The Sunday Mail
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa last week delivered a special message from President Mnangagwa to Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa, and held cordial talks on “all bilateral issues” with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Minister Chinamasa, who returned from his tour of Europe yesterday, told The Sunday Mail that he had also had solid interactions in Sweden and France.
“I went to the UK as a special envoy of the President to deliver a message to Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May. I am also not aware of the content of the message . . .
“We took the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues affecting our bilateral ties. In fact I can say that in our discussions, nothing was left out. I can only elaborate on the contents of my discussions after I meet the President.”
Minister Chinamasa said discussions with Mr Johnson were frank and cordial.
“The discussion was very cordial, constructive, positive and very forward-looking. There is clear and serious commitment on both sides to normalise relations at the highest level.”
Minister Chinamasa said from Britain he proceeded to Sweden and France, where he also delivered special messages from President Mnangagwa to the two countries’ Heads of States.
“After the UK, I went as a special envoy to deliver a special message to the Prime Minister of Sweden, through the deputy Foreign Secretary of that country. I then addressed Swedish businesspeople.
“From there I then went to Paris, France, to deliver a special message to President Emmanuel Macron. I also had a meeting and took the opportunity to clarify the investment climate in Zimbabwe.”
On Friday, Britain’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing said on social media she had met Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and held “good discussions on Zimbabwe”.
Ambassador Laing tweeted: “Good discussions with No 10 officials on prospects for #Zimbabwe. It’s been a busy and productive week. Now on my way back”.
Her boss Mr Johnson on Wednesday tweeted that his discussions with Minister Chinamsa focused on key matters.
“Good to welcome Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe’s Special Envoy to the UK to Foreign Office today,” he said. “Great hope and optimism for Zimbabwe’s future, we discussed need for free and fair elections this year and opportunities ahead of us.”
Britain showed its interest in engaging Zimbabwe when it dispatched then Minister of State for Africa Mr Rory Stewart to Harare to for President Mnangagwa’s inauguration in November 2017.
Mr Stewart has since been replaced by Ms Harriet Baldwin, who also met President Mnangagwa last month as PM May’s Special Envoy.
This was Ms Baldwin’s first official visit to Africa as a minister since her January appointment.
After their meeting, President Mnangagwa formally informed Ms Baldwin of Zimbabwe’s intention to return to the Commonwealth, which could happen by the end of 2018.
President Mnangagwa also said he would like to meet PM May as relations between the two states thaw after nearly two decades of acrimony.
Ms Baldwin said her visit to Zimbabwe “created an opportunity to strengthen UK-Zimbabwe relations as part of a wider process of international engagement”.