3 January 2018

Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa Charms Aussie Ambassador, Envoy Says President 'So Open Minded'

Outgoing Australian Ambassador said President Emmerson Mnangagwa "is so open-minded" that she is confident both countries can now start serious business after years of frosty relationship.

Suzanne McCourt said this on Wednesday after bidding farewell to Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa offices ending her tour of duty which started in 2015.

"I am encouraged by the frank discussions I had with President Mnangagwa, he is so open-minded and I am optimistic that bi-lateral relations will now turn for the better," Ambassador McCourt said.

She said Mnangagwa's government presented both countries with an opportunity to move on.

She said: "Certainly the messaging from His Excellency, the President, has been very positive, wanting to be open for business, wanting to re-engage with countries. The past conversations have not been frank and the fact that I have just had a meeting with His Excellency, the President, is an indication of that. So I am very confident that we can move on and be in a positive development."

"It has been a hectic and busy time for all of Zimbabwe and the world has been watching Zimbabwe and hoping that Zimbabwe becomes the country that it deserves to be; economically strong, and a place where people live freely and happily and can meet their full potential. Zimbabweans are an amazing group of people and we hope for the best," she added.

The Australian envoy said her discussions with President Mnangagwa centred on issues of "mutual interest" adding "that is how we can build the bilateral relationship between Australia and Zimbabwe".

"We are grateful that we have many things and interests in common. One of those is the mining sector, an interest in developing the mining sector in Zimbabwe. There are many Australian companies who have expertise in mining in Africa. I hope this is one area we can develop, going forward," she said.

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