Zimbabwe: Zim to Engage Trump

19 March 2019

Zimbabwe will continue to engage American President Donald Trump's administration to ensure removal of illegal sanctions which Washington imposed on the nation, hurting the economy, President Mnangagwa has said.

In an interview with foreign media on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said his Government was engaging the Americans to impress upon them the need for the removal of the economic embargo, which has suffocated the economy for almost two decades.

President Mnangagwa, who has since returned home, said: "There is nothing new about renewal of the old sanctions. They have been there for nearly two decades and so there is nothing new to us. It may be new to other people, but we are busy now engaging the Trump administration to understand that there is no quarrel between the people of Zimbabwe and the American people."

President Mnangagwa said it was necessary that the Americans understand the conditions under which the sanctions were imposed.

"It is necessary that they appreciate the conditions under which we are," he said. "Of course, at the time those sanctions were imposed, this was during the leadership of Prime Minister Tony Blair who was in England, and President George Bush.

"At the time, President Bush had problems with Iraq and when he went to the United Nations seeking the authority and support of the United Nations Security Council he did not succeed, so there was a coalition of willing partners. Britain was one of the willing partners under Mr Tony Blair and in exchange Mr Blair had a bilateral problem with Zimbabwe because we had taken our land back from the settlers and as a result of that, as Mr Blair was supporting Mr George Bush on Iraq, Mr Bush had to support Mr Blair on Zimbabwe by imposition of those sanctions."

President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe will use her abundant natural and human resources to develop.

"But all that as far as we are concerned is behind us," he said. "We must develop our country on the basis of the resources which we have. The human skills base which we have in Zimbabwe, we are one of the most elite countries on the continent.

"We believe that we are on the right track in our pursuit to modernise the economy."

President Mnangagwa said US sanctions were hurting the economy, saying the embargo denied Zimbabwe access to international lines of credit.

"But Zimbabwe today is where it is, we have survived with resilience on the basis of our own domestic resources and this is why we are saying we would want the ZIDERA sanctions lifted because they are unconstitutional and they hurt the people of Zimbabwe, not individuals, but the economy," he said.

"It denies us access to foreign capital as well as lines of credit."

President Mnangagwa dismissed the notion that his administration was considering Russia and China as alternatives to a hostile US administration.

"We believe that every single member of the United Nations should be friendly to the other member states, but we would also wish that America should relate to us as we would want to relate with them," he said.

"Russia and China have never imposed sanctions on us and so we continue to relate with them and that is the same status that we would want America to do. We believe that America is a very important player in international affairs in the same manner China is or Russia is.

"So, we believe that these major players in an international economy should stretch out their hands to small economies, to small nations like us and see us develop also."

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