Harare, Oct 11: Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe Thursday urged France and other European countries to lift sanctions to boost trade with his country, even if they were not keen on removing travel ban on him.
“We do not want to visit Paris, I do not want your girls, I do not want to visit Paris for romantic purposes. I want to develop relations between us,” reported Xinhua citing Mugabe saying in a lighter vein, as he accepted credentials from newly posted ambassadors from France, Netherlands and Germany in the presidential palace.
State media quoted Mugabe as saying that the country had ability to export minerals, flowers and vegetables to European countries but was restricted by sanctions.
EU, Britain, and other Western countries imposed various sanctions on Zimbabwe’s ruling party in the early 2000s for its “alleged” assault on democracy and human rights.
Mugabe and senior party officials are banned to travel to Europe while state companies face restrictions in doing businesses in the West.
Zimbabwean authorities have repeatedly said sanctions badly hurt the country’s fragile economy and cause the sufferings of its people. “We must now look at the future and the need for sanctions to go.”
“Let’s get to trade, let our flowers find home on the Netherlands, let our greens find way into the Dutch markets,” he added.