The European Union has acknowledged the Second Republic’s efforts to stabilise the economy and yesterday reaffirmed its commitment to continue supporting Zimbabwe.
Speaking after the Third Session of the Zimbabwe-European Union Article 8 Political Dialogue in Harare yesterday, head of the EU delegation, Ambassador Timo Olkkonen, said economic reforms and the fight against corruption were key in improving the country’s socio-economic outlook.
The political dialogue, which came as relations between Zimbabwe and the EU take a decisive turn for the better, was co-chaired by Ambassador Olkkonen and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Frederick Shava.
The interchange focused on shared aims and areas of collaboration, including trade and investment, Zimbabwe’s Covid-19 response, human rights, humanitarian cooperation as well as other regional and global matters.
“The EU acknowledged Government’s efforts to stabilise the economy and highlighted that economic reforms and the fight against corruption are paramount for Zimbabwe, in particular to mitigate the humanitarian crisis, and improve the socio-economic situation,” said Ambassador Olkkonen.
“The European Union reaffirmed that it stands ready to continue to support the Zimbabwean people in the current challenges, and that entering an economically and environmentally sustainable growth path requires structural reforms by the Government.”
He underscored that yesterday’s discussion was conducted in “an open, cordial and constructive atmosphere.”
Ambassador Olkkonen urged the Government to investigate alleged human rights violations and bring perpetrators to book.
Dr Shava led the Zimbabwean delegation, which comprised Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos and Finance and Economic Development Deputy Minister Clemence Chiduwa.
Ambassador Olkkonen, was accompanied by ambassadors from France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain, among others.
Dr Shava said it was regrettable to note that the EU continues to renew sanctions which beam Zimbabwe in a negative light on the global arena.
He called for the unconditional removal of the remaining so-called restrictive measures, since the country has constructively committed itself to re-engagement efforts.
“Zimbabwe highlighted milestones by the Second Republic, which include the signing of the Global Compensation Deed; the implementation of recommendations made by the Motlanthe Commission as well as the 2018 (harmonised) elections observation missions,” said Dr Shava.
He acknowledged the EU’s spirit of partnerships, chiefly the bloc’s assistance and funding in the country’s fight against Covid-19, saying EU member states are friends of Zimbabwe.
The dialogue is a culmination of the Second Republic’s policy of engagement and re-engagement with the rest of the world.
Following years of frosty relations with the international community after Zimbabwe’s fallout with the United Kingdom over the historic land issue, President Mnangagwa committed himself to reintegrating the country into the global fold upon assuming office in November 2017.
A date is yet to be set for another dialogue, which will be preceded by technical meetings.