New British envoy presents credentials

HARARE - Catriona Laing, the new British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, has presented her credentials to President Robert Mugabe.

In a statement after the State House ceremony yesterday, the incoming London envoy said her country remains committed to supporting the people of Zimbabwe and achieve a more prosperous, and democratic future.

“I had a constructive discussion with… President Robert Mugabe (and) where we agreed… to move our relationship onto a more positive trajectory,” Laing said, adding it was her sincere belief that “bilateral relations between the two countries must be built on mature dialogue to address issues of mutual interest”.

According to the terse statement, the United Kingdom (UK) was already undertaking key confidence building measures that if reciprocated by Harare “we hope we can continue to build our relationship”.

To show its commitment to the new approach, 10 Downing Street was strengthening its business links with Zimbabwe and to be cemented by a trade mission late in October — the first in many years, but key in understanding how their skills and expertise in various sectors can support the country’s economic and developmental goals.

On the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Social and Economic Transformation, Laing emphasised that western investors needed reassurance that “the rule of law prevails and the environment is predictable” even where opportunities existed.

“If there is progress on this and the government is able to articulate this to investors, it will encourage more investment into Zimbabwe,” she said.

Other important steps that the UK has taken to normalise relations, include the trebling of Chevening scholarships to Zimbabweans in the next academic year, fostering cultural and education links and the continuation of developmental aid valued at $117 million — and normally channelled through the Department for International Development.

Comments (1)

Ko machinja where are you. You do not want to comment becoz your British Ambassador has not said anything negative about ZANU PF.

Ndugu - 3 October 2014

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