THE European Union (EU) has indicated that it is ready to engage Zimbabwe following the transition that saw a new administration led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa taking over in November last year.
The bloc hailed President Mnangagwa’s efforts to revive the country’s economy that has seen the implementation of a number of reforms.
In a statement, the European Council (EC) on Monday said it was open for dialogue with the new Government and other political players in the country.
“The EU reaffirms its availability to engage constructively with the new authorities including through a structured political dialogue, with political actors across the spectrum, and with civil society, on the basis of a mutual commitment to shared values focused on human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. It will do so in coordination with African and international partners,” reads the statement.
The council said the ongoing political transition in the country had created high hope among all Zimbabweans.
It said the Government can open the way to a full return to the rule of law, within a constitutional framework and under civilian rule, allowing for the preparation and implementation of much-needed political and economic reforms.
The bloc said it would assist the country in its re-engagement efforts with international organisations.
“The EU welcomes the stated intention of the Zimbabwean authorities to deliver economic reforms in Zimbabwe, aiming at supporting job creation, growth and sustainable long-term development, and reaffirms its willingness to support the planning and implementation of much-needed structural changes and the promotion of good governance,” said the statement.
“In this context, the EU will support the authorities in establishing as soon as possible a constructive re-engagement with international financial institutions based on a clear and time-bound economic and political reform programme”.
The EU said it was looking forward to an invitation to observe the forthcoming harmonised elections to be held later in the year.
“The upcoming electoral process will be an essential step. The EU welcomes the commitment of the authorities to hold elections in line with the constitution, and underlines the importance that the conditions are in place to allow those elections to be peaceful, inclusive, credible and transparent. The EU would consider favourably electoral observation, provided that the required conditions are fulfilled and that an invitation from the Government of Zimbabwe is received,” said the council.
It said it is ready to review the whole range of its policies towards Zimbabwe at any moment to take into account the progress achieved in the country.
President Mnangagwa last week indicated that the United Nations and the EU are welcome to observe the country’s elections to be held this year.
Since coming to power, President Mnangagwa has introduced a raft of changes, among them economic reforms.
He is attending the 48th World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where he is expected to present the country’s investment opportunities.
Reports say the Queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II, is seeking to reconcile Britain with Zimbabwe and is pinning hopes on the latter re-joining the Commonwealth.
A British newspaper, the British Express reported at the weekend, “Asked by a diplomat at a party what her hopes were for this year, the Queen replied, wishing not for world peace, nor even happiness for her own family, but that Zimbabwe will re-join the Commonwealth.”
In an interview with The Financial Times of Britain, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe would re-join the Commonwealth after it pulled out 16 years ago.
“We want fair, free and credible elections,” said President Mnangagwa in the interview.
“In the past, those who had pronounced themselves against us; who pre-determined that our elections would not be free and fair, were not allowed to come in. But now, with this new dispensation, I don’t feel threatened by anything. I would want the United Nations to come, the EU should come. If the Commonwealth were requesting to come, I am disposed to consider their application.”
President Mnangagwa said the country was committed to re-engaging countries with which relations had soured in the past, including Britain.