Mr Speaker, the Re-Engagement aspect of our Foreign Policy was always going to be a process rather than an event and it was never going to be easy, or quick, to regain the confidence and trust of those western countries and institutions which parted ways with us around 2000, in the wake of the Land Reform Exercise – without doubt the primary trigger for the diplomatic, political and economic isolation which followed and which, in some respects, is still with us today. I refer, of course, to the illegal, punitive sanctions and other restrictive measures still in place against our Nation.
The ultimate objective of Re-Engagement, naturally, is the lifting of all such measures still imposed on Zimbabwe, and the full, unfettered return of our country to a position of “good-standing” within the broad International Community. To the extent that those measures remain in place, it is perhaps understandable for the sceptical to cast the Policy as a failure or a waste of time, but this would be an incorrect assessment.
Our view, of course, is that sanctions are unjustified and obsolete and must go. The success of our diplomatic Engagement in this direction is clearly demonstrated by the solidarity of fellow SADC and other African nations, of major powers such as China, India, and the Russian Federation, of the Group of Non-Aligned countries, the ACP Group of Nations and many others, who continue to intensify their call for those sanctions to be lifted. There was no such unanimous chorus prior to November 2017.
In previous submissions on the issue of Re-Engagement, and again today, I measure our success in terms of;
- the very fact of constructive dialogue between Zimbabwe and a range of Western nations -including the USA, the EU and the UK – a dialogue which, prior to November 2017, was virtually non-existent;
- the frequency of such dialogue, and
- the generally very constructive tenor and tone of such dialogue;
Prior to November 2017, this simply was not the case.
Yes, sanctions remain, but, even there, our policy of Re-Engagement has brought some notable successes, including;
- the complete removal of AgriBank and IDBZ from the US Treasury’s list of sanctioned entities; and
- the lifting of the US$385 million fine imposed by the US Treasury against CBZ;
- the elevation of our Political Dialogue with the EU to Ministerial level;
With regard to European sanctions, I believe we are all aware that, as from February, 2020, there are no longer any individuals on the EU’s active sanctions list although Zimbabwe Defence Industry (ZDI) remains sanctioned and an arms-embargo remains in place against Zimbabwe.
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