23 August 2007

Zimbabwe: Country, Pakistan Sign Defence Agreement

Harare — Zimbabwe and Pakistan yesterday signed a defence pact for Pakistani military experts to train members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Secretary for Defence, Mr Trust Maphosa, said the agreement reinforces the cordial relations that already exist between the two countries in the field of defence, particularly in the air force.

In addition to seconding a high-ranking official to Harare, Air Marshal Daud Pota, Pakistan helped train the Air Force of Zimbabwe in the years soon after independence when most of the white pilots left in protest at black majority rule.

"This agreement shall actively promote defence co-operation between the defence forces of our two countries, in accordance with international law and the respective national laws of our two countries," said Mr Maphosa.

Pakistan Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Riffat Iqbal said the agreement marked a milestone in co-operation between Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

"This event marks our desire to continue the relationship we have with Zimbabwe," he said.

"We are hoping that we shall also explore other areas of mutual benefit to both our countries."

Under the agreement, Pakistan's forces would offer training, guidance and defence advice to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

The agreement is valid for two years but is subject to extension. -- New Ziana.

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