Lawson Mabhena in ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
International peace and cooperation can only be enhanced through dialogue and not sanctions, Zimbabwe has told the African Union (AU).
In his address on the second day of the meeting of the Assembly of the African Union today, President Mnangagwa called for the unconditional removal of the unilateral sanctions that have been stifling economic growth for two decades.
He said his Government was engaging the US and European Union in a bid to restore relations and end sanctions. On Sunday, Zimbabwe officially joined the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) despite outstanding issues, including sanctions.
“We would like to express our solidarity with the people and governments of Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi and Cuba who are equally suffering from similar unilateral sanctions. These imposed sanctions have been on for two decades now.
“The European Union has taken positive steps to repeal their sanctions regime we urge them to complete the process by removing the remaining measures against Zimbabwe. My administration has engaged the EU and USA with a view to normalize our bilateral relations and put the past behind us,” the President said.
“To enhance international peace and cooperation, dialogue not sanctions is the right approach.”
President Mnangagwa also updated the assembly on the progress of cross cutting political, economic, legislative and media reforms his Government began to implement in November 2017 when he assumed office.
“In our quest to enhance national cohesion, unity and political tolerance, we have established the political actors’ dialogue platform which brings together the various political actors in our country. Meanwhile, our efforts to review the economy are on-going and the ease of doing business has improved as acknowledged by the Global Index on Ease of Doing Business.
“We have opened up media space to more players under the new dispensation,” he said.
“Zimbabwe is therefore fully committed to continue those voluntary reforms because they are good for our people and further facilitate sustainable development, national unity and peace.”
The reform agenda got a major boost on Saturday, when Zimbabwe acceded to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), while President Mnangagwa further committed to wrapping up the alignment of all national statutes and laws to the new Constitution by end of June.
The 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union opened on Sunday at the AU Headquarters. The meeting which ended yesterday is being held under the 2020 theme of the year: “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development. “
This 33rd Ordinary Summit, which commenced on 21st January, will run until February 10. Silencing the Guns is a commitment to achieve the Aspirations of Africa’s Agenda 2063, specifically Aspiration 4, which envisions a peaceful and secure Africa, thereby making peace a reality for African people.