Harare (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe is confident of eventually being able to mend current strained relations with the United States, and open dialogue to iron out sticky issues in pursuit of its re-engagement programme, Vice President Kembo Mohadi said on Tuesday.
The United States is among a group of western nations that imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe over its land reforms over two decades ago, and Washington appears reluctant to review its stance towards Harare even after a change of government in the southern African country in 2017.
Britain, Zimbabwe’s former colonial power, mobilised its western allies to oppose the land reforms under which the government compulsorily acquired excess farmland from white farmers to resettle landless peasants.
“We are still going to cooperate with them, we might have had hiccups here and there but it happens in each and every situation, even at family level you sometimes have such things but it does not mean that we are not communicating, we are not dialoguing,” VP Mohadi said after talks with US ambassador Brian Nichols.
“We continue to dialogue and we will definitely get to where we understand each other better and everything else will be OK.”
He said he had briefed Nichols on legislative, electoral and economic reforms that Zimbabwe was pursuing.
VP Mohadi also commended the drought mitigation support and assistance received in the health and education sectors from the United States over the years.
“They have been of great assistance to Zimbabwe since the inception of our independence.”
In response, Nichols acknowledged the reform process that Zimbabwe was pursuing and said it was a critical step towards restoring relations between the two countries.
“We want to see Zimbabwe progress and move forward, the Vice President explained some of the measures in terms of political and economic reforms that this government is pursuing but we will need to see the concrete outcomes of that process in order to have a closer relationship at government to government level,” he said.
“That being said, we agreed to maintain our channels of communication open and hopefully the Vice President will indulge me in the future to receive me so we can continue this dialogue.”
Ambassador Nichols said the U.S stood ready to continue providing food aid to mitigate the drought and the lingering effects of last year’s cyclone Idai.
“We remain committed to the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe. As you know, we are the largest donor to Zimbabwe and have been since independence, we have provided over $3.2 billion in assistance to this country.”
Zimbabwe’s re-engagement programme, in which the new government is seeking to re-open a new page in relations with friends and foes alike, has yielded positive results as evidenced by, among others, the resumption of formal dialogue between Harare and the European Union after years of frozen ties.