From Caesar Zvayi in JAKARTA, Indonesia—
President Mugabe had a busy schedule yesterday, holding four bilateral meetings, in addition to chairing and officially closing the Asia-Africa Commemorative Conference. The President, who will this morning represent Africa at the Bandung Conference commemoration, first paid a courtesy call on Chinese President Xi Jinping at Shangri-la Hotel, a meeting that was described by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi as a critical follow-up to the nine mega-deals signed between Zimbabwe and China during President Mugabe’s 13th State visit to Beijing in August last year.
‘‘His Excellency, the President has had a very, very good meeting with His Excellency, the President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Xi Jinping,’’ Minister Mumbengegwi said.
‘‘The discussion was wide ranging and covered virtually all areas of co-operation. In fact, it was an important follow-up to the State visit that His Excellency made to China in August last year where a number of very important agreements, which are currently being implemented in the various sectors of our economy, were signed in the agricultural sector, in the energy sector, in the infrastructural sector.
‘‘So, the two Heads of State had a very good exchange of views on all these areas of co-operation. They also had fruitful exchange of views on the general global issues such as reform of the UN Security Council and other organs of the United Nations. So, it was a very good meeting.’’
Government has signed multibillion-dollar mega-deals with China to revamp infrastructure in line with Government’s five-year economic blueprint, Zim-Asset, that identifies infrastructure development as a key enabler of economic growth.
To this end, Zimbabwe-China trade has since ballooned, reaching $1,1 billion in 2014.
From Shangri-la, the President headed for his hotel where he welcomed Speaker of the Supreme Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Mr Kim Yong Nam, who delivered a special message from his principal President Kim Jong-un.
Though the DPRK delegation refused to take questions from journalists, Minister Mumbengegwi said the President and Mr Kim held fruitful deliberations centred on the historic relations between Harare and Pyongyang.
‘‘The President and the Speaker of the DPRK had a very fruitful bilateral meeting where they discussed past relations and the work that has been done between the two countries starting from way back during the liberation struggle, how the DPRK supported and trained our forces,” he said.
‘‘After independence, you know that our Heroes’ Acre was in fact the work of co-operation between Zimbabwe and the DPRK. Of course, looking forward they agreed to strengthen the relationship.’’
President Mugabe then left for the Jakarta Convention Centre, venue of the conference, where he met host President Joko Widodo, before meeting Dr Rami Ramdallah, the foreign affairs minister of Palestine.
The bilateral meeting with Mr Widodo, the host president, was preceded by the signing of an MoU for the establishment of a joint commission between Zimbabwe and Indonesia.
Zimbabwe and Palestine enjoy excellent relations, with Zimbabwe being a long time supporter of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation.
Zimbabwe supports the proposed two-state solution where Israel and Palestine would co-exist with East Jerusalem the capital of the Palestinian State, a position that was reaffirmed in the declaration adopted yesterday at the close of the Asia-Africa conference that called for comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.