Saturday, February 22, 2014

(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) ‘President Mugabe is a wise leader’
Sunday, 01 December 2013 00:00

President Mugabe is a wise leader who can play a crucial role in the democratisation of the United Nations, visiting Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla has said. He also condemned the illegal economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West, saying they must be scrapped expeditiously.

In an interview soon after meeting his Zimbabwean counterpart Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi in Harare yesterday, Cde Parrilla said he was highly honoured to have met President Mugabe last Friday.

He said his meeting with the President centred on strategies for greater co-operation between the two countries. “It was a great honour for me to meet a freedom fighter. He is a wise man. I was impressed by his creative approach on how the world body can be more democratic and more inclusive,” he said.

“We had a very fruitful and frank discussion with His Excellency on the UN reforms and the power of the General Assembly. I think you know that we share the same world view.” Also speaking to journalists after yesterday’s meeting, Cde Mumbengegwi said Cde Parrilla’s visit demonstrated “the strong bonds of friendship and brotherly solidarity that exists between the two countries”.

He said Cuba contributed immensely to Zimbabwe’s independence from British colonial rule by providing military training to liberation fighters, among other forms of assistance. He said more than 3 100 Zimbabwean students, specialising in mathematics and science, have graduated from Cuban tertiary education institutions since 1985. The meeting focused on bilateral areas of co-operation.

“The bonds can be traced back to the period of Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence from colonialism and its vestiges,” said Minister Mumbengegwi. “We are mindful that Cuba played a very crucial role in spite of the fact that it was facing its own challenges caused by the cruel and unwarranted embargo imposed by the United States. Cuba was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relationships with Harare. As you all know, Cuba is strong in tourism and services and we are going to make a follow up on how we are going to benefit.”

Minister Mumbengegwi said Zimbabwe was committed to the principles and values of the Non-Aligned Movement, which include sovereign equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of member states, among others. Cde Parrilla arrived in the country on Friday and is expected to leave today.

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