PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday saluted China for standing by Zimbabwe, as the world second biggest economy reiterated its call for the unconditional removal of illegal sanctions that were imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States and her allies.
In a virtual meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Guo Shaochun, President Mnangagwa said China had defended Zimbabwe through thick and thin.
“On the international front, I would like to say we continue to enjoy the support of the People’s Republic of China at all the international forums where the subject of Zimbabwe is discussed. You have defended us and stood by us and we are grateful for that brotherly solidarity and support which you have given us and we shall also continue to support the thrust and the non-interference policy of the People’s Republic of China whether it would be on our continent or domestically. We support you on the thrust of multilateralism as against the pursuit of narrow interests by the big powers of the first world,” President Mnangagwa said.
With the US still maintaining the unjustified sanctions, and consequently cutting off lines of credit from international lenders even under the dark clouds of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, China has stood by Zimbabwe’s side helping the country fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
“May I thank, through you, my brother President Xi Jinping, the several groups of medical experts who have come to Zimbabwe to assist our medical teams here to fight and mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are now sitting at a place where we are reasonably comfortable because of the assistance you have given us in terms of materials which has allowed us breathing space to develop our own domestic capacity to produce some of the PPEs,” he said.
The President briefed the Chinese ambassador on the state of the economy, saying the lockdown imposed to stop the spread of the pandemic has caused an economic downturn, but things are slowly returning to normal due to the easing of some of the restrictions.
“We have done our best to create a rescue package of $18 billion to assist the most critically affected sub-sectors of our economy so that they become productive again,” he said.
The President also thanked the Chinese for the assistance they had extended to Zimbabwe for the construction of the new Parliament building, the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station and the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
On his part, Ambassador Shaochun said the sanctions undermined Zimbabwe’s efforts to deal with the humanitarian challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Every country has a right to choose its own path of development which is suitable for its own national conditions,” he said.
“Now more than ever Zimbabwe needs more respect and genuine support. China will continue to call for the immediate, unconditional removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe. Last month in New York, China and Zimbabwe together with dozens other countries called for the complete and immediate lifting of unilateral coercive measures. The Chinese ambassador to the UN made it very clear that unilateral coercive measures impede social and economic development and hurt the general populace.”
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga also attended the meeting where the Chinese Ambassador handed over 120 computers that would be distributed to disadvantaged schools countrywide. “Internationally they stigmatise China and Zimbabwe side by side so-called problems and the so-called Zimbabwe crisis. “They also do everything they can to make trouble in our countries and we are both aware of their real intentions, their purpose,” Ambassador Shaochin said.
The Chinese ambassador added that China would continue assisting Zimbabwe to mitigate the impact of the illegal sanctions. On October 25, the SADC region and Africa at large will stand up in solidarity with Zimbabwe in the call for the removal of the illegal sanctions that were imposed around 2000 by the US and her allies as punishment for the land reform programme which corrected historical land imbalances.