Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Relations between Zimbabwe and Britain are improving, with hopes that the re-engagement initiatives by Government will be successful and result in improved bilateral trade ties between the two countries.
This was said by Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri yesterday after meeting British ambassador, Ms Melanie Robinson.
This was the first meeting between the two since Ms Robinson came to Zimbabwe as ambassador.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said they had discussed bilateral matters of mutual interest between the two countries ranging from political, economic and defence and security co-operation.
“The meeting noted with satisfaction that relations between the two countries were improving since the inception of the New Dispensation. The countries are cooperating in various areas that include health, wildlife management and mine action.
“The meeting expressed hope that the re-engagement initiatives by the Government of Zimbabwe will be successful and will among other things result in improved bilateral trade ties between the two countries,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri expressed gratitude to the United Kingdom for supporting demining operations in the country and for the support rendered to victims of Tropical Cyclone Idai.
“The UK’s Department of International Development (DfID) is funding humanitarian demining organisations operating in Zimbabwe. Further, the UK Government donated US$23 million towards the assistance of the victims of Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi,” she said.
Ms Robinson said Zimbabwe had a woman in a powerful position of Defence Minister. “This is really something good to see women in the Defence Ministry. It is always excellent to see women in senior positions. The job is about building peace and an inclusive country. I have great respect for men in Zimbabwe, but am always happy to see a woman in that position to build peace and dialogue in that position.
“This is my first time meeting the Defence Minister since I came here to be ambassador to Zimbabwe. I communicated my Government’s sincere commitment to see Zimbabwe succeed and talked about the importance of the present reforms.
“We talked about the follow up to the Motlanthe Commission, importance of security services commission according to the human rights of Zimbabweans and the way forward for Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, the outgoing UN Resident Country Coordinator Mr Bishow Parajuli also paid a courtesy call to bid farewell to Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri commended Mr Parajuli for his sterling humanitarian work in Zimbabwe and wished him well in his new deployment.
Mr Bishow Parajuli said he is proud to have served in Zimbabwe
“I was humbled to hear her appreciation of our work as the UN system. It’s been great meeting her and we have promised each other to keep in touch.
“Zimbabwe has been home to me. Government, civil society, village and media all have been warm and friendly and helped strengthen partnerships with the UN system and support our work and let us join in various efforts in the UN developmental projects as well as humanitarian mission,” he said.