Official negotiations with Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa held talks in the State House, the official residence of the President of Zimbabwe located in Harare, on 31 January.
The leaders had a one-on-one meeting, which was followed by a meeting with the participation of the delegations.
Then a ceremony of signing bilateral documents took place. The heads of state attended the ceremony to sign the agreements on the promotion and mutual protection of investments, on the establishment of a joint standing commission for cooperation. A memorandum of understanding on the mutual recognition of documents on education was concluded between the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Zimbabwe.
An intergovernmental agreement on double taxation avoidance and prevention of tax evasion with respect to taxes on income and property was signed. Another agreement that was signed was the agreement on the establishment of sister city relations between Minsk and Harare.
“Today, the President and I have held substantive talks. We took stock of the progress to implement our agreements, and also exchanged views on topical issues of the international agenda and the difficult situation that is developing in the world,” the Belarusian leader said.
“We have discussed in detail the promising avenues of bilateral cooperation that has gained a lot of steam in recent years,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Belarus has opened an embassy in Zimbabwe and expects that Zimbabwe’s diplomatic mission will appear in Minsk soon.
He drew attention to agreements on personnel training. The parties also agreed on investment and cooperation projects in various fields, which will become the basis for the further cooperation. “In manufacturing, trade, agriculture, energy, transport and mining. We have also agreed that these contracts and the arrangements that we have reached today will become the basis for continuing our cooperation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“Today we have signed an agreement to set up a Belarus-Zimbabwe standing commission on cooperation, as well as a number of other bilateral agreements and memorandums. There are already about 20 of them. The potential of our cooperation is huge. And I am sure that regular direct contacts at various levels will allow making the most of this potential. We have additionally agreed that we will put together separate groups of specialists to deal with agriculture and defense,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“If Zimbabwe is interested in creating joint ventures in Zimbabwe and Belarus, we are ready for it. Together with your specialists, we will process raw materials from Zimbabwe at enterprises in Belarus and share the profit. We would also welcome Zimbabwean capital in the capital of our enterprises,” the Belarusian leader said. “The President and I did not rule out barter schemes, either. A special group of experts will compile the appropriate list of goods,” the President added.
The President assured Belarus is always ready to help out Zimbabwe in any situation.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed: “You have to know that in the center of Europe there is a country called Belarus, which is always ready to give you a hand in any situation. We will put results of this visit on the scale of peace and progress.
Aleksandr Lukashenko addressed Zimbabwe residents and noted that today the world’s largest countries are trying to divide and redivide the planet. They are trying to subjugate countries like Belarus and Zimbabwe and benefit from doing so.
Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that Zimbabwe has extensive mineral resources, this is why this country will never be allowed to live a calm life. It is one of the reasons behind sanctions. “Americans introduced sanctions against you not because you are not democratic. But because you’ve decided to take your country and mineral resources under control. You do not let various vagabonds and frauds use your mineral resources. It is the reason behind the sanctions. Like in the past centuries they are once again trying to bring you to your knees. But the President and the government of Zimbabwe do not want that. Hence the sanctions,” he said.
“You will be subjected to stronger efforts to sow discord in your society, to bring you to your knees. But you have to endure. And you will endure if you are united, if you do not allow clashes between your own people inside the country due to some geopolitical ambitions or illusory promises of the West and America,” the Belarusian leader stressed. “We have to get past this complicated period in the life of our planet no matter what. Preserve peace! If you cannot do it, you will be subjected to colonial oppression once again.”
“Be vigilant and careful. Don’t trust those who shout and those who jump. You can secure your prosperity only through your labor,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said while referring to the election campaign, which is supposed to take place in Zimbabwe this summer.
Aleksandr Lukashenko’s speech was accompanied by applause many times.
“Africa woke up a long time ago. The world has no future without Africa. Without Africa, the world cannot develop. The future belongs to Africa,” the President said.
“This is why we are here. These are our friends. We sign agreements for the sake of our peoples. We are a peaceful nation. We are not coming here the way the colonialists once did. We are bringing technology and training specialists,” the Belarusian leader said talking about cooperation with the countries of the African continent.
