By Sibusiso Moyo
Statement issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Honourable Lt General (Rtd) Dr Sibusiso B. Moyo
The Government of Zimbabwe notes with astonishment and concern the comments made by Robert O’Brien, US National Security Advisor, which characterised Zimbabwe as “an adversary” of the United States and which named our country as one seeking to take advantage of the current unrest situation in the US in order to “sow discord and to try to damage our democracy”.
On behalf of Government, I have today informed the US Ambassador that Mr O’Brien’s allegations are false, without any factual foundation whatsoever and that they are deeply damaging to a relationship already complicated by years of prescriptive megaphone diplomacy and punitive economic sanctions.
Zimbabwe is not and never has been an adversary of the United States of America.
Even in the face of repeated interference in our own internal affairs, Zimbabwe has been unwavering in its support for Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter which expressly urges all member states to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of other states.
I informed the Ambassador that Zimbabwe seeks a normal, cooperative relationship with the USA based on mutual understanding, mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs : the very opposite of the characterisation voiced by Mr O’Brien.
I informed the Ambassador that the Government of Zimbabwe derives no pleasure at all from the scenes of violence and hatred which have erupted in cities and towns across the United States of America.
Whereas we certainly add our voice to the many others – including that of the African Union and the United Nations – who have expressed their deep concern at the killing, by a uniformed white police official of Mr George Floyd – an unarmed, handcuffed, helpless black man – we unreservedly condemn the violence, arson and looting which have turned usually quiet neighbourhoods into scenes of chaos and destruction and where, tragically, further innocent lives have been lost.
Our fervent hope is that the situation in the US calms down, that civilian law enforcement agencies and paramilitary units conduct themselves with maximum restraint, that community leaders succeed in persuading their citizens to honour the memory of Mr Floyd by way of peaceful gathering, and that no further life is lost.
We take due note of the measures deployed by the US authorities to deal with the challenges currently confronting them. At the same time, we recall the harsh US criticism and condemnation of our own response to multiple instances of illegal, violent civil unrest incited, largely, by opposition political formations determined to render the country ungovernable; we recall their automatic presumption of state culpability in instances of alleged abduction, and their assumption of an institutionalised disregard for human rights or rule of law within our
Government; and we reflect on the lack of balance and even the double standards so evident in US policy towards Zimbabwe.
With regard to our bilateral relationship with the United States of America, our hope, going forward, is that the US might take a more even-handed and less prescriptive approach; that it might acknowledge the reform efforts and progress being made by the New Dispensation – very significant challenges notwithstanding – and that it might seek to engage in a more open, more sincere and more practical dialogue about how our Governments can work together for the benefit of both nations and peoples.
Naturally, I also expressed the gratitude of Government for the support provided by the United States of America towards the on-going battle against Covid-19 and other health challenges, and in bolstering national food security.