Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, (New Ziana) – President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Monday dialogue, not the imposition of unilateral sanctions on smaller states, was the answer to ensuring international peace and cooperation.
Addressing the 33rd African Heads of State and Government Summit at the African Union, President Mnangagwa said his administration was re-engaging with the European Union (EU) and the United States which imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has for two decades been under the Western embargo, which has been blamed for choking the economy, impacting on the ability of the government to deliver a better quality of life for the people.
The embargo, imposed following a fallout over the agrarian reform programme that sought to address colonial land imbalances through compulsory acquisition of prime agricultural land owned by the minority whites for resettling the landless black majority.
Over 300 000 families benefited from the exercise, which however riled Western countries as it affected their kith and kin.
“To enhance international peace and cooperation, dialogue, not sanctions, is the right approach,” President Mnangagwa told the African and other global leaders while expressing solidarity with countries such as Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi and Cuba “who are equally suffering from similar unilateral sanctions.”
At the time of the land reform, the late former President Robert Mugabe led the administration in Zimbabwe, before President Mnangagwa, who is now trying to chat a new path for the country, took over in late 2017.
“My administration has re-engaged the EU and the USA with a view to normalise our bilateral relations and put the past behind us,” he said.
He lauded the EU for its responsiveness in easing the sanctions regime, calling for their total scrapping.
“The European Union has taken positive steps to repeal their sanctions regime. We urge them to complete the process by removing the remaining measures against Zimbabwe,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said his administration was reforming both the political and economic environment, through changing laws, opening the media space, engaging with political opponents for a common vision and improving the business environment to make it easy for investors.
“Zimbabwe is therefore fully committed to continue those voluntary reforms because they are good for our people and further facilitate sustainable development, national unity and peace,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa earlier met with new AU chairman, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for bilateral talks on the sidelines continental body’s annual summit.