Tuesday, March 26, 2013

(STICKY) (SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Britain in major climbdown on Zimbabwe

COMMENT - So the British equivalent of the CFR, Chatham House, is going to part of these negotiations? Just a reminder, De Beers is the biggest diamond miner in the world, and it is clear who owns De Beers. Also, now it is clear why the old intelligence service hacks like the Zimbabwe Vigil are agitating against Patrick Chinamasa.

Britain in major climbdown on Zimbabwe
Saturday, 23 March 2013 20:33
Kuda Bwititi

In a move that signals a major policy climbdown, the British government has invited Zimbabwe’s re-engagement team for talks aimed at exploring ways of restoring diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The invitation marks the first time London has formally sought to resolve its longstanding bilateral dispute with Harare spanning 14 years.

The re-engagement team — comprising Global Political Agreement (GPA) negotiators Cde Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu-PF); Mr Elton Mangoma (MDC-T) and Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga — is scheduled to set off for the meeting today.

Cde Chinamasa told The Sunday Mail yesterday that the British Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Mark Simmonds, sent an invitation letter to the Zimbabwe Government recently.

He said the invitation was a sign that Britain intends to lay the path for a new chapter on Zimbabwe.

“We have been invited by Britain through its Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Mark Simmonds,” he said. “For us, it could be an indication that Britain realises that its foreign policy on Zimbabwe is collapsing and they want to embark on a new path.

“Events will tell, but, Britain should realise that its foreign policy on Zimbabwe is not sustainable.”

Cde Chinamasa said his team will use the interface to call for the unconditional scrapping of sanctions on Zimbabwe and also reject foreign interference in domestic processes.

He added that advocating the shutting down of pirate radio stations that are beaming into the country through international donor funding is also on the agenda.

The Zimbabwe-Britain meeting will also involve representatives from other countries that include the United States, Canada and Australia as well as the European Union.

In addition, British think tank Chatham and members of the House of Commons will take part in the deliberations. “Besides Britain, we are going to engage representatives of countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe which are EU member states, Australia, Canada and the US.

“Some of them are actually calling themselves ‘Friends of Zimbabwe’, which is a misnomer because they have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.

“We will use the platform to call for three main issues which are: the unconditional lifting of sanctions; the demand for these countries not to interfere in our internal affairs, especially through non-governmental organisations as well as to inform them that we are going to implement the closure of pirate radio stations as required by the GPA.”

The re-engagement team was set up by the inclusive Government to help restore normal relations between Zimbabwe and the West.

Since its appointment, the team has met Western government representatives.

Relations between Britain and the Southern African state soured after the former colonial power reneged on its obligation to finance the historic land reform programme, which corrected land distribution imbalances that disadvantaged the majority. London internationalised the bilateral dispute by peddling falsehoods about Harare’s adherance to the rule of law and human rights and ultimately convinced its Western allies to impose sanctions.

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