PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday accepted the credentials of US ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell after negotiations between the United States government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
. A diplomatic row erupted last month over remarks by the incoming US ambassador at his Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings.
Mugabe had said Dell would not be welcome to Harare after the remarks which had been spun in the official press to look like demands for regime change.
“I don’t think he is admissible as he is, if that is his state of mind,” Mugabe told the state-controlled Sunday Mail. “He certainly is not one we should receive here but the matter is being addressed I think.”
A US embassy spokesman yesterday said Dell presented his credentials to Mugabe at State House.
“Yes he is in the country, he arrived over the weekend,” the spokesperson said. “We can confirm that the president accepted his credentials today,” (Thursday).
Mugabe yesterday also accepted the credentials of Britain’s new ambassador, Dr Roderick Pullen who has been in the country for almost a month.
Political Secretary at the British Embassy, Sophie Honey, confirmed yesterday that government had accepted the new ambassador’s credentials.
“Yes he presented his credentials today,” Honey said.
There were fears that Pullen would be made to wait much longer considering that his predecessor, Sir Brian Donnelly, had fierce run-ins with Mugabe’s embattled government during his three-year tenure. It appears that Pullen is headed for a stormy tenure after Mugabe declared that he was running an “anti-Blair” election.
Western ambassadors have been facing difficulties securing their accreditation from their hosts before commencing duties. When diplomats arrive they are only accredited after presenting their credentials to the head of state.
Mugabe is yet to accept credentials for the new Nigerian ambassador who was reportedly posted to the country some four months ago. Relations between Zimbabwe and Nigeria have not been the warmest since President Olusegun Obasanjo refused to invite Mugabe to the Chogm meeting in Abuja last year that resulted in Zimbabwe pulling out of the Commonwealth.
Mugabe is yet to accept the credentials of Australian Ambassador designate, Jon Sheppard, who came to the country in mid-July.