British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson today held an “historic meeting” meeting with his Zimbabwean counterpart Sibusiso Moyo which is expected to pave the way for the country's return to the Commonwealth, the Daily Mail says.
The British Foreign Office said it “strongly supports” Zimbabwe rejoining the group, which it was suspended from 16 years ago after Robert Mugabe rigged elections.
It comes five months after Mugabe was ousted from power following 37 years of rule which saw corruption flourish, his political opponents imprisoned and the economy tank.
Johnson today held a meeting on the sidelines of the Commonwealth summit with Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo.
In a statement afterwards Johnson said: “President Mnangagwa has been in power for 150 days and while Zimbabwe has made impressive progress, there's still much to do.
“That's why Britain, the Commonwealth and the wider international community will do everything it can in supporting Zimbabwe on its path of reform.
“But we must remember democracies are not made in a day.
“July's election will be a bellwether for the direction of a new Zimbabwe.
“The Zimbabwe government must deliver the free and fair elections the people of Zimbabwe deserve and which it has promised.
“The UK stands ready in friendship to support a Zimbabwe that fully embraces the rule of law, human rights and economic reform.”
His warm words come amid growing signs that the country will apply to rejoin the family of nations.
In a statement the Foreign Office hailed the “historic” meeting between the two ministers which they said “ushers in a new era in UK-Zimbabwe relations and symbolises Zimbabwe's commitment to engaging meaningfully with the international community”.
The Foreign Office added: “There is a great deal of interest in Zimbabwe applying to rejoin the Commonwealth after their election in July.
“Applying is a matter for the Zimbabwean people to decide.
“Zimbabwe would have to formally apply to the Commonwealth Secretariat and the final decision would then be for all Commonwealth members.
“However, the UK would strongly support Zimbabwe's re-entry and a new Zimbabwe that is committed to political and economic reform that works for all its people.” – The Daily Mail