Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter
The European Union (EU) is looking forward to closer cooperation with Zimbabwe following encouraging progress made through the national political dialogue process, secretary-general of the European External Action Service, Mr Christian Leffler has said.
Speaking after paying a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa Offices in Harare yesterday, Mr Leffler described the progress outlined by the President on the nation’s political dialogue during their meeting as encouraging.
“We had today, a detailed account from the President on the national dialogue, which I found to be very encouraging and we are confident that by the time we have the next political dialogue at the level of EU and the Zimbabwean authorities, there will be progress to report in this respect and that would help us define the future paths forward for closer cooperation,” said Mr Leffler.
Mr Leffler, whose engagement with President Mnangagwa lasted close to an hour, said the European Union was committed to seeing progress in Zimbabwe.
“I was very honoured to have this meeting with His Excellency, the President. The length of the meeting reflects the strong engagement between Zimbabwe and the commitment the European Union has to Zimbabwe, the nation, the people, to see how we can accomplish progress in this country,” he said.
He said there was also need for a broad national dialogue to anchor the Government’s reform project.
Mr Leffler said this broad national dialogue should include different groupings, which include political groupings in Parliament, the churches, the youths and other sections of the society.
“We indicated our determination to continue to work with this country at all levels, the dialogue and to find ways forward to support the key reform processes in the interest of a stronger and more stable cohesion Zimbabwe that can then bring the economic, social and political benefits to the people,” he said.
Apart from the country’s reform agenda, Mr Leffler said they also discussed post-election disturbances and demonstrations that rocked the country.
Early this month Zimbabwe and the EU launched an historic formal dialogue which was based on Article 8 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement which governs relations between member states of the African-Carribean-Pacific regions and the EU.
The development was a major realisation of President Mnangagwa’s re-engagement policy which seeks to reintegrate Zimbabwe into the international community following previous sour relations.
The next such meeting is expected to be held in November this year following the parties’ agreement to meet twice a year.