Statement by President Jacob Zuma at the conclusion of his official working visit to Zimbabwe, read by the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Ms Maite Nkoane Mashabane

Friday, August 28, 2009

Harare- President Jacob Zuma this afternoon concluded his two day official visit to Zimbabwe to attend the 99th Harare Agricultural Show.

President Zuma wished to express his appreciation to the government and people of Zimbabwe for their gracious hospitality.

President Zuma visited Zimbabwe in his capacity as President of the Republic of South Africa, as well as Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community both of which are guarantors of the implementation of Global Political Agreement.

President Zuma also attended a State Banquet hosted by President Robert Mugabe last night and today had the privilege of officially opening the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society Show.

"We are encouraged by what we have seen during the show, particularly given the importance of agriculture in Zimbabwe and the entire SADC region" said President Zuma.

This includes the proposed agricultural Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will enable the countries to share agricultural development experiences, capacity building and skills development programmes.

He further reiterated that there are clear signs that Zimbabwe is on the road to recovery.
The challenge we now face is to ensure that the country's recovery is completed in the shortest space of time.

President Zuma added that for this to happen, it is absolutely necessary that the Global Political Agreement be fully implemented without delay.

As part of efforts to encourage this process, President Zuma met with the signatories to the agreement in my capacity as SADC Chairperson.

In meetings on Thursday night and this morning, the parties discussed the critical issues relating to its implementation.

The parties agreed on the need to speed up implementation and to find solutions to the current points of disagreement.

The important factor is that there was commitment among all parties, which will make the movement forward possible.

This is important for restoring confidence in the country and the economy.

The achievement of an effective recovery is also dependent on the removal of sanctions and other measures that hold back economic development.

President Zuma used the opportunity of opening the agricultural show to call on the international community to remove any remaining hindrances to Zimbabwe's recovery.

At the same time, he called on all parties in Zimbabwe to work together to remove any remaining obstacles to the implementation of the agreement.

President Zuma further added that South Africa has always stood with Zimbabwe in the search for a solution to the challenges facing the country, and remains committed to working with partners in Zimbabwe and the region to encourage further progress.

This visit takes place ahead of the SADC Summit on 7-8 September in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This will provide an opportunity to review progress in the implementation of the agreement, and for the countries of Southern Africa to reaffirm their commitment to assisting Zimbabwe.

President Zuma expressed his confidence that this visit had served to strengthen even further the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the peoples of Zimbabwe and South Africa.

"Most importantly, it is our wish that it should help take forward the implementation of the Global Political Agreement", President Zuma concluded.

For further enquiries contact the Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya on 072 715 0052 or DICO Spokesperson Nomfanelo Kota on 082 459 3787