President meets Japanese special envoy

Felex Share Senior Reporter
President Mugabe yesterday met a special envoy from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who invited him to attend the sixth edition of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) slated for Kenya in August.

The envoy, Mr Masaharu Kohno, also enlisted President Mugabe’s help and support to ensure the meeting becomes a success.

This is first time the TICAD meeting is being held outside Japan.

Speaking after meeting President Mugabe at State House in Harare, Mr Kohno said their meeting centred on political issues.

“We consulted each other in the political arena,” he said.

“We didn’t discuss the economic issues at all this time. We talked about international relations, international affairs. We are facing many challenges. Those are the issues we discussed.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said Mr Kohno had two messages for President Mugabe.

“He carried two letters for His Excellency President Mugabe,” he said. “The first one was inviting the president to the TICAD VI, which will be held in Nairobi in August. The Japanese Prime Minister very much wants the President to attend and provide the necessary assistance for the success of the meeting.

“The second letter was about issues relating to the (United Nations) Security Council reform that the Prime Minister would want to discuss in detail with President Mugabe.”

ticad was launched in 1993 by the Japanese government, to promote development, peace and security in Africa by strengthening bilateral ties with Japan.

It has evolved into a major global and multilateral forum for mobilising and sustaining international support for Africa’s development under the principles of African ownership and international partnership.

President Mugabe is also scheduled to visit Japan later this month.

Prime Minister Abe has always appealed for Africa’s support in Japan’s bid for a seat in the UNSC.

Japan belongs to the Group of Four (G4), which has Germany, India and Brazil — countries which have mutually supported one another’s bids for permanent seats in the Security Council.

The G4 members have proposed reform in the UNSC to include an additional six permanent seats, four going to them and two reserved for African countries.

Only five nations, China, Russia, France, Britain and the United States have permanent seats and veto powers, which enable them to prevent the adoption of any ‘substantive’ draft Council resolution, regardless of the level of international support for the draft.

President Mugabe has always made a strong pitch for the UNSC reform saying the organisation had become a forum where ‘some are giants’, while the rest have been “made dwarfs”.

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