Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe and Serbia have agreed to work on re-establishing diplomatic ties that will see the two countries cooperating on various issues of development as the engagement and re-engagement efforts of the second Republic bear fruit.
Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Nikola Selakovic arrived in the country yesterday and met with his Zimbabwean counterpart Dr Frederick Shava where they agreed to re-establish diplomatic missions.
The two ministers also signed a Covid-19 vaccine donation agreement under which Serbia has pledged to donate 30 000 Sputnik V vaccine doses to Zimbabwe.
Mr Selakovic said Serbia intended to continue political cooperation with Zimbabwe.
“The Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Zimbabwe have decades long relations unburdened by colonial past, exploitation and human trafficking. My country has stood firmly and loyally with Africa through the whole period of modern history. Serbia is ready to make its people available to its friends who can help improve some areas.
“The drafting of modern law on development and humanitarian aid is in the process, which should improve and make more efficient, the procedures of approving all forms of aid primarily to the countries of the African continent,” he said.
He said Serbia was aware that development assistance alone would not solve all problems and pledged to support other projects in Zimbabwe in accordance with his country’s priorities and economic capacities.
Mr Selakovic said Serbia had one of the best response mechanisms to the Covid-19 pandemic in South Eastern Europe, which had seen the country manage to control the disease.
“At the beginning of the pandemic our president and government made the decision to establish two taskforces, one in charge of economic issues and the second dealing with the preservation of public health.
“Our young IT experts have established and constituted the special software for tracking the vaccination process. Thanks to this, we have succeeded to organise the vaccination process in one of the most efficient ways in our region,” he added.
Serbia had started production of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in Belgrade and was preparing to start production of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine by end of the year through partnerships with the two countries.
“After the re-establishment of diplomatic missions of our capitals, I am sure that our contact will become more frequent and our governments can re-establish their communication in the other fields so that our ministries can meet and share experiences and find out the issues and spheres of common interest to boost our cooperation,” said Mr Selakovic.
Ambassador Shava said the re-establishment of diplomatic missions in the two countries would cement the relations that Zimbabwe and Serbia shared and boost other areas of cooperation.
“Serbia is responding to our engagement and re-engagement efforts and we have discussed the reopening of Serbia’s mission in Harare.
“We will report to our principals, the intention to reopen our own mission in Belgrade and this is extremely progressive and answers all the re-engagement efforts that Zimbabwe is pursuing at the moment,” he said.
He thanked the Serbia for the donation of Covid-19 vaccines.
“We appreciate your gesture which should be taken further into the future so that we are able to cooperate with you and to exchange technologies that will assist Zimbabwe to also look into the production of vaccines,” said Ambassador Shava.