Story by Josephine Mugiyo, Diplomatic Correspondent
ZIMBABWE and Belarus have cemented relations by signing eight Memoranda of Understanding at State House in Harare this Tuesday.
Visiting Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and President Emmerson Mnangagwa witnessed the signing ceremony as officials representing the two countries put pen to paper.
After President Mnangagwa’s visit to Belarus in 2019, relations continue to grow between Minsk and Harare.
The Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) that were signed this morning include agreements of a joint permanent commission between the two countries, the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments, the mutual recognition of educational qualifications, avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and property.
Also included is a twinning agreement between the cities of Minsk and Harare, cooperation in the supply of Belarusian tractor and grain harvesting equipment, construction of and modernisation of grain storage complexes and cooperation in the supply of machines and equipment produced in Belarus for the timber industry.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, President Mnangagwa said relations between the two countries which are both under West-imposed sanctions, are growing.
“I am happy with your coming, and this demonstrates the warm relations between Harare and Minsk. This visit strengthens those relations and we have agreed to have embassies in both our countries,” said the President.
Zimbabwe is on a pathway to attain food security and Belarus has come in handy as enunciated by President Mnangagwa through the mechanisation programme.
President Lukashenko who spoke through an interpreter, said Belarus respects Zimbabwe and will work hard to ensure the two nations share mutual benefits.
“We have high respect to the people of Zimbabwe and we came to Africa to work together for the benefit of both nations,” said the visiting President.
At a time Zimbabwe is facing the threat of neo-colonialism through various fronts, President Lukashenko did not mince his words as he spoke on how the super powers work to disadvantage countries like Zimbabwe and Belarus for refusing to be suppressed.
President Mnangagwa took the opportunity to explain Zimbabwe’s foreign policy of being a friend to all and enemy to none, adding that the country will, however not embrace a situation where one is the horse and the other a rider.
“We will embrace all countries that want to embrace us, but its either we are horses or riders not a situation where one is a rider and the other the horse,” said President Mnangagwa.
President Lukashenko will be in Zimbabwe until Wednesday.