Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Zimbabwe, Japan Sign Economic Deals
March 29, 2016
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mugabe shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe following a signing ceremony at the latter’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan yesterday. - Picture by Presidential Photographer Joseph Nyadzayo.

Felex Share in TOKYO, Japan

JAPAN and Zimbabwe yesterday sealed vital economic agreements with the Asian giant’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe immediately making an undertaking to fund local road infrastructure development. Speaking after meeting President Mugabe at his offices here yesterday, PM Abe said by signing the agreements, the two leaders were committing themselves to a “guide post for co-operation in broader areas going forward”. “More specifically, we will render our co-operation for the improvement and development of road infrastructure in Zimbabwe’s north-south corridor,” he said.

“It is a great pleasure for me that I state our further cooperation after our last year’s grant aid ($15 million), the first of its kind in 15 years. Japan established diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe in 1980, the year of independence of Zimbabwe, a country with abundant resources and great nature, and has built friendly relationship ever since.”

Zimbabwean Ambassador to Japan Titus Abu-Basutu and Japanese ambassador in the country Mr Yoshi Hiraishi also signed agreements made on the “grant aid cooperation on socio-economic development plan”.

PM Abe, who described President Mugabe as a “revered doyen”, said his country would also chip in and assist Zimbabwe in dealing with the effects of the El Nino-induced drought that has left more than four million people in need of food aid.

The cooperation agreements strengthen the Government’s Look East Policy as Zimbabwe is also implementing various deals sealed with China in the past two years. The deals cover key economic enablers identified under Zim-Asset, the country’s economic blueprint.

PM Abe also enlisted the services of President Mugabe in his country’s preparation for the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) IV to be held in Kenya in August. “We will have a close consultation with Zimbabwe on how we can assist to best respond to the local needs to counter severe food shortages that have resulted from drought,” he said.

“While TICAD IV is going to be held for the first time in Africa, President Mugabe graciously agreed to attend the meeting to ensure the conference (is a) success. At the meeting, while gaining the cooperation of the President himself, I am determined to support strongly the African Development Agenda (2063) through demonstrating a concrete contribution distinctive of Japan such as high level of technology and human resource development while engaging the business community and civil society.”

President Mugabe said Zimbabwe’s doors were open to investment and special conditions would be granted to investors in special economic zones.

He said: “Special conditions are also extended in our special economic zones and Japanese business people are invited to take advantage of this. It is true that enduring relations are cemented by robust exchanges of goods and services. On the investment front, I am inviting Japanese companies to invest heavily in Zimbabwe, which carries the promise of handsome returns for the investor. We have abundant opportunities for investors and they should look forward to a mutually rewarding relationship with us.”

President Mugabe said the bilateral engagement he had with PM Abe was “comprehensive, forward looking and fruitful” as it focused on economic, scientific and cultural cooperation. “I also briefed him on opportunities for cooperation and business in Zimbabwe’s health, education, mining, agriculture and manufacturing sectors. We also had time to review regional and global developments and share information of mutual interest,” he said.

He said while Zimbabwe was a beneficiary of humanitarian aid from Japan, time had come for the two countries to enhance their relationship with projects that enrich both parties. President Mugabe said the country needed food aid to deal with El Nino-induced drought and that it had already made an appeal to the international community.

“Currently Zimbabwe, in fact, the Southern African region, is suffering the effects of an El Nino drought,” he said. “My Government has taken the appeal for drought relief to the international community including Japan and I am confident that as Japan has always done, it will come to our aid.”

Earlier on, President Mugabe paid a State call on their Majesties the Emperor of Japan, Akihito and Empress Michiko. The President was accompanied by the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe, during the event which was held at the Imperial Palace.

President Mugabe also had closed door meetings with representatives of four companies that have plans to invest in Zimbabwe.

‘Let’s all reform UN Security Council’

March 29, 2016
Felex Share in TOKYO, Japan

Global efforts need to be redoubled if countries are to overcome Western countries’ resistance to reform and democratise the United Nations Security Council, President Mugabe has said. The President made the remarks while addressing journalists after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe here yesterday. The Japanese Premier also said there was need to modify and level the playing field at the world body’s Security Council, which is dominated by the five countries with permanent seats. These are China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The five also have veto powers.

Said President Mugabe: “Zimbabwe and Japan concur on the need to reform the Security Council. It is my sincere hope that global efforts will be redoubled to achieve a more inclusive and full democratic United Nations Security Council. Currently, the pace is rather slow and we hope that members of the UN will work together to speed up this necessary adjustment.”

President Mugabe has made repeated calls for the modification of the Security Council saying other countries had been made “dwarfs” while the five countries, popularly known as the “Big Five” dominate the most powerful UN arm. In January, he threatened to pull out of the organisation if the West, principally Britain and the United States, continued to block efforts to democratise the organ.

On the other hand, Japan is part of the Group Four (G4) countries together with Germany, India and Brazil, nations which have mutually supported each other’s bids for permanent seats in the Security Council for them to possess veto powers which enable them to prevent the adoption of any “substantive” draft Council resolution, regardless of the level of international support for the draft.

G4 countries have proposed reforms in the UN Security Council to include an additional six permanent seats, four going to them and two to African countries. President Mugabe said there was also need to ensure resolutions of the UN General Assembly — the policy making and representative organ — were respected.

“During our deliberations (with PM Abe) we highlighted the importance of the UN General Assembly which at present is the only true representative body in our organisation,” he said. “While we work towards the reform of the Security Council, we will do well to ensure that the voice of the General Assembly is respected and its resolutions are complied with by all.”

PM Abe, who has for long sought African support to land a seat in the Security Council, said adjustments were needed in the organ that is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. “We acknowledged and reaffirm the challenge that we are facing in international fora in particular the need to reform the UN Security Council,” he said.

“President Mugabe is the great leader and doyen of Africa and I would like to promote the Security Council reforms collaborating close with him.” The Security Council is responsible for approving new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its Charter.

It is also responsible for establishing peacekeeping operations, international sanctions and authorising military action through its resolutions.

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