Zim, Libya relations remain frosty

HARARE - Libya is still yet to resume diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe three years after the closure of its embassy in the country.

Joey Bimha, Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, told the Daily News yesterday that relations between the two countries have not been normalised while the embassy remained closed.

“Kuwait is acting on their behalf. Normally what happens is that when as a country your things are not well, you appoint a friendly country to act on your behalf, this is what happened. We are waiting for them to come forward,” Bimha said.

The relationship between the two African countries turned sour in 2011 after Zimbabwe expelled former Libyan Ambassador Taher Elmegrahi and his embassy staff after they switched their allegiance to rebels that overthrew former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s government.

Since then, the Libyan Embassy along Harare Street in the capital remains deserted with a lone police officer standing guard at the premises which used to house the embassy and the Republic of Jamahiriya School for Libyan children.

Gaddafi was overthrown and shot dead in cold blood in October 2011.

President Robert Mugabe once had close ties with Gaddafi but relations soured after Zimbabwe defaulted in paying a reported $360 million bill for fuel delivered after the country faced acute shortages in 2004.

In 2010, Gaddafi’s son Saadi visited Zimbabwe promising much-needed investment in agriculture, textiles, mining and tourism but with little forthcoming.

In 2002, his father travelled around Zimbabwe, with his country’s investment bank taking up a 14 percent stake, worth about $12 million, in the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe.

DESERTED: The Libyan Embassy along Harare Street.

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