Thursday, October 1, 2020

Botswana-Zimbabwe relations remain cordial – Skelemani

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Phandu Skelemani, last week said that relations between Botswana and Zimbabwe remain cordial despite recent accusations made by the Zimbabwean government against Botswana.

Speaking at a press conference convened to rebut allegations made in the Botswana Guardian and the Zimbabwean newspaper, The Herald, Skelemani said that Zimbabwe remains a valuable friend and neighbour to Botswana and diplomatic relations between the two are at their best.

The newspaper reports quoted Zimbabwe accusing Botswana of spreading hate mail against Zimbabwe through the Voice of America relay station based in Botswana, and promoting ideas of regime change in the country, despite parallel efforts facilitated by the SADC to solve the standoff in the unity government.

But, despite the explosive statements and the damning allegations, Skelemani was last week adamant that the two countries are not at any risk of a diplomatic fall out.

“Other than the present problem, our relations with Zimbabweans both on a people to people basis and as a nation remain very cordial. Zimbabweans are well disposed to us. Even as we speak today, immediately after the unfounded allegations leveled against us, our Zimbabwean ambassador, Gladys Kokorwe, is presenting her diplomatic credentials to President Robert Mugabe,” said Skelemani.

He added that Botswana has absolutely no fight with Zimbabwe and will continue to advocate for the beleaguered country to receive health and financial assistance to resuscitate its fledging economy.

“We are on record, even recently in Trinidad and in Brussels, calling for Zimbabwe to be given all the assistance that she needs. We have also demonstrated our commitment to assisting Zimbabwe by providing cash injection into their economy. This should be proof of our friendship and continued commitment to working with the Zimbabwean government to solve its problems,” he said.

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