HomeLocal NewsTit for tat on envoys: Charamba

Tit for tat on envoys: Charamba

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President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba says Zimbabwe is not bothered if the country’s diplomats to the West and its allies are expelled because their presence there was just “ornamental”.

He added that if those countries dared to expel Zimbabwe’s diplomats, Harare would reserve the right to reciprocate.

“In diplomacy there is a principle called reciprocity. You do to the other country what you want them to do unto you,” Charamba said.

“If country A refuses to recognise ambassadors from country B, then country B reserves the right to do the same.”

Charamba said Zimbabwe has an “array of measures” it can take if the Western countries refused to recognise its diplomats.

Charamba said the presence of Zimbabwe’s diplomats in Western countries was not beneficial at all since the country was not doing any meaningful business with them “because of sanctions”.

“We are doing no business with Europe because of sanctions,” Charamba told NewsDay. “Our ambassadors in Europe are not engaged. Their representation is ornamental.”

Charamba, who is also the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity, said he doubted that Western countries would be “foolish enough” to expel Zimbabwe’s diplomats as it would present Harare with an opportunity to do the same.

Instead, Charamba said, it was Western countries that badly needed to have a presence in Zimbabwe to “further their agenda of regime change”.

Charamba said it was Western countries that stood to benefit more by having diplomats in Zimbabwe.

“They (Western countries) themselves would want to be here for the purposes of furthering their agenda of regime change,” he said.

Charamba spoke as the European Union (EU) has made it clear it was taking seriously the dispute between President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai over the legitimacy of diplomats unilaterally appointed by the President.

The EU said it was treating the matter seriously and wanted clarification from the inclusive government.

Tsvangirai wrote to the EU and the United Nations protesting against the “unilateral” appointments of the envoys by President Mugabe.

The Prime Minister said the appointments were a violation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which gave birth to the inclusive government.

He urged Western countries and the UN not to recognise the diplomats.

Tsvangirai also wrote to South African President Jacob Zuma who is the guarantor to the GPA.
President Mugabe has justified his actions saying the appointments were above board.

The envoys to Sweden, Italy, the EU, South Africa and the UN were appointed in July.

The UN says it will continue to recognise the envoy appointed by President Mugabe as it was bound by communication from Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs ministry.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said: “It is important that ambassadors be fully empowered to speak on behalf of the whole government. The EU supports the GPA. Non-respect is therefore a matter of great concern. This is a serious matter that demands clarification.”

There were reports of a spirited campaign within the EU not to recognise the diplomats appointed without the agreement of the other principals to the GPA.

EU MP Geoffrey Van Orden said Zimbabwe’s diplomats should not be recognised.

Van Orden said he would seek audience with EU leaders to push them to take heed of Tsvangirai’s request.

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