UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has discussed the future of Zimbabwe with EU and African Union leaders at a summit on November 29, 2017
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has discussed the future of Zimbabwe with EU and African Union leaders at a summit on November 29, 2017.
The AU-EU summit, held in Cote D’Ivoire, West Africa, gathered leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, South African President Jacob Zuma and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss developments in Zimbabwe and security and prosperity across Africa more widely.
Johnson referred to recent political upheaval in Zimbabwe, including the resignation of long-standing President Robert Mugabe, as a moment of hope for the country and its citizens.
The Foreign Secretary has previously alluded to Zimbabwe’s potential to rejoin the Commonwealth, provided it holds free and fair elections within the next year to qualify for membership from the Commonwealth Secretariat.
He highlighted the role the UK could play as a partner for prosperity across the continent in working with African nations to achieve economic and political stability.
The Foreign Secretary and representatives from the 18 African nations that are also Commonwealth members laid the groundwork for talks that will take place in the upcoming Commonwealth Summit, to be held in London in April 2018.
This included providing better opportunities for the 60% of the Commonwealth population who are under 30 to improve their lives, and the issue of the illegal wildlife trade (IWT).
IWT crime is a priority for the UK Foreign Office, which has already laid down plans for solutions ahead of the 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London in October 2018.
Johnson said: “It is not only a deplorable trade that endangers some of our most iconic species of wildlife, but is also a lucrative source of income for transnational criminals which brings misery to local communities.”
On Zimbabwe’s future, he said: “This is a time to look to the future and to make clear that Britain shares the common vision of a prosperous, peaceful and democratic Zimbabwe.
“I am encouraged by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s words so far – during his inauguration speech, he promised to reform the economy and give investors the security of title they need if Zimbabwe is to fulfil its potential and create the jobs that are sorely needed.
“For as long as the President acts on his words, then Britain is willing to work alongside him and offer all the support we can.
“The UK’s relationship with Africa and the African Union will continue to go from strength to strength and, as we leave the EU, I want to work even more closely with my counterparts in the region.”
Read More: UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said it would be possible for Zimbabwe to rejoin the Commonwealth since Robert Mugabe’s deposition, in response to questions from a parliamentary colleague, according to the Telegraph