PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said his visit to the United Kingdom (UK) for this week’s global climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, shows that Zimbabwe’s re-engagement policy is working.
Posting on his Facebook page after being welcomed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mnangagwa said he was delighted to visit the UK.
“Thank you to PM Boris Johnson and (United Nations secretary general) Antonio Guterres for welcoming me to #COP26.
“As the first president of Zimbabwe to visit the United Kingdom in a quarter of a century, it is clear that re-engagement is working,” Mnangagwa wrote.
This comes after Mnangagwa said he is hoping to meet Johnson to discuss bilateral issues affecting the two nations.
Speaking during the Zanu PF annual conference in Bindura over the weekend, Mnangagwa said he had lined up meetings with a number of presidents.
“I will travel to Glasgow in the United Kingdom after over two decades have passed without Zimbabwe leadership going to the UK.
“I have been invited by Boris Johnson and he has indicated that he might meet me in Glasgow one-on-one, as well as other leaders like the prime minister of India.
“We will be meeting them on Monday and Tuesday,” Mnangagwa said amid ululation from Zanu PF delegates.
His trip to the UK is the first by a sitting Zimbabwean leader in two decades.
It represents a significant opportunity for Harare to mend its lukewarm relationship with its former colonial master and other Western powers.
Whitehall has made it clear of its intentions to increase trade with Harare.
In an assessment of Zimbabwe’s political and economic environment, the UK said while Harare still had a long way to go to get things right since the end of the ruinous rule of the late president Robert Mugabe, it had noticed some improvements in some areas in the country.
This comes after the United States of America (USA) also recently extended a similar olive branch to Harare, after it encouraged its companies to invest in Zimbabwe — while blaming Mugabe squarely for being the author of the country’s decades-long political and economic crises.
“It should be noted that … targeted sanctions … (are) not intended to deter trade and investment with Zimbabwe.
“Indeed, the UK continues to work with Zimbabwe to increase bilateral trade, with the UK-ESA Economic Partnership Agreement coming into force on 1st January 2021,” the UK said.
The UK-ESA Economic Partnership Agreement refers to trade agreements between Britain and East and Southern African states — which aim to promote increased trade and investment between London and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Britain also said it had noted the efforts by Zimbabwe to fulfil some of the promises that were made by Mnangagwa when he replaced Mugabe in November 2017. – Daily News.