TALKING POINTS FOR THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE, HON. DR. S.B. MOYO, MAJOR GENERAL (Rtd) ON THE OCCASION OF HIS BRIEFING TO HEADS OF DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS ACCREDITED TO ZIMBABWE: NEW MUNHUMUTAPA BOARDROOM : 14TH DECEMBER 2017: 14:30 HOURS
Ø Good afternoon Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen and most welcome to this briefing.
Ø This direct inter- action with you soon after my assumption of office, will be the hallmark of my tenancy as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Ø As you will have noticed the Ministry has been rebranded to include International Trade. This has been done to reflect the realities of our new political dispensation, which was heralded on the assumption of office by H.E. the President, Cde E.D. Mnangagwa on the 24th November 2017.
Ø This Government is determined to satisfy the expectations of the people, from across the political divide, who spontaneously demanded change and gave birth to this new era.
Ø More importantly, it is indicative of the new economic bias the Government and indeed my Ministry would be pursuing in our relations with all of you. My mandate therefore is economics and diplomacy complementing each other.
Ø While we greatly value the mutually beneficial relations that exist with most of your countries, going forward these relations shall be couched drawing largely from the parameters announced by none other than the President, during his inauguration.
Ø Our diplomacy shall also be guided by the very positive policy statements that are part and parcel of the 2018 national budget, all meant to emphasize the determined economic direction the country has embarked upon.
Ø Perhaps at this junction it is of intrinsic importance that I restate the obvious as we cultivate, nurture and consolidate our relations. Zimbabwe belongs in the family of nations, let peace influence our relations! The peaceful nature of our people could not have been more visible than during the recent political transition period.
Ø As the President exhorted us on the 24th November 2017, “let’s bury our past differences, let bygones be bygones, lets embrace each other for the common good”.
Ø Just like all of you, Zimbabwe has permanent national interests which we hope we can achieve, working in harmony and collaboration with your countries and organizations. So we have no apologies for putting our own interests at the forefront of our international dealings.
Ø Most paramount in our national interests is the security, progress and prosperity of our people, in a peaceful neighbourhood and world at large. Zimbabwe will deal decisively to defeat any threats to our peace and tranquility.
Ø Concomitant with our national interests, are values and ethos which will continue to guide and drive our state craft. Amongst them are the sovereign equality of nations, mutual respect and tolerance, non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs, respect for peace, inclusivity and multilateralism in the conduct of global affairs.
Ø Going forward, you will notice our determined drive to make Zimbabwe an attractive destination of Foreign Direct Investment through a deliberate economic bias in implementation of our Foreign Policy.
Ø The economic diplomacy we seek to pursue will ride on the successes and accomplishments of the past, re-alignments in other areas and a complete departure from frustrations and failures of the past. Government intends to facilitate economic development and industrial revival.
Ø The milestones we have achieved in the agricultural sector, emanating from our historic land reform shall be consolidated, so will be other attendant gains along the agricultural value chains. Command Agriculture will achieve the unlocking of the tremendous wealth that lies in our soil.
Ø We shall continue to partner your nations in the mutually beneficial exploitation of our mineral wealth. Whereas in the past legislation has not provided the needed impetus in this sector, we believe the recent adjustments to the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Law levels the field and removes any lingering impediments from the past. Only in the diamond and platinum sectors will 51/49% rule apply.
Ø Our manufacturing sector needs urgent refurbishment and re-capitalization and is open to foreign investments. So too are our Tourism and Services Sectors.
Ø All these economic activities should as a must create “jobs, jobs and more jobs” for our people, so that they share and enjoy the fruits of the country’s economy and prosper. No longer will we be satisfied with being a country of “potential”, that potential must be urgently exploited to improve the welfare of our people at the soonest .
Ø We value your participation in the country’s economy and as the President has reassured you, we shall ensure the sanctity and security of your investment and shall honour to the letter, all agreements we enter into with you including, BIPPAS. The right to property shall be respected
Ø We look forward to your invaluable support for our debt clearance plan and in particular the 2015 LIMA PROCESS. We are confident that with your goodwill, we can revive the process.
Ø For emphasis, I must return to my mandate as Foreign Minister. This will have a heavy economic bias. I shall seek to pursue a comprehensive economic diplomacy whose main components would focus of the following:
· Re-engagement with nations that we have differed with in the past.
