Columbus Mabika Herald Reporter
Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Philip Valerio Sibanda has hailed the historic cordial relations that exist between Zimbabwe and Russia which date back to the days of the liberation struggle when it supplied arms.
Gen Sibanda said this on Tuesday in Domboshava while bidding farewell to a ZDF contingent set to take part in the Russia military games scheduled to start on August 3.
“Zimbabwe and Russia have enjoyed a cordial relationship since the time of the liberation struggle,” said Gen Sibanda.
“Russia then known as the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republic), together with other countries from eastern Europe and Asia, played a pivotal role in the liberation of Zimbabwe. It is these countries that provided ammunition, arms, training facilities and logistical support to both ZANLA and ZIPRA the military wings of ZANU PF and ZAPU. Since 39 years ago, our relations with these countries continue to grow from strength to strength.
“It is against this background that these games play a critical role in cementing relations with likeminded nations that participate in these games, in particular the host Russia.”
Gen Sibanda said Zimbabwe has long-standing political ties with Russia, and the drive now is to unlock the economic partnership which the global power offers as the country seeks to establish an upper middle income economy by 2030.
He said the games on the other hand embody the engagement and re-engagement thrust that has characterised President Mnangagwa’s foreign policy since November 2017.
Gen Sibanda added that the ZDF team is set to contest for honours in six disciplines.
President Mnangagwa, in January this year, held key talks with Russia President Vladimir Putin, to centre deliberations on key economic deals as well as matters of mutual concern on the international arena.
Presently cooperation between Russia and Zimbabwe is defined within the context of a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and the Zimbabwe-Russia Joint Commission.
While in Russia, President Mnangagwa and President Putin also talked on the advancement of the US$3 billion by Moscow for the Darwendale platinum project, a joint mining and beneficiation venture.
Last week, Government signed a joint venture agreement with ALROSA, a Russian partially state-owned diamond mining company, for the exploration, extraction and marketing of diamonds, in a development expected to transform the country’s diamond sector.