Monday, November 04, 2013

(HERALD ZW) West ready to enagage Zimbabwe
October 11, 2013 Obert Chifamba Headlines, Top Stories
Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter

GERMANY, France, the Netherlands and Norway yesterday expressed willingness to engage the new Government politically and economically following Zanu-PF’s resounding victory in the July 31 harmonised elections. This was said by incoming diplomats from the four European countries who presented their credentials to President Mugabe yesterday.

The ambassadors, who spoke hours after UN secretary-general Mr Ban Ki-moon congratulated President Mugabe on his re-election, said they had specific instructions from their capitals to start a new relationship with Harare.

Relations between Zimbabwe and the European bloc hit rock bottom after Britain internationalised its bilateral tiff with Zimbabwe.

A source who attended a meeting between President Mugabe and incoming French ambassador, Mr Laurent Delahouse, said President Mugabe brought to the fore the illegal economic sanctions as they relate to Zimbabwe’s economic interaction with the rest of the world and the country’s capacity to export its minerals and flowers.

The source said the President told the French chief diplomat to Zimbabwe that he was not interested in romantic trips to Western capitals.

The President said: “We don’t want to visit Paris. I don’t want your girls. I do not want to visit Paris for romantic purposes. I want to develop relations between us.”

The source said President Mugabe notified Mr Delahouse that some well-meaning ambassadors from Europe to Zimbabwe got contaminated by old ambassadors who had been here for much longer.

The President said France should do a national introspection on whether or not it was right to continue with the policy of sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The source said President Mugabe said there was a group of European countries that called itself Friends of Zimbabwe which did exactly the opposite of what was expected of a true friend.

In turn, Mr Belahouse is said to have replied: “More and more of us in the EU are beginning to share Zimbabwe’s analysis and we now need a new strategy for engaging Zimbabwe outside sanctions and that is why we are reviewing the process.”

He mentioned that the EU operated on the principle of compromise and that tended to inhibit scope for individual countries’ actions.

The source said Mr Belahouse confided in President Mugabe that the policy of sanctions against Zimbabwe was undergoing a review which seemed to be taking a positive direction as exemplified by the removal of ZMDC from the sanctions list.

The French ambassador is said to have told the President that France had only one farm that was affected during the land reform programme which was under BIPPA and that there were measures to correct that situation.

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