Botswana reiterates call for sanctions removal
Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Botswana has reiterated calls for the removal of Western-imposed illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe saying they are impeding the country’s efforts of becoming a middle-income economy by 2030.
Botswana’s Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Dr Gladys Mokhawa raised the issued during the opening ceremony for the mid-term review of the third session of the Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission underway in Harare.
Dr Mokhawa is co-chairing the meeting with her Zimbabwe counterpart, Ambassador James Manzou.
“I am confident that our strong partnership at bilateral, regional and international levels, will assist in unlocking the potential for Zimbabwe to reclaim her rightful place of a prosperous middle-income country in eight years to come.
“I also wish to reassure you of the commitment by the Government of Botswana to continue advocating the comprehensive lifting of the illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, as they continue to thwart the country’s efforts towards economic recovery, as well as the region’s socio-economic development,” she said.
The country has been under illegal Western sanctions, especially from the US, in the past two decades.
Turning to the mid-term review, Dr Mokhawo expressed satisfaction with progress made in agreed areas of cooperation.
“I note with satisfaction that progress has been registered in a number of areas. Most importantly, we had the inaugural joint technical meeting on combating livestock rustling, which was held in Selebi-Phikwe, Botswana, in October 2022.
“In addition to assessing progress in the implementation of BNC decisions, regarding the livestock rustling issue, the meeting was able to finalise the draft framework agreement between Botswana and Zimbabwe on combating cross-border livestock rustling, which I understand is now ready for signature,” she said.
The two countries have also finalised a few more agreements, including the MoU on the promotion of cooperative development and micro, small and medium enterprises development; the MoU on prisons and correctional services as well as the MoU on gainful employment of spouses of diplomats or consular staff, which has been pending for quite some time.
In his remarks Ambassador Manzou commended the excellent relations between the two countries which are rooted in a shared history.
“Over the past few years, relations between our two countries have grown exponentially. Underpinning this growth in relations has been the timely holding of the Bi-National Commissions by our two Heads of State, thereby enhancing our bilateral relations,” he said.
“I am pleased that our officials have continued to use the Joint Implementation Matrix, as a barometer to monitor the progress of implementation of BNC decisions. A quick glance of the matrix, shows a very positive picture, demonstrating that our two sides have responded to the clarion call by our Heads of State to implement their decisions within the agreed timelines.”
Ambassador Manzou, however, called for the speedy conclusion of the MoU on economic, trade and investment promotion and called for the establishment of a clear roadmap for its conclusion when sectoral committee reports are presented today.