Zimbabwe has allowed observers from across the world to observe next month’s elections so that it can rejoin the international community if they are judged, free, fair, transparent and credible.
Laing who has been accused of being pro-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration said: “The British government wants to work with Zimbabwe as a friend and partner, and as equals on the basis of mutual respect.
“We want the economy to come back and will do everything we can to help the people of Zimbabwe to realise their full potential.
“We want Zimbabwe take up its rightful position in the international community, as a model of democracy, human rights and rule of law.
“We were absolutely delighted that the first steps have been taken to rejoin the Commonwealth.
“The events of November 2017, were truly momentous and much has changed. Since then, two UK government ministers have been to Zimbabwe, along with several high-level official and business delegations. And in London, we have welcomed government ministers including of course you, the Foreign and Trade Minister, as well as Opposition leaders.”
Laing said the last 12months in Zimbabwe had been exciting.
“We do indeed live in interesting times. But I think they are hopeful times. You can feel it. Zimbabwe has a revitalised politics with new energy, new leaders and new ideas on all sides. There is an opening of political space, and the kind of vibrant public debate that we have not had for many years,” she said.
There was therefore no room for complacency.
“Zimbabwe’s future rests on the legitimate victory of a government chosen by the people of Zimbabwe in a free and fair election,” she said.
“So much is riding on this now. It will be the key to unlocking the reengagement of international institutions, to debt restructuring, to infrastructure investment, to re-joining the Commonwealth and to all the support we can give.
“This election will be observed and scrutinised more intensely than any other in Zimbabwe’s history. I am delighted that European Union, US and Commonwealth observers will be joining SADC and AU and domestic observers to help make these elections as good as they can be.”