Africa Moyo, Harare Bureau
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Dr Sibusiso Moyo, yesterday met two top European Union (EU) representatives in Harare and the parties expressed increased desire to use the existing Free Trade Agreement to improve trade between Zimbabwe and the EU bloc.
Minister Moyo had the closed door meeting with visiting European Commission Development Directorate, Head of Unit Ms Isabelle Delattre and EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Timo Olkkonen.
The trio discussed cooperation between Zimbabwe and the EU, the current situation and future perspectives.
The EU envoys took the opportunity to encourage and urge Government to do everything in its power to locate Dr Peter Magombeyi.
Dr Magombeyi has since been located.
Said Ambassador Olkkonen after meeting Minister Moyo; “We were talking particularly about trade, our Free Trade Agreement, that we have between our European Union and Zimbabwe and how we can build upon these.
“In addition to these, we touched upon topical issues, such as human rights issues.”
Ms Delattre, who is in the country for the first time, said: “It is always very interesting to witness for yourself the challenges and also the opportunities that the country has to offer or to face.
“We had many interesting discussions during this week with several counterparts and on top of the topics that our Ambassador just described. We also inquired about the progress on the reform path — whether they are economic or political reforms which are essential.”
The coming of the EU envoy is in tandem with the engagement and re-engagement policy that the Second Republic is spearheading to re-establish relations with all countries across the world. Most European countries had turned their back on Zimbabwe following the land reform programme which sought to right colonial land imbalances that saw about 4 000 farmers holding large swathes of land while many indigenous black people contended with unproductive land.
Ms Delattre said she came at a time when an International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation was also expected in this week.
“It’s by chance during this week also that the IMF is coming into the country for the review of this programme, so these are essential times where the country has to demonstrate its commitment to reforms,” she said.