Newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister, Walter Mzembi has launched an ambitious bid to re-engage and mend broken ties with western countries after 17 years of frosty relations with Zimbabwe.
Mzembi, who was officiating at the 72nd anniversary of the United Nations, said he would soon begin engaging “old friends” in an effort to revive the economy, calling for strengthened ties with multilateral institutions including International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.
“Going forward, I think we need to get back together with many of our old friends that have gone away. I intend to open new frontiers of friendship with member countries (United Nations western block of countries).
“We used the recent Uruguay trip to create relations with those countries that we can say are our old friends,” said Mzembi.
Zimbabwe has been in arrears with the Bretton Woods institutions since 2001 and had to use its allocation of Special Drawing Rights allocated to all IMF member states in 2009 as part of a global financial rescue package to clear the outstanding amount.
“More importantly, I will follow a very robust thrust on commercial diplomacy. We need to convert our political diplomacy into economics so that we can uplift the lives of our people. That is an addition to my desire to revive old friendships and make new friends as we move towards making our country better,” added Mzembi.
He thanked the donor community and other UN agencies for readily availing funds when the country is hit by disasters especially the recent floods that ravaged some parts of the country during the 2016/17 summer cropping season.
Over the past year, the UN continued to support the Government in responding to the multi-sectoral needs of the people affected by the El Nino induced drought, the worst in 35 years.
Parallel to the humanitarian response, the UN continued its engagement in supporting sustainable development across the SDGs, not to mention continued promotion of the SDGs through scaled up engagement with youth groups, schools, universities and civil society organizations
The former Tourism Minister pledged to use his diplomatic links with other European countries to foster long term relations that will gradually see the country improving its international image.