THE European Union (EU) has pledged to fund Zimbabwe’s 2023 general elections to ensure they are peaceful.
Speaking after presenting his credentials to President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House yesterday, new EU ambassador Jobst Von Kirchmann told journalists that he was in Zimbabwe to work towards development, which could only happen in an environment where there is stability.
“These points — as you all know depend on stability, and I think we stand ready to accompany the country in peaceful elections. So today we talked about electoral observation missions and also about financial support for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and also generally of the process,” Von Kirchmann said.
He said EU would act as a listening partner and assist Zimbabwe whenever it needed a helping hand.
“Here we are ready to listen to what Zimbabwe wants, and at the same time, I hope Zimbabwe will regularly talk to us so that we really understand what is needed,” he said.
Zimbabwe has had an uneasy relationship with the EU and other Western countries, who have accused Harare of holding violent polls and violating human rights, among many other vices.
In turn Zimbabwe accused EU of imposing illegal sanctions on the southern African nation, as well as pushing for regime change through civil society activism.
“My mission here is clearly targeting constructive engagement with Zimbabwe and I said this today when President Mnangagwa said the EU does not have sanctions anymore, I guess that’s exactly what makes it possible today to engage on trade aspects. We are the fourth biggest trading partner in the country and I think we have a very good economic partnership agreement,” Von Kirchmann said.
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Mnangagwa also received credentials from the Kuwait ambassador Salem Shibeeb Hamad Alkaledi, Switzerland’s Stephanie Rey and Salwa Mowafi from Egypt.
The ambassadors pledged to deepen economic ties with Zimbabwe.
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