Zimbabwe, Russia consolidate relations

Senior Reporter
The mega deals signed between Zimbabwe and Russia including the $3 billion platinum mining project in Darwendale, will be a success as Government and private sector officials involved are people of high repute, Russian State Secretary and Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr Igor Zubov said yesterday.

He said the deals, signed late last year and witnessed by President Mugabe, would soon start paying dividends for the two countries.

Mr Zubov’s remarks comes as Zimbabwe and its traditional ally, Russia, yesterday penned yet another key bilateral security agreement that will see local police officers being trained in that country.

Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, signed on behalf of Government while Russia was represented Mr Zubov.

Speaking after the signing ceremony in Harare yesterday, Mr Zubov said: “We have got serious economic projects in the pipeline and I personally know the people involved in that.

“These people are of higher authority in Russia, both Government officials and business people. Those projects will have a huge input to our future.”

Russian Foreign Minister Mr Sergey Lavrov led a delegation to Zimbabwe in September last year and sealed several agreements including a $3 billion platinum project in Darwendale.

The investment became one of Zimbabwe’s biggest since independence.

Mr Zubov said his visit had been a success adding that the memorandum of understanding they signed had sealed “our long term strive of cooperation in police activities.”

“The practical part of our memorandum is to continue training programmes for Zimbabwe officers,” he said.

“We have large experience in this and I hope that in the nearest future we will finalise all the formalities and your police officers will be able to get training in Russia. That means you will get professional officers that will have not only necessary skills, but will now know what Russia is. Russia is a beautiful country, very friendly and it welcomes with open heart all those who go there with an open heart.”

The agreement was signed in the presence of Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri.

Mr Zubov said the world was developing quickly and without international cooperation, it would be difficult to cope with new challenges and threats.

“We should prepare the base beforehand,” he said.

“The major goal of such visits is to develop some landmarks to see your counterpart, know his views and decisions to understand him and his position. We see there is a friend near us and we are in a friendly country. We offer our hands to our friends and we can help with what we can. We hope we will be able to help each other and have mutual support.”

He said Zimbabwe and Russia had a lot in common, including enemies.

“We have a keen sense of independence and justice,” Mr Zubov said.

“We have common enemies and they are using the same methods against us. Zimbabwe managed to cope with this and maintained its position. Russia is indeed a great and big country, you cannot dictate something to Russia. In most difficult periods of history, Russia was able to mobilise all its powers and finally we got more than we lost. Objectively, we should be together.”

Minister Mohadi said local officers would be trained in different spheres.

“You will realise that Russia is a much older country than ourselves and they consolidated their police for all those years from 1917 until the time the Soviet Union fell apart,” he said

“We have got a lot to learn from them through this cooperation. Most of this cooperation will come from the two department forces because they are the ones who are going to benefit.

“The agreement that we have here stipulates categorically what areas we would want to cooperate on in terms of enhancing the operation of our two forces, that is fighting internationally organised crime, fighting human trafficking, drug and ammunition trafficking and money laundering.”

Minister Mohadi added: “All those areas in which Interpol is involved in combating are the ones we are going to cooperate on.

“Because they have got better experience than ourselves, we are going to learn more from them. Young as we are there also a number of areas they have to learn from us. It is going to be a beneficiary area from our point of view.”