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EU keen to observe polls


The European Union Exploratory Mission yesterday met with the ruling Zanu PF party leadership in Harare and expressed desire to observe the forthcoming harmonised elections in Zimbabwe.

Currently, the European Union (EU) is happy to dialogue with Zimbabwe and is looking forward to scaling up engagement by discussing areas of divergence.

This thawing of relations between Zimbabwe and the EU could further give impetus to Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement drive.

The engagement and re-engagement policy and the thawing relations between Zimbabwe and the EU have not only resulted in improved diplomatic ties but also come with increased trade, with the country now benefiting from financial streams that had been closed for more than two decades.

Zanu PF Secretary-General Cde Obert Mpofu and the party’s Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa represented the party, while the European Union Exploratory Mission Republic of Zimbabwe team was led by Eirini-Maria Gounari.

Cde Mpofu said Zimbabwe is keen to work closely with the European Union to further relations and open trade links between the two.

“We do not have any problem with the European Union, but they sided with Britain to turn against Zimbabwe after the land reform programme. They have chosen to be enemies to us.

“The President has said we are an enemy to none and friend to all, that is the spirit that we want,” said Cde Mpofu.

The gestures of co-operation and cordiality from the EU show that the bloc has also been freed from the shadow of British influences through Brexit (the withdrawal process of the United Kingdom from the EU).

“There used to be serious trade between the EU and Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe used to export beef and flowers to the EU,” said Cde Mpofu.

He said Zimbabwe is keen to increase its trade with the EU.

“We are here and ready to work together,” said Cde Mpofu.

Cde Mutsvangwa said the EU is keen to send an observer mission to observe the coming elections.

“We are so happy with the candid discussion and commitment to work with Zimbabwe.  We received the European Union Exploratory Mission led by Eirini-Maria Gounari.

“We are looking at the upcoming elections and they are very keen to send an observer group so they are also making sure that they have consultations with Government departments and other political parties,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.

The EU, Cde Mutsvangwa said, is beginning to give fair and impartial attention to the political parties in Zimbabwe.

“We are happy and delighted with this trend of EU-Zimbabwe relations and EU-Zanu PF relations.

“They are waiting for an invitation from President Mnangagwa to come and observe the elections this year. From past practices in 2018, we would not see any difficulties in inviting them,’’ he said.

Zimbabwe’s differences with other nations like the United States of America are largely a result of its differences with the EU and the United Kingdom.

Because of the foreign policy thrust of the Second Republic, the EU has removed most of the sanctions that were imposed on the country at the instigation of the UK, following the historic land reform programme that redressed colonial land inequities

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