Zim, Australia to upscale economic, political ties President Mnangagwa receives credentials from Ambassador Designate for Australia, Ms Minoli Tehani Perera, at State House in Harare yesterday. - Picture: Innocent Makawa

Blessings Chidakwa

Herald Reporter

Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement efforts continue to yield positive results with Australia yesterday expressing keenness to upscale relations with Zimbabwe especially in the areas of mining and agriculture while also broadening cooperation in other sectors.

Incoming Australian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Minoli Tehani Perera revealed this after presenting her credentials to President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare.

Ambassador Tehani Perera said dialogue was the way to go in some areas in which the two nations were having differences.

Among clear signs of cordial bilateral relations in the trade and investment sectors, Australian firm Invictus Energy was exploring gas and oil prospects in Muzarabani, thanks to the engagement and re-engagement thrust by the Second Republic.

Australia Stock Exchange-listed Prospect Resources, also had a major stake in Arcadia Lithium Mine in Goromonzi before selling it to Chinese firm Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Limited.

Speaking to journalists after meeting with the President at State House, Ambassador Tehani Perera who replaces Ms Bronte Moules, said the two talked about the solid long-standing relationship between Australia and Zimbabwe.

“We are very keen to ensure that the relationship grows and is strengthened. Also that it matures and goes beyond the traditional areas of cooperation that these two countries have,” she said.

“Of course, the mining and agriculture sectors are something that we have very much in common and learnt from each other for many years in various parts of those sectors. We would like to see our cooperation being broadened across many other sectors.”

On political relations that had been frosty in the past, Ambassador Tehani Perera said: “We are truly over the hump.

“There are still things, as close partners, we will not always agree on everything but the important thing is to know and acknowledge that dialogue in any relationship is the most important thing.

“We can talk through areas not just where we cooperate and have mutual or shared interest, but also on some of the issues that we might have different views on,” she said.

Ambassador Tehani Perera however, said she was looking forward to starting work in Harare as Zimbabwe and Australia had long-standing people to people relations.

“We talked about the humanitarian work that Australia has done in Zimbabwe which has been very much well received.  We can say the benefits of that work are commended.

“The President, on his commitment to upholding the Constitution and moving into elections this year, I feel very honoured to actually be starting my term in such an important year for Zimbabwe,” said Ambassador Tehani Perera.

She said she was keen to learn

through the election process together with Zimbabweans.

Ambassador Tehani Perera who holds a Bachelor of Economics from La Trobe University, Melbourne, is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Chief Security Officer.

She has previously served overseas as Minister/Counsellor, Australian Embassy, Beijing (2014-2018), Minister/Counsellor, Australian High Commission, Port Moresby (2011-2013), Deputy Consul-General, Australian Consulate-General, New York (2008-2010).

Ambassador Tehani Perera also served as First Secretary, then Counsellor, Australian Embassy, in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2002-2005); and Second Secretary, Australian Embassy, Tel Aviv, Israel (1997-1999).

In Canberra she served with DFAT as Assistant Secretary, Security Policy Branch (2019-2020), Assistant Secretary Strategy and Property Services Branch (2013-2014) and Director Financial Performance Section (2006-2008).

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