SB Moyo, US Assistant Secretary hold fruitful talks

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa is keen to close the long chapter of suspicion between Zimbabwe and the United States (US) so that the two countries can be on the same barometer, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo, has said.

In a virtual meeting on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) debate that is being held virtually because of Covid-19, Dr Moyo told US Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, Ambassador Tibor Nagy that Washington, which maintains illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, has to change its attitude.

“Our appeal is that the US reviews its attitude and policy generally on Zimbabwe so that we can be on the same barometer. There has been quite a long time of suspicion between this country and the United States over a long period of time. But that is exactly the chapter which His Excellency the President wants to close so that we could move forward as two countries which have strategic interests which we share together.

“I raised this matter with Ambassador Brian (Nichols) and I said I think this is the time for the US and Zimbabwe to start to look at the bigger strategic issues and then try and soften the soft matters so that we move towards normalisation of our relations,” said Dr Moyo.

The Second Republic, under the leadership of President Mnangagwa, has made engagement and re-engagement with all nations a key priority. However, despite the good intentions from Zimbabwe, some countries remain hostile mostly due to a blizzard of misinformation that emanates from both internal and external detractors.

Notwithstanding that, some US companies such as agricultural equipment giant, John Deere, have come to invest in Zimbabwe as the Government re-engagement drive starts to bear fruit.

On his part, Ambassador Nagy said he looked forward to further collaboration between Zimbabwe and the US, especially on tackling the threat posed by insurgents in the northern part of Mozambique.

“It will be wonderful like I said I would love Zimbabwe to be the star of the year, where we can point to the kind of things that have happened and some of the positive developments around Africa. We very much look forward to our own collaboration and discussions.

“Thank you for the excellent work of your wonderful ambassador here in Washington. I really miss the ability to be able to get a person to person contact with my African colleagues here. We will do our best to meet more frequently and as I said at the beginning, I loved Harare. It is one of my favourite cities in the world and I wish I was there,” said Ambassador Nagy.

The two countries also discussed the security situation in Mozambique where insurgents were threatening not only the stability of that country, but also the region.

“I was very concerned with the situation in Mozambique, it seemed to be like the trend line in Mozambique; it was very similar to what I studied over the years with Boko Haram in Nigeria.

“Unfortunately, my prediction is turning out to be true and the Mozambicans are growing serious security problems on the northern border so in that regard I think there is a definite area for possible cooperation and discussions through our ambassador in Harare with your Government to see how we can jointly work with SADC to try to stop that before it starts.

“I remember the President telling me that Zimbabwe is very genuinely concerned regarding the route from Beira to Zimbabwe so this directly impacts us as far as global terrorism is concerned,” said Ambassador Nagy.

Dr Moyo said Zimbabwe was taking the threat in Mozambique seriously as it could destabilise the region.

“We appreciate that very much because that is an area of concern, not only for Zimbabwe in terms of its lifeline but also in terms of regional security generally. It might be widespread and end up in our countries.”

Dr Moyo also went down memory lane reminiscing on the joint UN missions carried by Zimbabwe and the US in Somalia and Angola.

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