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Zimbabwe stands with Russia – President Mnangagwa

Story by Justin Mahlahla in St Petersburg, Russia

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged Zimbabwe’s unwavering support for Russia as the two countries seek to deepen areas of cooperation. He said this during a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Second Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum this Thursday.

He noted that the long-standing relations between Zimbabwe and Russia remain very solid and excellent, rooted in both countries’ firm belief in the sovereign right of countries to determine their own destinies.

“Russia has been a true friend of Zimbabwe’s in good and difficult times alike. We remain eternally grateful. I am confident that our relations will continue to grow and strengthen,” he said.

He retraced his state visit to the Russian Federation in January 2019, which accelerated cooperation between the two countries.

President Mnangagwa noted the need for the countries to work harder to further deepen bilateral trade and commercial exchanges, with a call to speed up the implementation of the areas reviewed at the fourth session of the Zimbabwe-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Technical and Scientific Cooperation in May 2023.

“Your Excellency, I acknowledge the investments in diamond mining by ALROSA, which has significantly contributed to the country’s development. Your Excellency, on behalf of my government and the people of Zimbabwe, we are grateful for the partnership between our two countries on the helicopter project. We look forward to the delivery of the second batch of helicopters,” said the President.

“As I have always said, Zimbabwe is open for business, and I was pleased to interact with potential Russian investors at the business roundtable. Rest assured, Your Excellency, that my government is ready to welcome more Russian companies to take advantage of the numerous opportunities which exist in the agro-industrial sector, lithium mining, energy and infrastructure development, among other sectors.”

He added that in view of the sanctions imposed on the two countries and the subsequent challenges in undertaking US dollar denominated transactions, Zimbabwe is agreeable to pursue alternative autonomous solutions and the use of alternative forms of payment for various transactions.

“Your Excellency and dear brother, allow me to convey my sincere gratitude for donating 11,000 metric tonnes of potash fertiliser and 9,000 metric tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser. This gesture is a true testimony of the friendship of the Russian Federation to the people of Zimbabwe. This further reflects your personal commitment to supporting the transformation of our country’s agriculture, food security and sovereignty. I thank you,” he added.

President Mnangagwa highlighted Zimbabwe’s strides in technological advancement with the assistance of Russia.

“Most notable is the deepening cooperation between Zimbabwe and the Russian Federation in advanced science and space technology. I recall the joint signing of an implementation agreement between the Zimbabwe Geospatial Agency (ZINGSA) and the Southwest University on space science and technology innovation which was signed in October 2021. This has ultimately led to the finalisation of the design, manufacture, assembly and testing of the satellite ZimSat-2 under which scholarships were offered to Zimbabwean students to study in the Russian Federation. Additionally, the Russian Federation provided 20 scholarships through RUDN university in various fields of nuclear education. The 20 candidates under these scholarships are scheduled to commence their studies in September this year,” he said.

He said Zimbabwean institutions are ready to promote more direct partnerships with educational and research institutions of the Russian Federation and acknowledged the active support by the Russian Federation for the Museum of African Liberation project being hosted by Zimbabwe on behalf of the African continent, and in particular the establishment of the Russia Solidarity Movement in Liberation City.

“Further, we welcome the raising of the Russian Federation flag at the Liberation Museum site as an important symbolic gesture recognising the immense contribution of the Russian Federation to the liberation of the African continent from colonialism.”

President Mnangagwa said the solid collaboration between the two countries at international fora and also against the continued aggression against the two countries has seen Zimbabwe strongly oppose the use of sanctions as a foreign policy tool that undermines the sovereignty of nations.

“Zimbabwe has been under the sanctions from the West for the past 23 years but as a result, we now think outside the box and use our domestic resources to grow and expand our economy. May I highlight that Zimbabwe intends to bid for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council for the period of 2027 to 2028. We appeal for the support of the Russian Federation. Similarly, Zimbabwe submitted a request to Your Excellency to join the BRICS New Development Bank. We equally count on the support of Your Excellency in this endeavour,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Your Excellency, allow me to personally state that Zimbabwe is in solidarity with the Russian Federation in your country’s special military operation in Ukraine. As current Chair of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPC), Zimbabwe unreservedly condemns the unjustified and vindictive ban on the sale of Russian diamonds on the world market. We reassure you that the Russian Federation has the support of Zimbabwe within the KPC because Zimbabwe is the current chairman,” he said.

In a gesture of goodwill and strengthening of the existing bilateral ties, President Putin gifted President Mnangagwa with a state-of-the-art presidential helicopter which will soon be ferried to Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe and Russia have also signed a number of instruments of cooperation in sectors that include mining, science and technology, tourism, agriculture, defence and security.

More updates from the summit are available here: www.summitafrica.ru/en

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