July 16, 2010

Mugabe has china 'appetite'

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has said his government will strengthen ties with China and ignore Western countries that have insisted on democratic reforms before restoring normal ties with Harare.

The European Union and the United States have maintained targeted sanctions against Mr Mugabe's inner circle and some state owned companies over the past decade because of a series of disputed elections and invasion of white owned farms. A meeting between an EU delegation and Zimbabwe ministers to kick start re-engagement talks last week failed to produce any tangible results because the block insisted on tangible progress in the implementation of a power sharing agreement that led to the formation of a coalition government led by the veteran ruler.

"They imposed sanctions on us and travel bans," Mr Mugabe told officials attending the eighth session of the Zimbabwe-China Permanent Joint Commission in Harare. "I have no appetite for America but I have an appetite for my country and my friends like China." The session attended by top government officials from Zimbabwe and China ended with a pledge to deepen economic cooperation between the two countries. An agreement was signed for China to provide US$1.5 million for the construction of a hospital in rural Zimbabwe and the provision of medical equipment.

There were also agreements on ways of enhancing projects already being implemented and new ones in the energy, agriculture, manufacturing, transport, tourism and water sectors. Mr Mugabe said Zimbabwe would learn from the Asian economic giant's technological advancement. "We need investment in agriculture, the sub-sectors mainly tobacco, cotton, maize, livestock and horticulture."

Early this year, Zimbabwe and China signed several deals meant to resuscitate the Southern African country's dilapidated infrastructure. The projects include the resuscitation of derelict power stations, which if successful could end Zimbabwe's electricity woes. Meanwhile, Mr Mugabe has poured scorn on the United States government for placing him and his family on the list of individuals believed to have funded terrorists. (The Monitor)

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