Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
PARLIAMENT has been called upon to support President Mnangagwa’s re-engagement drive that has resulted in the recent launch of a formal dialogue process between Zimbabwe and the European Union (EU).
The dialogue, launched in Harare last Wednesday, is based on Article 8 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement which governs relations between member states of the African-Carribean-Pacific regions and the EU.
Zimbabwe and the European bloc have endured frosty relations in the past two decades and the dialogue opens a fresh page that will have major geopolitical implications and benefits for Zimbabwe, whose international relations soured domestic prospects for growth economically and socially.
The dialogue is being co-chaired by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Secretary Ambassador James Manzou and the Head of the EU Delegation to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Timo Olkkonen.
Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Zanu-PF Makonde legislator, Cde Kindness Paradza said the dialogue process paints a good picture of the country. “Article 8 (of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement) on political dialogue, provides for parties to exchange information, foster mutual understanding and facilitate the establishment of agreed priorities and shared agendas among other objectives.
“Hon Members may be pleased to know that Zimbabwe and the EU have been undertaking informal political dialogue over the years. The exchanges remained informal because Zimbabwe has been refusing to engage in formal dialogue insisting on the removal first of the EU sanctions imposed on the country,” he said.
“However, since the advent of the Second Republic, His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa has repeatedly stated Government’s commitment to engage, re-engage and normalise relations with all players and Member States in the International Community.”
Cde Paradza hailed President Mnangagwa for adopting the re-engagement policy that has culminated in the formal political dialogue with the EU. “We also want to thank the EU for conducting the dialogue in a frank and constructive manner. The launch is a testimony of the success of the informal political dialogue process. That picture tells a very good story.
“We therefore urge the two parties to continue working together in order to consolidate trust and great understanding in the relationship. Mr Speaker Sir, through you, all of us Members of Parliament should whole heartedly support His Excellency, the President, in his re-engagement effort,” he said.
“In this new Zimbabwe and EU relationship we have embarked on, there is no room for sanctions. We therefore call upon the EU to unconditionally remove sanctions on Zimbabwe.”