Ranga Mataire-Deputy Editor
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Frederick Shava, has embarked on an engagement and re-engagement mission to Europe that will see him interact with Foreign Ministers of France, Belgium, Italy and Serbia.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade spokesperson, Mrs Constance Chemwayi, said the visit by the Minister to Europe was part of the Government’s initiative to engage countries in the European bloc and apprise them of the situation obtaining in the country including enticing them to invest in various sectors of the economy.
“The Honourable Minister would seek to advance the respective bilateral relations by promoting investment and trade. He would also use his attendance at two multilateral fora in Italy and Serbia, the Italy-Africa conference and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference to rally multilateral support for Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement with the international community,” said Mrs Chemwayi.
The Italy-Africa summit will be held on October 8, 2021. This will be the third conference of such kind after the first one in 2016. The conference is expected to bring together delegations from 54 African countries, institutions, business and academia.
This year’s summit coincides with Italy’s G20 Presidency and is themed: “People, Planet, Prosperity”.
Besides the Italy-Africa conference, Minister Shava is scheduled to attend the Non-Aligned Movement’s 60th anniversary on October 11 and 12 in Belgrade. The organisation was formed in 1961.
According to a statement from Serbia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Nikola Selakovic his country would organise the important jubilee of non-aligned countries together with Azerbaijan, which is currently chairing NAM.
President Josip Broz Tito of Serbia was one of the founders of NAM whose objectives include the creation of a vision of a different world.
Minister Selakovic said NAM has been throughout its history a beacon of freedom to all those who sought the right to existence and prosperity in a world that was often ruled not by force of law, but by the law of force.
“The spirit of non-alignment is based on equality, freedom, lasting peace, sovereign equality of states and peaceful cooperation of all peoples, and these values are also woven into the state-building foundations of Serbia,” Minister Selakovic said.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic had clearly shown that inequality, lack of solidarity and empathy in the world have become very obvious in the roughest way. Zimbabwe enjoys cordial relations with Serbia.
The two countries in August this year agreed to work on re-establishing diplomatic ties that will see the two countries cooperating on various issues of development. The Serbian Foreign Minister visited the country in August and interacted with his Zimbabwean counterpart where they agreed to establish diplomatic missions.
The two ministers also signed a Covid-19 vaccine donation agreement under which Serbia pledged to donate 30 000 Sputnik V vaccine doses.