Felex Share, Harare Bureau
FIVE newly-appointed ambassadors yesterday presented their credentials to President Mnangagwa and pledged to take their relations with Zimbabwe to higher levels by focusing on commercial diplomacy.
The envoys are from China (Mr Guo Shaochun), Portugal (Mr Miguel Calheiros), Thailand (Mr Komate Kamalanavin), Indonesia (Mr Dewa Juniarta Sastrawan) and Qatar (Mr Abdulla Jaber).
Mr Guo said China-Zimbabwe relations—which have a comprehensive strategic partnership status—will continue to flourish with much attention being paid to economic and trade.
“Today we are enjoying our time on our relationship and we have made great achievements on the practical cooperation,” he said.
“We are confident that we will have more successful cooperation in the future. We have very strong political mutual trust and we support each other. I think you have already seen a series of important projects being complemented and successfully launched.”
He added that China was ready to support Zimbabwe with food aid this year saying “we are two friends, brothers and partner and so we have the pleasure to give assistance.”
China and Zimbabwe have agreements cutting across various economic sectors which are being implemented while some have already been commissioned.
This week, President Mnangagwa commissioned US$23,6 million the national backbone fibre link in Beitbridge that Mr Jaber said his major task was ensuring the deals sealed when President Mnangagwa visited Qatar last year bear fruits.
“My duty is to follow on the deals what were discussed when your President visited Qatar last year,” he said.
“We were discussing (with President Mnangagwa) on the exchanges of delegations and specialists in those areas. Hopefully, we can reach our goal of making some joint ventures especially in the areas of investment and trade. This is the relationship between countries these days. Our countries have good political relations and we now have to enhance our relations economically.”
Possible areas of cooperation with the Gulf Nation are in the field of education, energy, infrastructure and tourism.
Mr Sastrawan said the support Zimbabwe gave to Indonesia in its bid for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council was evidence of thriving relations.
“We have very well established political relations and the support of Zimbabwe in our bid articulate that relationship,” he said.
“It is now time to reap rewards from this political relationship and enhance economic relations. We discussed with the President how we will work on that. We talked about our project that is in the pipeline and how we will increase economic cooperation, trade and investment. We import a lot of cotton here because we are into textiles. In future we want to see how then we can do more. We also want to increase co-operation in mining. We also want to import some minerals from Zimbabwe.”
Thailand’s new envoy Mr Kamalanavin said: “I told the President that our countries have established diplomatic relations for 34 years. The relations have been very cordial and friendly but I think we both need to find potential to expand relations in all sectors where there is trade economic cultural tourism activities. This is a very beautiful country and we should not only connect at government level but also people to people level. We welcome you to visit our country and we want to bring in more Thai people to visit your country. We have a very bright future together.”
Mr Calheiros said he was coming to enhance bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Portugal.
“I will do my best. I am beginning to love your country, to learn about the people and in the next weeks I hope to have more knowledge.”