Ambassador Stuart Comberbach presented letters of credence appointing him as Zimbabwe’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland at a brief ceremony at the UN’s Palais des Nations headquarters yesterday.
The letters of credence, addressed by President Mnangagwa to the UN Secretary-General, Mr Antonio Guterres, were received by Ms Tatiana Valovaya, director-general of the United Nations office in Geneva.
Witnessing the formal accreditation process were Dr David Chikvaidze, chief of staff in the DG’s office, Mr Sergey Shaposhinov, chief of protocol in the DG’s office and Mr Pearson Chigiji, Minister Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe in Geneva.
Appointed in May 2019 by Mr Guterres, as head of the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG), Ms Valovaya is also the secretary-general of the Conference on Disarmament and the Special Representative of the UN secretary-general to the Conference on Disarmament.
Ambassador Comberbach and the DG exchanged views on multilateralism, as well as on the situation and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe.
Ambassador Comberbach said the vaccine rollout is gaining momentum.
He said his brief from President Mnangagwa was that Zimbabwe was committed to strengthening multilateralism and the international rules-based system.
The DG was appreciative of this commitment and pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic had underlined the importance of multilateralism.
She added that her intention was to turn Geneva into a centre of excellence for hybrid conferencing, incorporating both in-person and virtual participation in meetings.
On disarmament, Ms Valovaya acknowledged the highly-laudable efforts of the former Permanent Representative of Zimbabwe, Ambassador Mushayavanhu, during his tenure as President of the Conference on Disarmament in 2019.
The DG, however, expressed her frustration at the continuing lack of political will within the membership of the Conference to move the deliberations forward.
Ambassador Comberbach expressed the willingness and the readiness of Zimbabwe to engage positively in the Conference on Disarmament.
The meeting ended with Ambassador Comberbach observing that, notwithstanding many years under sanctions, recurrent droughts, the impact of Cyclone Idai and more recently, the Covid-19 pandemic, Zimbabweans were facing the future with optimism and greater confidence.
This was due to increasing evidence of economic recovery on the back of sound fiscal and monetary policies and greater all-round budgetary discipline, an anticipated bumper harvest and hopefulness that the successful vaccine roll-out would see the Covid-19 pandemic being sustainably brought under control and, eventually, eliminated.