ZIMBABWE’s bid for a United Nations Security Council seat has received a major boost after Cuba announced its support for the country to Vice President Kembo Mohadi.
Cuban Vice President Salvador Valdes Mesa, who is in the country on a three-day official visit, yesterday held a meeting with VP Mohadi in Harare which centred on increased co-operation between the two countries both bilaterally and on the international arena.
During the meeting, both VPs witnessed the signing of an agreement on reciprocal exemption of visa requirements to diplomatic officials and service passport holders by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava and Cuban Charge d’affaires Ambassador Yenielys Regueiferos Linares.
VP Valdes also presided over the inauguration of the Fidel Castro Road Plaque (formerly Charter), toured the National Heroes Acre where he laid a wreath of flowers, and then visited the Museum of African Liberation.
Speaking during the meeting, VP Mohadi said support from Cuba would go a long way, especially considering that SADC and the African Union (AU) have already endorsed Zimbabwe’s bid.
“Zimbabwe will be bidding for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the period 2027 and 2028. Let me indicate to you that the SADC region has already endorsed the bid and that the African Union confirmation is expected this year. Zimbabwe will therefore be able to count on the support of an all-weather ally Cuba,” he said.
VP Mohadi said there was a need for Harare and Havana to increase their co-operation beyond health and education.
“To this end, both countries are working on establishing co-operation in the agriculture sector. We need to expand the scope of collaboration beyond health and education. There is tremendous potential for collaboration in agriculture, as well as increasing bilateral trade.
“I am pleased to inform you that the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development is in the process of drafting a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of agriculture between the Ministry of Agriculture of Cuba and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development of Zimbabwe. This meeting offers an important opportunity to share views and experiences on issues of mutual interest at both bilateral and international levels,” he said.
Zimbabwe, said VP Mohadi, was grateful for the assistance it continues to receive from Cuba in both the health and education sectors.
He said Zimbabwe was currently seized with improving conditions of service for Cuba’s medical brigades as their assistance is invaluable.
“Co-operation between Zimbabwe and Cuba in the health and education sectors is progressing well, the Government of Zimbabwe most desires to maintain and build a strong partnership. The Government of Zimbabwe is also working on improving conditions of service for future medical brigade members. The Government of Zimbabwe would like to express its appreciation to Cuba for this gesture of solidarity.
“Cuba has continued to support Zimbabwe in areas of higher education through the secondment of science Professors to the Bindura University of Science Education.
“The work of the lecturers at these universities produces results that speak for themselves. Officials of both countries are looking into possibilities of renewing the agreement for the contracting of technical assistance between the Ministry of Higher Education of Cuba and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development to enhance the co-operation in the education sector”.
On the issue of sanctions, VP Mohadi said it was important for the two countries to continue standing by each other, as both nations have been under baneful Western-imposed sanctions for decades.
“Both Zimbabwe and Cuba are targets of so-called unilateral cohesive measures. In reality, sanctions have been imposed on both countries by the United States of America and its allies. It is, therefore, incumbent upon both Governments to remain vigilant against Western machinations.
“Zimbabwe appreciates Cuba’s continued call for the removal of Western sanctions on Zimbabwe,” he said.
VP Mohadi said Zimbabwe was also making strides towards locally manufacturing human and animal vaccines with the help of Cuba’s expertise.
While speaking at the inauguration of the Fidel Castro Road plaque, VP Mohadi said the renaming of the road was a gesture of friendship by Zimbabwe to Cuba.
“We as Zimbabweans recall the role played by the charismatic revolutionary Cde Castro in engagement with Africa. This engagement has two related dimensions, namely mental and humanitarian. Cde Castro was never motivated by selfish or geopolitical considerations. Zimbabwe is forever grateful for the support we received from Cuba.
“Renaming the road to Fidel Castrol Road is a small gesture to appreciate our friendship with our sister country. Our relationship will continue to grow, it is therefore gratifying that Cuba was one of the first countries to establish an embassy in Zimbabwe,” said VP Mohadi.
On his part, Cuban Vice President Valdes expressed gratitude to Zimbabwe for the gesture.
“Since the visit of the Minister of Higher Education to Cuba in 2019, we have opened an important channel of communication between the Ministries of Zimbabwe and Cuba. Your Minister had the opportunity of meeting several companies focusing on biotech produce who are very eager to continue co-operating with you. I believe this is a good way that we should use to increase our co-operation and take it to another level,” he said.