Thursday, May 24, 2018

Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea to Scale Up Ties
 25 MAY, 2018 - 01:05 

President Mnangagwa addresses journalists at State House in Harare yesterday alongside his Equatorial Guinea counterpart President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (purple tie) who was speaking through an interpreter. — (Picture by Munyaradzi Chamalimba)

Zvamaida Murwira and Felex Share

Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who arrived in the country yesterday, has pledged to continue working with the new administration led by President Mnangagwa and take existing bilateral ties to new heights.

President Mbasogo said this last night while addressing journalists at State House after holding a three-hour closed-door meeting with President Mnangagwa.

He was accompanied by a high-powered delegation comprising four Cabinet ministers and senior Government officials.

Speaking through an interpreter, President Mbasogo said they had come to reinforce already existing bilateral relations which blossomed during the Mr Robert Mugabe-led administration.

“Indeed, it was a timely visit meant to establish our cooperation, bilateral relations with the Government of Zimbabwe as well as to ensure that we give our full support to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his policies to continue to help Zimbabwe for the overall development of this nation,” said President Mbasogo.

Asked if there were any new areas of cooperation, President Mbasogo said their primary focus on the present visit was to deepen existing areas.

“We did not at this particular visit come to make new negotiations. We have some from the past. We came to reinforce what we have already established for the development of both nations,” said President Mbasogo.

President Mnangagwa described President Mbasogo’s visit as natural and normal.

“This is natural. His Excellency (President Mbasogo) has been coming here in the past and he continues to come here and in future he is going to come. So there is nothing out of the way, this is natural and normal,” said President Mnangagwa.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) said his administration would maintain already existing cooperation agreements and explore more areas.

“We have several agreements between Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea government. We will continue to implement them and embrace new ones as we go forward. We have always worked together. We have had cooperation with Equatorial Guinea; we shall cooperate today and tomorrow and forever,” he said.

President Mbasogo arrived at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in the afternoon and was welcomed by Vice President General Dr Constantino Chiwenga (Retired) and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant General Dr Sibusiso Moyo (Retired), Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and senior Government officials.

ZDF deployed military personnel to provide services at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

The security personnel contingent, which comprised of police, soldiers and intelligence, travelled to Equatorial Guinea at the invitation of President Mbasogo.

Bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea were bolstered in 2004 when Harare foiled an attempted coup by mercenaries to topple President Mbasogo and replace him with exiled opposition leader and Spanish-based Mr Severino Moto.

Zimbabwean security forces arrested British mercenary Simon Mann and 69 others at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport when they landed to pick up weapons, while on their way to overthrow President Mbasogo’s government.

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