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Russia hopes for constructive cooperation with Zimbabwe under new authorities

November 23, 19:39 UTC+3

On November 21, Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe announced his resignation

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MOSCOW, November 23. /TASS/. Russia hopes for continues of constructive cooperation with Zimbabwe under the new authorities, both in the bilateral format and on the global arena, Russian Foreign Minister Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"We hope that our multi-faceted relations and mutually beneficial cooperation with Harare will continue both in the bilateral format and on the global arena," she said.

"We hail constructive efforts of Zimbabwe’s neighboring countries and members of the sub-regional organization Southern African Development Community, which helped settle domestic political problems emerging in that country recently," the Russian diplomat stressed.

On Tuesday, Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe announced his resignation after 37 years in power. Last week, Zimbabwe’s top brass put in custody President Robert Mugabe and his family and Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo, blocked the roads leading to the buildings of the government, parliament and courts in Harare and seized the studios of the state television and radio broadcasting corporation. Military officials said that it was not a military coup by all means and their actions were aimed against "criminals" in the president’s entourage.

The country’s ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), sacked Mugabe as its leader and appointed former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his place. Mnangagwa will be sworn as president on November 24.

Russian-Zimbabwean cooperation

A key area of cooperation between Russia and Zimbabwe is production of precious metals and diamonds. Before 2014, Zimbabwe was the world’s eighth in terms of diamond production, with 4.7 million carats extracted in 2014. After the country announced consolidation of all diamond companies into a single government-run corporation in 2016, the industry has seen a decline, with many projects with foreign participation being rolled back.

Russia’s biggest project is Zimbabwe was DTZ-OZGEO joint venture which specialized in prospecting for and production of natural resources. The company developed a gold deposit in Penhalonga and a diamond deposit in Chimanimani, with proven reserves of five million carats and resources of up to 50 million carats. Investments were estimated at 97 million US dollars. Following the industry reform, the Zimbabwean side bought DTZ-OZGEO for mere 5.4 million US dollars.

Great Dyke Investments (Pvt) Ltd, a joint venture developing the Darwendale platinum department, is the largest project with Russia’s participation in Zimbabwe. Once commissioned, the deposit might be ranked among the world’s top five in terms of platinum group metals output.

In January 2016, a subsidiary of Russia’s biggest truck manufacturer Kamaz signed a contract with Zimbabwe’s ministry of tourism for 568 vehicles and spare parts for them.

According to Russia’s ministry of economic development, a number of Russian companies have demonstrated interest to cooperation with Zimbabwe. They included Tractor Plants Concern, United Engine Corporation, Shvabe Co., Russian Electronics, United Tool Corporation, Kalashnikov Concern, Technopromexport, National Immunobiological Company, Stroytransgaz, Power Machines, and others.

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