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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Britain’s foreign secretary meets world leaders in Africa to discuss Zimbabwe

Boris Johnson said he had been encouraged by Zimbabwe’s new president’s words so far

Traffic flows past a billboard with a portrait of Emmerson Mnangagwa the new Zimbabwean President in Harare, Zimbabwe. Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/ AP Photo
Traffic flows past a billboard with a portrait of Emmerson Mnangagwa the new Zimbabwean President in Harare, Zimbabwe. Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/ AP Photo

Britain’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson will meet leaders from Europe and Africa on Wednesday to discuss the latest political developments in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa took office last week following the resignation of Robert Mugabe.

Mr Mnangagwa, a former vice president whose sacking by Mr Mugabe set the stage for a takeover by the Zimbabwean army, has inherited a country with an ailing economy heavily in debt.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Johnson said he had been “encouraged” by what Mr Mnangagwa’s had to say so far.

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“Recent events in Zimbabwe offer a moment of hope for the country and its people. This is a time to look to the future and to make clear that Britain shares the common vision of a prosperous, peaceful and democratic Zimbabwe,” the British foreign secretary said.

“I am encouraged by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s words so far. During his inauguration speech, he promised to reform the economy and give investors the security of title they need if Zimbabwe is to fulfil its potential and create the jobs that are sorely needed. For as long as the president acts on his words, then Britain is willing to work alongside him and offer all the support we can.”

Mr Johnson will attend a major summit in Cote D’Ivoire, West Africa, alongside EU and African Union leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South African President Jacob Zuma. He will also meet representatives of the 18 African Commonwealth countries.

“The UK’s relationship with Africa and the African Union will continue to go from strength to strength, and as we leave the EU I want to work even more closely with my counterparts in the region,” Mr Johnson said.

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