Zimbabwean president thanks China, Russia for support on sanctions removal

A Chinese medical team arrives in Harare, Zimbabwe to assist the African country's efforts in the fight against COVID-19, May 11, 2020. /Xinhua
A Chinese medical team arrives in Harare, Zimbabwe to assist the African country’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19, May 11, 2020. /Xinhua

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Sunday thanked China and Russia for standing by Zimbabwe in its consistent call for the unconditional removal of Western sanctions.

In a speech to mark the Southern African Development Community (SADC) anti-sanctions day, Mnangagwa paid tribute to the two countries, SADC, the African Union, and other countries around the globe for their support.

“The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation, among other nations, have been our dependable pillars for many years,” said the president.

“These nations not only assisted us in our fight for independence, but equally assisted us to defend our sovereignty against the sustained onslaught by our detractors,” Mnangagwa said.

He also thanked United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet for adding their voice on sanctions removal.

Mnangagwa commended the European Union (EU) for taking some positive steps towards normalizing relations with Zimbabwe.

Last year, the SADC declared October 25 as the regional anti-sanctions day, on which SADC member states would collectively call for unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa said the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act and Executive Orders by the U.S. government have constrained development in Zimbabwe for nearly 20 years.

“The cumulative effect of these illegal sanctions has been devastating in every sector of our economy. Furthermore, sanctions have limited Zimbabwe’s capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mnangagwa said.

“We are grateful to those nations and organizations who have stood by us and supported us in fighting the pandemic,” he added.

Earlier this month, China’s envoy to the UN criticized the U.S. and Western countries for violating human rights and called for the complete and immediate lifting of unilateral sanctions at the General Debate of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly.

Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the UN, made the statement on behalf of 26 countries, including Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Belarus, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, Laos, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, South Sudan, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.