WANTON hostilities that characterised relations between Zimbabwe and United Kingdom (UK) for almost two decades were futile as neither country benefitted from the standoff, the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Peter Vowles said yesterday.
Since the advent of the Second Republic, relations between Zimbabwe and the UK have significantly thawed largely due to the Engagement and Re-engagement pillar foreign policy of President Mnangagwa and the UK has seemingly come aboard.
British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Vowles who paid a courtesy call on the Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere at his Munhumutapa offices yesterday said days of “shouting” at each other are now over.
“As the President said to me when I met him, when I presented my credentials, the President’s words were, we spent the last 20 years shouting at each other and that hasn’t served either country. The key thing here is trying to form a relationship with mutual respect …,” he said.
Mr Vowles added that the UK is committed to working with Zimbabwe.
“We also want to strengthen our business-to-business connections and His Excellency the President has talked about this. To strengthen the economic partnerships between Britain and Zimbabwe. We talked a little bit about the arrears clearance process which is important for Zimbabwe in terms of access to finance and capital. The UK, in the new year wants that process restarted,” he said.
Minister Muswere said the discussions were centred on how best the two countries can work together, cooperate, collaborate, exchange programmes and improve trade volumes.
“For the past 20 something years we spent most of the time shouting at each other but no one has really benefitted in terms of Zimbabwe or the UK. At the same time under the new leadership of President Mnangagwa we believe that we can re-engage and engage any country and that we are a friend to all and an enemy to none,” he said.
Minister Muswere said the courtesy visit by the Ambassador is part of the re-engagement and engagement strategy.
He said the discussions also centred on how to improve the tourism, mining industry, and agriculture sectors.
“We also discussed how best we can work together to share experiences and how we can share technical information in terms of creating a robust media industry, how best we can work together in terms of human capital development for our respective countries in order to create a favourable balance of trade in terms of investment,” he said.