By Knowledge Teya
In New York, USA
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Tuesday held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 68th United Nations General Assembly with Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr Wang Yi as Zimbabwe’s anticipated economic boom takes centre stage on the globe.
Following the successful and peaceful elections which were held on July 31, Zimbabwe has been attracting an unprecedented number of potential investors with China leading the pack.
The country’s relationship with China dates back to the days of the liberation struggle.
The Chinese Government has pledged to invest billions in the country in the next few years.
Already Chinese experts have embarked on a massive water treatment project in Harare.
Addressing journalists from Zimbabwe, Foreign Affairs Minister, Samuel Mumbengegwi who attended the meeting said the bilateral meeting largely bordered on strengthening the existing ties between Zimbabwe and China.
He said the meeting also touched on MDGs, with special attention on the issue of people living with disabilities.
“It was a very good meeting discussing a wide range on our bilateral relations, but with particular emphasis on the strengthening and intensification of our economic cooperation,” said Minister Mumbengegwi.
“There were two aspects that were discussed.
“First was the MDGs as they relate to people with disabilities and secondly assessment of the progress made so far in the attainment of the eight MDGs.”
Minister Mumbengegwi reiterated UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s sentiments, saying it was unfortunate that most African countries would not be able to meet the 2015 deadline.
“It is quite clear that the overwhelming majority of developing countries will not be able to meet all the MDGs,” said Minister Mumbengegwi.
“What this means is that in the post 2015 development agenda, the issue of the MDGs that have not yet been achieved must be continued.
“Relating to people with disabilities, the general consensus was that when the MDGs were formulated, there was no any special attention given to people with disabilities and therefore it was decided that from now on, at least for the next two years, particular emphasis should be given to the needs and requirements of those living with disabilities.”
Commenting on education, Minister Mumbengegwi said Zimbabwe should be able to achieve universal primary education by 2015.
He said despite the illegal economic sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe by the West and its allies, the country had made great strides in education.
Zimbabwe currently has the highest literacy rate in Africa (97 percent).
“Our economy should now pick up and be able to put more resources in the attainment of MDGs,” said Minister Mumbengegwi.
Meanwhile, United States President Barack Obama addressed the General Assembly on Tuesday.
His speech that was regarded by some as ‘pure intimidation’ never touched on the pressing issues of the MDGs, a critical issue on the Agenda of the 68th session of the UN, but focused more on American ‘interests’ particularly in the Middle East and Africa.
America, said Obama, will not hesitate to use military force against Syria if it (Syria) does not dispose its so-called chemical weapons.
“Let me take this opportunity to outline what has been US policy towards the Middle East and North Africa, and what will be my policy during the remainder of my presidency,” said Obama.
“The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region.
“We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world.
“Although America is steadily reducing our own dependence on imported oil, the world still depends on the region’s energy supply, and a severe disruption could destabilise the entire global economy.
“We will not tolerate the development or use of weapons of mass destruction.”
Ban Ki Moon stressed the need for countries to address human needs instead of spending billions on weapons.
“At a time of pressing human
need, spending on weapons remains absurdly high,” he said.
“Let us get our priorities right and invest in people instead of wasting billions on deadly weapons.”
Meanwhile, President Mugabe joined other world leaders to discuss the situation in Syria where over 100 000 people have died in a civil war described by Ban Ki Moon as currently the ‘biggest peace and security challenge in the world’.
The leaders also roundly condemned the terror attacks in Kenya that left over 60 people dead at Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi.