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Lift Zimbabwe sanctions China tells the West

by Byo24NEWS
11 Feb 2011 at 13:47hrs | Views
HARARE – Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Friday urged Western countries to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe as he paid a visit to buttress ties with the southern African nation.

"Let me be frank, we believe there should be lifting of sanctions by some countries," Yang told journalists after meeting President Robert Mugabe and senior government officials in Harare.

"China believes that Africa belongs to African countries and African people. African people are their own masters and all the others are just guests.

"We believe all nations should respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

The European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle after presidential elections in 2002 that western observers charged were rigged to hand Mugabe victory.

Yang also called for strengthened relations with Zimbabwe, which he called a "good brother".

"China and Zimbabwe have traditional friendship from the days of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle. Since then our relationship has moved forward," he said.

Earlier Mugabe commended China's support for Zimbabwe in the face isolation by its former trading partners in the West over charges of human rights violations.

"Our relations have a long historical background of co-operation which saw us before our independence being assisted by the Communist Party of China invariously to build the capacity that we used to demolish colonialism here," Mugabe said.

"We continue to interact in terms of development in other sectors. We still want that cooperation to intensify."

Yang's visit at the invitation of his Zimbabwean counterpart Simbarashe Mumbengegwi was "aimed to consolidate the friendship between China and Zimbabwe," according to the Chinese embassy in Harare.

He held meetings with Mugabe, Mumbengegwi and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and was to launch an agriculture research centre.

Yang's visit comes weeks after Zimbabwe's investment promotion minister, Tapiwa Mashakada, announced plans by the China Development Bank to fund investments worth $10 billion in Zimbabwe's mining, agriculture and infrastructure sectors.

Zimbabwe and China have political ties dating back to before Zimbabwe's independence, when Beijing provided arms and training to guerrillas fighting British colonial rule.

China has also been pivotal in protecting Zimbabwe at the United Nations. In 2008 China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution seeking sanctions against Harare.

Source - AFP