It’s right time to engage Zimbabwe: EU

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi meets European Union Managing Director for Africa Mr Koen Vervaeke (centre) and EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Timo Olkkonen (left) in Harare on Saturday. — Picture by Tawanda Mudimu

Zimbabwe stepped up its re-engagement efforts with the European Union on Saturday after the EU’s managing director for Africa Mr Koen Vervauke met senior Government officials to deliberate on several issues to boost relations.

Mr Vervauke, who is one of the top EU diplomats in Africa, held talks with Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi as well as Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ambassador James Manzou in Harare.

Speaking after meeting Ambassador Manzou, Mr Vervauke said the discussions touched on reforms being undertaken by the Government.

“We had a good discussion on the state of our relations. There is certainly an expectation on the European side that reforms will be continued on the economic and political side and create the space through which our relations can deepen and the European Union can work together with Zimbabwe for the future.”

Mr Vervauke said it was “the right time” to engage Zimbabwe as the EU had provided support to victims of Cyclone Idai.

“EU and Zimbabwe have a continuous dialogue, it was the right time for us to come here, firstly to express solidarity towards Cyclone Idai, the floods and the landslides in Zimbabwe.

“The European Union has mobilised initial support, we also have a team from our humanitarian team on the ground to see what more we can do,” he said.

Briefing journalists after meeting Minister Ziyambi, the EU diplomat commended Zimbabwe’s reforms on the Constitutional alignments, saying the legal milestones were significant in the bloc’s engagement with Harare.

“We had an extensive discussion on the legal agenda which is being followed here and that relates to reforms, political reforms and also the alignment of important legislation that will be on the agenda of the Parliamentary session starting in May. We from the European Union certainly are convinced that these are really important projects that need to be brought to a positive outcome,” he said.

“We listened that there is willingness to reform politically and economically. What is important for the European Union and even more so for the people of Zimbabwe is that these are translated to concrete acts and concrete reforms.”

Minister Ziyambi said the meeting noted that some sections of the media were not giving attention to the reforms being undertaken by the Government.