Source: Mnangagwa in fruitful talks with UK, Botswana envoys | The Herald May 21, 2016
Felex Share Senior Reporter
Britain yesterday expressed satisfaction with Zimbabwe’s re-engagement efforts with multilateral financial institutions saying discussions between the respective parties were progressing well. Speaking after meeting Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare, British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Catriona Laing said the efforts would pay off.
“We have just had a candid, constructive and respectful discussion where we covered a range of issues starting with the current liquidity crisis and the measures Government has put in place,” Ms Laing said.
“Along that I emphasised the need for people to have confidence when the measures are effected. We then moved to the process of re-engagement with the international financial institutions which is broadly going well. But I emphasised the importance of the times being right. We are looking forward to seeing these economic reforms, we had a good discussion on that.”
Zimbabwe owes the African Development Bank about $600 million, the World Bank over $1 billion and the International Monetary Fund about $120 million and intends to clear the arrears this year.
Its debt clearance strategy has been well received by creditors.
Ms Laing said they discussed human rights issues as well as 2018 election preparations.
“I raised cases which are concerning us at the moment,” she said.
“Whilst we recognise good progress on preparing, for example the land audit and bankable leases, unfortunately there are still live land grab cases going on, many which concern the ministers in the United Kingdom. We talked about these cases and the need for them to be resolved peacefully through the courts.”
She added: “We talked about the preparations for the elections and the importance of putting in place reforms recommended by Sadc and the African Union such that the opposition will feel confident to participate in free and fair elections. Lastly, we talked about our bilateral dialogue. We now have a formal dialogue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where we talk about issues of concern to the two countries and that is progressing well.”
Acting President Mnangagwa also met outgoing Botswana Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Kenny Kapinga who said their deliberations covered a variety of issues. “We discussed the state of relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana and I was happy to hear him expressing happiness over that,” he said.
“We also talked over broad, variety of issues and one thing I want to bring out is that we have committed our countries to working closely together on wildlife conservation. Botswana and Zimbabwe host the largest population of elephants and the two are spending resources to protect their wildlife. Therefore, we need to work closely to ensure our interests at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) are protected so that this wildlife does not become a burden on our people but a benefit.”
Mr Kapinga added: “We also spoke on the level of cooperation, trust and confidence between our security agencies. He expressed gratitude that they have flexible arrangements and one can pick up a phone and call his counterpart, which is important for the security of both countries.
“We spoke on economic issues, mining being one of them and the need for us to work together to share experiences and expertise. The major issue was the energy deficit in the region and initiatives being undertaken to address that deficit.”