ED meets Putin, calls for deeper economic ties


St. Petersburg (New Ziana) – President Emmerson Mnangagwa held bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, and reiterated calls for deeper economic and other co-operation between the two countries.

President Mnangagwa is in Russia among dozens of African leaders attending a Russia-Africa Summit, and met President Putin on the sidelines of the meeting.

He said Zimbabwe was keen not only to deepen but also widen co-operation between between the two countries.

“Let me note that the long-standing relationships between Russia and Zimbabwe are stronger than ever. They are of high quality and are based on such principles as the belief of our countries in the sovereign right of each state to determine its own destiny and future,” he said.

“Russia has always been a close friend of Zimbabwe in the most difficult times. We are eternally grateful to you and are convinced that our co-operation will continue to grow and strengthen,” President Mnangagwa said.

He particularly singled out economic ties, and said Zimbabwe was still waiting for promised Russian investment in areas such as mining.

Russia has promised investment in a number of mining ventures, for example, lithium and diamond production.

“As for economic interaction, there is no doubt that our countries need to make additional efforts to deepen trade, economic interaction,” said President Mnangagwa.

Echoing similar sentiments, President Putin said the two countries were increasing co-operation, especially economic, albeit slowly.

He said after the disruption of global trade by the Covid 19 outbreak, this was now on an upward trajectory, and vowed to nurture the growth.

“After a slight decrease in 2022, trade increased several fold in January-April, not only making up for lost ground but even achieving a higher result,” President Putin said.

He added: “We have good prospects for working together in multiple sectors as we will be sure to discuss today.”

Russia recently increased enrolment of sponsored Zimbabwean students studying at various Russian universities from 80 per year to 125, and President Putin expressed optimism this could be expanded further.

“Zimbabwe is Russia’s reliable ally on the African continent. We have established solid, reliable and friendly ties which date back to the time when the people of Zimbabwe fought for their independence,” he said.

Earlier, President Putin donated a presidential helicopter to Zimbabwe, and food to avert hunger in the country.

The value of both could not be determined but underlined growing ties between the two countries.

New Ziana

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