· Nurturing and consolidation of old friendships
· Exploring new investment frontiers and partnerships
· Ensuring the creation of favourable conditions that make Zimbabwe an attractive investment destination.
· I shall ensure that the full potential of all our nationals abroad (diasporans) shall be marshaled to encourage their full participation in economic activities and that their consular needs are fully attended to. Their investments back home will be facilitated.
· We shall roll out a dynamic public diplomacy in which citizen activism will greatly feature, individually or through their organized bodies.
· Our businesses and the organizations which represent them, shall also be our key partners and stakeholders in our economic diplomacy. The individual actors will be encouraged to pursue their visions.
· Our diplomatic compass would naturally focus on our immediate neighbourhood of SADC, COMESA and the Africa continent. Our relations with these shall remain key in our diplomacy as we share a common history and destiny with them. Our guiding pillars as we chart a common future are the pan African values and principles espoused by our founding fathers.
· I look forward to working closely with our African colleagues to deepen and transform these relations into significant and mutually beneficial economic ties, and most importantly, to realize our integration in line with both the SADC. “Revised Indicative Strategic Development Plan” (RISDP) as well as the AU’s “Agenda 2063”, towards a peaceful and prosperous Africa.
· Beyond Africa, we greatly value the strong bonds of friendship and the political and economic support we have continued to receive from our dependable allies such as China, Russia, India, Iran, Cuba, Malaysia, Pakistan and Brazil, who have stood resolutely with us during our greatest times of need. We shall endeavour to deepen and consolidate these vital relations.
· I will be seeking new frontiers of cooperation beyond these friendly neighbourhood in Eastern Europe, South Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean.
· As I have already alluded to in my opening remarks, re-engagement shall also be part of my core focus. I have already begun serious and focused dialogue with key constituent countries of the west amongst them, our erstwhile coloniser, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Germany, France and Sweden, with the objective of normalizing our relations. We seek an honest, respectful and forthright dialogue that will let go the past and explore and pursue mutually beneficial economic opportunities. We must respect one another and not lecture one another.
· Our rapprochement will thus be characterized by new vibrant trade and economic relations.
Ø Zimbabwe strongly believes in multilateralism anchored in the founding principles of the United Nations (UN) Charter.
Ø In the globalised and interdependent world, an egocentric pursuit of foreign policy would be both blind and defeatist. Zimbabwe will continue to partner with other like minded nations in the pursuit of our global agenda and most importantly, the noble benchmarks such as the Paris climate Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda 2030.
Ø In pursuit of common goals, we cherish sincere and respectful discourse. Issues such as human rights, disarmament, development and gender should not be conflictual nor accusatory. We should be cognizant at all times that there are no angels nor devils in this common endeavor, as we all fall short in one way or another.
Ø Equally, the application of double standards to similar situations creates confrontation and unhelpful perceptions, more often than not detrimental to the common cause. I hasten to say that Zimbabwe has been a victim of the latter on too many occasions in the past.
Ø As I hope we will march together to a new brighter partnership and future, let me reiterate my focii:
· Diplomacy is not a journey for loners, we all need each other.
· Let’s forget the past and seek new honest relations based in our diverse realities for our mutual benefit.
· Let’s keep a robust and focused dialogue at all times and under all conditions.
Ø As Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister I will keep an open door policy in all our engagements. Please feel free to call on me and my colleagues in the Ministry before dispatching your reports to your capitals.
Ø Diplomacy should not be based on speculations, innuendos or hearsay.
Ø Let’s work together to build and not destroy friendships and relations. We are more than ready and willing to embark on this new path with all of you.
Ø For burning bilateral issues specific to your countries and national interests, I am available for urgent meetings. Likewise, I am envisaging a diplomatic in-loco tour of all our geo-political regions. I therefore request you to begin making the requisite preparations with your capitals, in liaison with my officials.
Ø Finally, I want to inform you that the election season beckons and I would urge you not to become “referees and players” in the same. Instead, I exhort you to remain steadfast in your dignified roles of impartial observers as has been already pronounced by His Excellency the President, Cde E.D. Mnangagwa during his inauguration. Some international observers may be invited at the discretion of the Government of the day.
Ø As with previous elections, the Zimbabwe Government has always guaranteed a peaceful environment, before, during and after elections. Its “Zero tolerance of violence” policy as we approach 2018 elections, is a matter of public record.
I thank you once again, and Good afternoon.