SWEDEN has expressed its willingness to re-engage Zimbabwe and improve bilateral ties following President Mugabe's resounding victory in the July 31 harmonised elections.The remarks to re-engage Zimbabwe comes after Germany, France, the Netherlands and Norway confirmed their readiness to re-engage the country.
During a courtesy call on Senior Minister of State Simon Khaya Moyo at his Munhumutapa offices yesterday, Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Lars Ronnas said his country was committed to reviving the once cordial and friendly relations.
"It's the second time I have served here. I once served as Ambassador in the 90s. It's a great country and we have a long standing relationship," said Mr Ronnas.
"There is a process to move away from them (sanctions), that is why I am here to see how we can build trust and find common ground."
Mr Ronnas said it was time to look ahead and forget the past.
"I think we have been in Zimbabwe even during the difficult years. We have, I believe, been key in supporting education through Unicef and UNFPA and we expect that to continue," he said.
"It's my hope that we are able to talk and find a way of moving forward. Sweden will remain committed to economic, business and commercial ties."
Mr Ronnas commended Zimbabwe for its new Constitution, which he described as a landmark development for the country. He said Sweden would strive to convey a positive message to the world in order to see relations with Zimbabwe being promoted.
Minister Khaya Moyo briefed Mr Ronnas that Government was ready to work with the European Union, but the illegal sanctions should go.
"Let us open a new page . . . the issue between Britain and us is a bilateral matter. We used to sell a lot of beef to Europe. Our beef was one of the best. We used to export over 9 000 tonnes of beef to the EU. Let us make sure we revive this and increase the trade," he said.
The new Government, said Minister Khaya Moyo, was committed to re-establishing economic ties that had been cut off by the illegal sanctions and caused untold suffering to the people of Zimbabwe.
"We are looking at going forward to resuscitate the excellent relations with a great country. We are hospitable people. We enjoy peace and tranquillity . . . ," he said.
He pointed out to Mr Ronnas that Zimbabwe would not accept to deal with countries with double standards.
"Let's avoid double standards. We are a very open Government with a charismatic leadership," he said. "If you decide to keep the illegal sanctions our people are resilient and will continue to work with countries that want to work with us."
Minister Khaya Moyo said Zanu-PF had resoundingly won the elections and the outcome has been accepted and endorsed by the region, and lately the United Nations.
"We should move away from this notion of a stolen election because as a country we will not accept double standards," he said.