Zim-EU dialogue resumes
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe and the European Union are set to resume dialogue this month as part of re-engagement efforts the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa is undertaking, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo has said.
He said the sanctions imposed by the Western bloc, though unwarranted, were a temporary setback.
Minister Moyo also criticised the renewal of sanctions on Zimbabwe by the United States, but said they will not deter the formidable trajectory taken by the country to a new destiny of economic prosperity through Vision 2030.
US President Donald Trump this week renewed the illegal sanctions imposed on Zanu-PF, individuals and companies supporting the Second Republic in its efforts to turn around the fortunes of the economy.
In a speech read on his behalf by secretary in the ministry, Ambassador James Manzou, before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, Minister Moyo said informal dialogue with the EU was launched last month.
The committee is chaired by Makonde MP Cde Kindness Paradza (Zanu-PF).
“This (the February contact) represented the first informal exchange between the Government and the EU in the context of resuscitating the formal political dialogue, with the dialogue set to continue this month,” said Minister Moyo.
“This is despite the EU renewing their unwarranted sanctions on Zimbabwe, obviously under pressure from the hawks within the EU bloc who are bent on seeing the country continue to be isolated from international engagements.
“In spite of this temporary setback, we are confident that the resumption of dialogue with the EU is a precursor for further beneficial engagements with other Western countries such as the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.”
Minister Moyo said the Commonwealth was also ready to continue re-engagement and will send a delegation to Harare in the next few months to assess the situation following the group’s observation of the July 30, 2018 harmonised elections.
“The mood is positive among Commonwealth members,” he said.
“There is readiness from us to continue engaging them.”
Minister Moyo said Government had laid enough foundation for effective future relations with the US despite Washington extending its illegal sanctions against Harare.
“Two US Senators Jeff Flake and Chris Coons visited the country in April 2018 to discuss Zimbabwe-US relations,” he said.
“While the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act regrettably remains in place, the new dispensation has laid a firm foundation for future relations with the US.”
Minister Moyo said Zimbabwe’s re-engagement efforts were a key component of the ministry’s focus in the new dispensation.
In a statement on the US illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, Minister Moyo said the renewal of the sanctions was tantamount to “political agenda setting”.
“In maintaining sanctions, the USA has lost a rare opportunity to demonstrate its goodwill in normalising our relationship,” he said.
Minister Moyo said the Second Republic would not be distracted from pursuing its deliberate political, economic and social agenda from whatever quarters.
He said reforms which opened the political space to all players prior to the landmark harmonised elections last year.
“So too will economic reforms that have opened the business operating environment, including the liberalisation of the investment laws and fiscal and monetary policies,” said Minister Moyo.
“In all its actions, the Second Republic shall be guided by the paradigms of maximising on national interests and the improvement of the general welfare of its citizenry.
“The very admission by the USA and others that the July 2018 harmonised elections represented a remarkable improvement in the democratic path of the Second Republic is an endorsement that we are on the right path to our destiny and encourages us to pursue further mutually beneficial engagements with the USA and indeed all the other nations of goodwill.”