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The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States has been very supportive of Zimbabwe in its quest to have illegal sanctions imposed by the West removed.

In particular has been the ACP’s efforts to plead Zimbabwe’s cause with the European Union, which removed the bulk of the sanctions from November 1.

But President Mugabe and the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe remain on the sanctions list.

In an interview here, Zimbabwe’s Deputy Head of Commission Mr Nesbert Samasuwo said the ACP had been quite instrumental in the process.

“We could not have done it alone,” he said.

“Our lone voice would not have achieved much. In terms of solidarity, the ACP has really supported Zimbabwe over the sanctions pressure.”

The 79-member grouping has, over the last few years, come in total support of initiatives to remove the illegal sanctions and ensure Zimbabwe enjoys its rights and benefit of the solid relationship that exists between the ACP and EU.

This has also culminated in the resumption of funding under the European Development Fund, which had been suspended as the EU felt the country had “sidetracked ” by implementing policies that sought to empower its citizens.

President Mugabe has remained undeterred over his stand on empowering Zimbabweans despite the vilification by the West.

Speaking at the on-going 100th ACP Council of Ministers meeting here on Wednesday, the organisation’s outgoing Secretary General Mr Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni insisted that the ACP-EU had to have a mutually beneficial relationship.

“As a principal donor to the ACP, the EU has access to 79-member countries within its sphere of diplomatic and geopolitical influence, allowing Europe to wield what Harvard political scientist Joseph Nye terms soft power,” he said.

“This, however, would not mean that the ACP, and its one billion population! was at the EU’s mercy.”

The President of the ACP Council of Ministers Mr H.E.M Mohammed Diare also said the ACP was an important global player in quest of new territory and a more focused mandate.

“Who we are and what we are no longer is in doubt,” he said.

“We are an inter-governmental body united together by a shared experience and a common sense of destiny and collective in the world scene.

“Under international law we are all equal . . . equal under God, the Almighty creator of the heavens and the earth,” he added.

“All of us whether large or small, share the common experience of global marginality and vulnerability.

“We are all united by our commitment to solidarity, to the fraternity of nations, to a world governed by law and the norms of international justice and equity.”

Mr Diare said it was critical that developing countries became more united and promoted the common interest and values they cherished.

“Not only do we count. We must continue to make our voice count in the scheme of things in the great concert of nations,” said Mr Diare, who is also the Minister of State for the Economy and Finance of Guinea.

The ACP is seized with ascertaining its future relationship with the EU on the socio-economic front and politically.

Source : The Herald