Tuesday, February 15, 2011
By: Our reporter
Posted: Sunday, February 13, 2011 5:36 am
THE foreign minister of China on Friday pushed for the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe, saying no country has a right to dictate the internal affairs of another nation.
Ironically, the statement was made in the presence of Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, whose MDC-T party has been directly involved in the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Starting in 2002, the European Union and the United States imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe blames the sanctions forZimbabwe's economic woes.
During a two-day visit to Harare, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said that "China believes that Africans have the right to choose their own way of development, as they are masters of the African continent. All others are just guests."
"We think that (lifting sanctions) is the voice of the Zimbabwean people, and that is also the view of all the parties concerned here in Zimbabwe," Yang said.
"We believe all nations should respect each others sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said.
Yang added that China appreciates assistance from Africa and would also continue to reciprocate the support.
He also described Zimbabwe as a "brother" saying the two countries had identified areas for further cooperation such as infrastructure, agriculture, water conversation and personnel training.
As part of his trip, China extended an additional 50 million yuan ($7.5 million) in aid to Zimbabwe.
In addition, Yang and Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi signed an agreement on behalf of the two countries.
According to Xinhua news agency, President Mugabe on Friday said sanctions flew in the face of a 1979 agreement with Great Britain that land would be redistributed to compensate farmers.
"The Western countries have imposed sanctions on us for taking our land, although we had discussed this in 1979," he said. "That is what started the problem."
Last December, President Mugabe threatened to seize all Western-owned investments in the country that did not speak against sanctions.
He said at the time that "the time has come for ... revenge" and suggested that Zimbabwe's Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act -- which requires foreign companies with an annual turnover of US$500,000 to transfer 51% of their investments to indigenous Zimbabweans -- did not go far enough.
Mugabe said last December that he was tired of working with the opposition party, which he said "lacked ideology and policies." He termed the unity government a "creature."
At the time, he warned Western diplomats not to interfere in Zimbabwe's elections, which he said would be held next year. He said the West had contributed to his party's defeat in 2008.
Despite isolation from the West, Mugabe's supporters include his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.