing diplomatic relations between states."
Cde Mumbengegwi said on May 13, 2008, McGee travelled beyond 40km from Harare without making prior arrangements with his ministry.
McGee’s actions violated Zimbabwe’s rules and regulations which require that diplomats travelling beyond a 40km radius should make prior arrangements with the ministry.
"The ambassador made politically charged and inflammatory remarks when he visited the Avenues Clinic on 9th May 2008. This again constituted interference in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs," added Cde Mumbengegwi.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs brought to the attention of Ambassador McGee that he had not only failed to respect the laws and regulations of Zimbabwe, but had also blatantly interfered in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe."
He said McGee’s actions were in total contravention of Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
The Vienna Convention reads: "Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of the persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state. They have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that state."
Cde Mumbengegwi said the summoning constituted the first warning to the US ambassador that Government would not tolerate any interference in the country’s internal affairs.
"The Government of Zimbabwe will not hesitate to invoke the relevant provisions of the conventions and protocols which govern the conduct of diplomatic relations between states," he said.
Asked what course of action Government would take if McGee persists with his actions, Cde Mumbengegwi said it would depend entirely on "what happens next".
He said other ambassadors who have also committed such acts would be duly warned.
"All diplomats and all ambassadors are fully aware of the provisions of these protocols and conventions. They will also be warned."