A delegation of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces is in Belarus on a visit amid reports of possible high level military hardware supply agreements, The Zimbabwe Mail has learned.
A conference, according to the Belarusian publication Belta dedicated to the advancement of military contacts between Belarus and Zimbabwe took place in the Central House of Officers of Belarus’ Armed Forces.
Head of the International Military Cooperation Department, Aide for International Military Cooperation to the Belarusian Defense Minister Valery Revenko chaired the meeting.
This follows the recent visit to Zimbabwe earlier this year by the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko
Representatives of interested structural divisions of the Belarusian Defense Ministry and the General Staff took part in the meeting.
Belarus and Zimbabwe discussed promising avenues of future cooperation during the meeting.
Zimbabwe and Belarus are close allies of Russia. Belarus has backed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, while Zimbabwe has claimed neutrality and refused to condemn Moscow.
Lukashenko has been in power since 1994. He was reelected in 2020 in a highly contested vote that was widely denounced as a sham, resulting in mass protests. Lukashenko’s government cracked down violently on demonstrators, arresting more than 35,000 people and brutally beating thousands, according to The Associated Press.
Mnangagwa’s reign has been shorter, coming into power in 2017 after the leader of the previous 37 years, Robert Mugabe, was forced to resign because of numerous human rights violations and he recently claimed victory in the controversial 2023 generations condemned by regional and international election observers. Mnangagwa has faced similar controversies to his predecessor Robert Mugabe.
Both leaders have been accused by rivals and the West of being corrupt and limiting free speech by stifling dissent, accusations that Lukashenko and Mnangagwa have denied.
Earlier this year, Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin met with Zimbabwean Minister of Defense and War Veterans Affairs Oppah Muchinguri- Kashiri on the sidelines of the international arms and defense technology expo MILEX 2023 in Minsk on 17 May, BelTA learned from the press service of the Defense Ministry.
This was the first meeting of this level in the history of bilateral military relations. The event was held in keeping with strengthening interstate relations between Belarus and Zimbabwe, the press service noted.
The parties discussed the status of the Belarusian-Zimbabwean military cooperation and outlined steps to intensify it.