4 August 2012

Zimbabwe: 'EU's Actions On Sanctions Meaningless'

Photo: The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa
Zimbabwian President Robert Mugabe (File Photo)

Lusaka — PRESIDENT Mugabe has dismissed as meaningless the European Union's selective removal of people from its sanctions list.

Speaking at a dinner hosted in his honour by his Zambian counterpart President Michael Sata at State House here on Thursday, President Mugabe called for the unconditional lifting of the sanctions.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is here on a state visit.

He will officially open the 86th edition of the Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show today.

"On sanctions, the recent behaviour of the authors of these debilitating restrictions clearly shows that they are failing to garner the moral courage to accept that Zimbabwe has moved on and that their sanctions, which were never justified in the first place, should be removed without preconditions," said President Mugabe.

"The charade, which sees an annual token removal of people from the sanctions' list and the recent purported suspension of the so-called appropriate measures is meaningless as there will be no real change on the overall negative impact of sanctions on our people."

Zimbabwe, said President Mugabe, needed the immediate and unconditional removal of sanctions.

He said Sadc had already spoken with one voice, calling for their removal.

President Mugabe thanked Zambia for its consistent call for the removal of the embargo.

The economy, he said, continued to make progress despite the sanctions.

He cited the fall in inflation and continued growth in such economic sectors as mining and manufactu- ring.

"The parties to the Global Political Agreement are addressing the few remaining issues in the agreement's implementation such as the removal of sanctions, the conclusion of the constitution-making process and the conduct of elections," he said.

President Mugabe applauded the strong bond of friendship and co-operation in various spheres between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

"In this respect, I welcome the outcome of the 16th Session of the Zimbabwe/Zambia Joint Permanent Commission that was held in Zimbabwe, just this past month, which identified further areas of cooperation waiting to be explored," he said.

"Of note is the fact that our two countries remain committed to the joint development of the Batoka Gorge Power Project.

"This project is key to any meaningful development in our countries and the region at large, given the growing power deficit which threatens the region."

President Mugabe said the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding on tourism cooperation between the two countries would result in joint marketing and promotion of tourism products.

He said he was happy that the two countries have already started to jointly market and promote the co-hosting of the 20th Session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly.

In his address, President Sata said the Agricultural and Commercial Show accorded Zambia and Zimbabwe yet another opportunity to strengthen the already warm historical ties.

"Zambia considers Zimbabwe as a strategic partner in the region and therefore your gracing the 86th Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show, where Zimbabwean companies have been participating every year, is of particular significance to the Zambian business fraternity," he said.

President Sata commended President Mugabe and political stakeholders in Zimbabwe for their collective commitment and determination in resolving outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement.

He reaffirmed Zambia's commitment and dedication to working with Zimbabwe for the successful joint hosting of the UNWTO General Assembly next year.

Meanwhile, founding Zambian President Dr Kenneth Kaunda has urged the media to stop demonising President Mugabe, whom he said belonged to the revolutionary class of fighters.

President Mugabe, in turn, described Dr Kaunda as the "greatest man" in Southern Africa.

Dr Kaunda made the remarks after President Mugabe paid him a courtesy call at his Children of Africa Foundation offices in Lusaka yesterday.

He said it was wrong for the media to castigate President Mugabe over the land reform exercise when in fact it was the British who reneged on an agreement to fund the land redistribution programme in Zimbabwe, leading to the current political impasse between Harare and London.

"I must point out that this question of trying to demonise you, I have said it several times, do not demonise Cde Mugabe," said Dr Kaunda.

"He persuaded Magaret Thatcher, a Conservative in London, to see his sense and she agreed and Cde Mugabe was working on that programme and the Labour Party came in and changed that and demonised him.

"I am saying Cde President, continue with what you are doing. We are proud of you.

"You belong to that class of fighters and no doubt you continue to do that. We are very proud of you. Please continue to express that love for the continent with your honest words."

President Mugabe said his meeting with Dr Kaunda was "a great and moving moment".

"It is a moment quite great and moving to be with you once again. A moment, KK, which revive memories of the long struggle," he said.

President Mugabe went on to narrate the role Dr Kaunda played not only in the liberation of then Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), but the whole of Southern Africa.

He said Dr Kaunda was a liberation icon.

"You first led Northern Rhodesia to go into extinction so Zambia could emerge," he said. "That also was the basis of our own struggle.

"We cannot repay you except through generosity and expression of our gratitude."

President Mugabe said Dr Kaunda was also the greatest man in Southern Africa.

"Have you ever heard that KK is a great man in Africa? We have to do it ourselves. He is our great man, greater than anyone else in this region. Then there is Nyerere, they are the greatest of us all. We followed, Mandela followed...," he said.

President Mugabe challenged the media to speak highly of the founding fathers of the liberation struggle in the region instead of suppressing them.

He told Dr Kaunda that he was happy to have President Michael Sata leading Zambia.

"We are happy we have here President Sata who worked with you in those old days, who remembers the sacrifice and your status. This is what is proper... This is what the revolution yields," he said.

President Mugabe later toured two Zambian companies, Saro and Zambeef.

Saro manufactures farming implements, while Zambeef is a diversified meat processing company located just outside Lusaka.

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