Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter—
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday welcomed five new ambassadors to Zimbabwe during a brief ceremony held at State House. The newly appointed ambassadors are from South Korea, Netherlands, Greece, Canada and Nigeria. South Korea’s new ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Cho Jai-Chel was the first to present his letter of credence to President Mugabe. Mr Jai-Chel, however, left without giving interviews to journalists, saying he will do so later. The new Netherlands ambassador to Zimbabwe is Mrs Barbara Van Hellemond. Mrs Hellemond vowed to take the two countries relations to a higher level, particularly for cooperation in the agricultural sector. “We want to strengthen our relations, especially within the area of sustainable agriculture,” she said.
“I hope you know that Holland is one of the frontrunners in innovative and sustainable agriculture, so we hope to cooperate more with Zimbabwe, especially with women, girls and the youths.” The new Greece Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr George Marcantonatos, hailed the long-standing friendship between the peoples of Greece and Zimbabwe.
“I am here to further this friendship which, I have to repeat again, is a long-standing friendship,” he said adding: “I am here as the ambassador of the Hellenic Republic to promote our relationship. Mr Marcantonatos also said there was an active Greek community in Zimbabwe, which he said was the best bridge of friendship between the two countries.
Next to present his letter of credence to President Mugabe was Canada’s new ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Rene Cremonese, who said he was greatly honoured to have been posted to Zimbabwe. “I am very pleased to be in Zimbabwe. It is an honour to have been received today to present my credentials, and I look forward to a very fruitful posting here in Zimbabwe,” he said.
He emphasised on the need to strengthen the people-to-people ties which he said were very strong between the two countries and to explore different facets of the relationship, including commercial and political. “Yes, I am here and I have been accredited to Zimbabwe and that’s obviously what we are trying to do, trying to move forward.”
Nigerian new ambassador to Zimbabwe Mrs Bessong Odeka was excited to be in the country. She said she was looking forward to achieving greater cooperation between Nigeria and Zimbabwe in the economic, political, cultural and social landscape.
“In terms of agriculture, we look forward to greater relations between the two countries,” said Mrs Bessong Odeka, whose country is now diversifying its economy from the petroleum to the agricultural sector. You know Zimbabwe is quite good in the agricultural field, so we need more cooperation.”
She said during her tour of duty, she would ensure and facilitate exchange of senior officials both in the political and other levels between the two countries. “Then I look forward to resuscitating the bilateral commission between the two countries. Before I leave here, I think Nigeria and Zimbabwe will move to much greater heights.”