US pledges drought, health support

The United States of America is working on providing assistance to Zimbabwe and addressing challenges associated with food security this year.

Nigeria, on the other hand, is also looking at strengthening relations with Zimbabwe by reviving the joint commission and upgrading the relationship to boost economic ties.

This came out when the two countries’ ambassadors paid courtesy calls on Acting President Constantino Chiwenga at his Munhumutapa Office yesterday.

First to meet the Acting President was the outgoing Nigerian Ambassador Ms Janet Bessong Odeka who said her country had already started upgrading the relations.

US Ambassador Mr Nichols said they discussed several issues including assistance to Zimbabwe, human rights and constitutional alignment.

In 2019, the US Government provided US$370,3 million in assistance to Zimbabwe in the areas of health, food security and emergency assistance.

The assistance includes US$150 million for HIV and Aids, under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Mr Nichols said the US was willing to assist Zimbabwe overcome its challenges posed by the drought and was waiting for further details from Government.

“We gave over US$370 million in assistance to Zimbabwe in 2019 and we express concern for the current drought and economic situation in Zimbabwe.

“We stand with the people of Zimbabwe always and we will co-operate closely to ensure that the challenges of hunger are met in this country.

“We also talked about constitutional alignment, human rights and the reform agenda, the Government and stressed the importance of Zimbabwe moving forward in that area.

“We talked about national dialogue, it is something that should be broad and inclusive and bring all Zimbabweans together to find a way forward out of the challenges the country faces,” he said.

On the issue Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, he said the legislation of ZIDERA and the executive order that covers the economic restrictions on 141 entities and persons was public.

“Government can take necessary conditions to satisfy the requirements of that legislation, and we hope they will do so.

“That is up to the Government of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Ambassador Odeka, who was bidding farewell to the Acting President said during her term, the two countries had registered several achievements among them co-operation in defence.

“We also talked about bringing back the joint commission between the two countries and I am sure whoever takes over from me will take it to a much higher level.

“I am sure both countries are eager and very soon the joint commission will be held,” she said.

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