"So Africa woke up a long time ago. Without it, there can be no development. Therefore, all the powers-that-be are here: the United States, China, Russia, the UK, the entire European Union and so on. The future belongs to Africa," Aleksandr Lukashenko summed up.
Aleksandr Lukashenko told reporters that he prospects for developing cooperation with Mozambique and ways scale up Zimbabwe’s cooperation experience were discussed at the talks with Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The Belarusian head of state explained that Emmerson Mnangagwa is on good terms with the leadership of Mozambique and can assist in this matter.
"At the initiative of my friend, we discussed the cooperation between Zimbabwe, Belarus and Mozambique. Mozambique is a large country nearby, with the coast of a thousand kilometers, an agrarian country. It needs huge investments in agriculture. We already have experience. The President said that he is on very good terms with the President of Mozambique. He promised to discuss with him the ways to apply the experience of cooperation between Zimbabwe and Belarus with regard to Mozambique," Aleksandr Lukashenko shared the details.
After the talks the President stressed that Belarus is intent on working together with the leadership of Zimbabwe for the benefit of the people of this country.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “We deeply respect and are grateful to the people of Zimbabwe. I’d like to emphasize that we go to Africa not for the sake of bringing some illusive democratic values. We go in order to work together with your leaders for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe.”
The head of state noted that as part of the program launched in 2020 to mechanize Zimbabwean farmers Belarus has supplied over 1,800 tractors and about 80 grain harvesters. These machines helped ensure the country’s food security. “But it is just the beginning. We’ve launched the third phase of the program to the tune of over $66 million. It provides for shipping over 3,700 tractors, 60 harvesters to the local agrarians within the next 1.5 years,” he noted.
Fire trucks of Belarusian make are now being shipped to local municipalities in Zimbabwe. Apart from that, BelAZ haul trucks are already successfully used in Zimbabwe. “We have agreed we will soon ship to you over 30 BelAZ haul trucks, which will work in Zimbabwe,” the President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that aftersales service and maintenance of Belarusian machines and vehicles are also offered in Zimbabwe.
At the meeting with reporters Emmerson Mnangagwa stressed that Aleksandr Lukashenko’s visit expands and consolidates bilateral relations.
"We are very happy to welcome the Belarusian President in Zimbabwe. I was hoping you would come last year. Because of the pandemic, we were forced to postpone this visit twice. But this year, we noticed that the pandemic has subsided. Finally, our dear brother was able to make a return visit. This visit demonstrates the warm relations between Harare and Minsk. This visit strengthens, expands and consolidates our bilateral relationship," Emmerson Mnangagwa said.
He noted that Belarus provides great support to Zimbabwe with the mechanization of the agricultural sector. Cooperation is growing in other areas.
"Thank you very much!" the Zimbabwean leader said.
According to Emmerson Mnangagwa, he was impressed by Belarus, by its advancements in various sectors, including the agricultural industry. “We have decided to expand cooperation with Belarus in this area. Thanks to Belarus, we were able to solve the issue of the country’s food security once and for all,” he said.
In addition to that, Belarus ships to Zimbabwe other types of equipment, for example, BelAZ dump trucks for the mining industry, fire trucks. The leader of Zimbabwe also counts on the further cooperation in science and technology.
“We are ready to be friends with Belarus and with all countries that are on the same page with us. It should not be a situation when one country is a horse and another is a horse driver. We all are either horses or horse drivers. We should be in the same boat and look in the same direction. We have been getting along with Aleksandr Lukashenko since our first meeting. We realized that we look at things the same way, we have the same vision regarding the development of our countries. Since that time, we have been friends and have been working together for the benefit of our peoples,” summed up the President of Zimbabwe.
Before the talks the Belarusian leader visited the National Heroes Acre memorial complex near the capital of Zimbabwe.
The head of state was greeted by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Zimbabwe Frederick Shava. Aleksandr Lukashenko laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The President was told the story of the complex development.
National Heroes Acre is a burial ground and national monument located on a mountain range seven kilometers from the capital. The memorial was designed to commemorate the Patriotic Front guerrillas killed in the Rhodesian Bush War, as well as contemporary Zimbabweans whose dedication or commitment to their country justify their interment at the shrine.