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Zimbabwe: Belarus Alexander Lukashenko arrives for 3-day go to

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Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday arrived in Zimbabwe for talks along with his counterpart in what analysts stated was an try by the 2 leaders to “diversify” their diplomatic ties.

The Belarusian president’s workplace stated Lukashenko, 68, landed within the capital, Harare, the place he was welcomed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, 80, and 1000’s of ruling ZANU-PF social gathering supporters.

Round 5,000 folks chanting slogans and songs converged on the tarmac on the Robert Mugabe Worldwide Airport in Harare as a part of the welcome.

The 2 leaders, who’ve each confronted Western sanctions, had been due maintain an official assembly on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe’s International Ministry stated the talks aimed toward strengthening “the prevailing wonderful relations” between the 2 international locations, in areas together with politics, mining and agriculture.

“The go to is historic, as it’s the first such enterprise to a sub-Saharan African nation, by President Lukashenko,” the ministry stated in a press release.

His journey follows a 2019 go to by Mnangagwa to Minsk, after which Belarus opened an embassy in Harare. It comes with the 2 international locations below a level of diplomatic isolation, their leaders and authorities officers focused by Western sanctions.

Lukashenko is a detailed ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has backed Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Each international locations are searching for to diversify their worldwide relations — and each have been impacted by US and EU sanctions imposed due to their poor human rights document,” stated Alex Vines, who heads the Africa programme at British suppose tank Chatham Home.

“Belarus traditionally largely appears to export its navy experience and equipment.”

In energy for almost 30 years, Lukashenko has overseen a brutal crackdown on protests after a contested election in 2020.

Mnangagwa got here to energy in 2017 after generals pressured long-time ruler Robert Mugabe to resign.

He’s bidding for re-election this yr amid accusations of corruption and rights violations, together with a crackdown on political opponents.

In 2021, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Mission (OCCRP), a consortium of investigative journalists, unveiled hyperlinks between Lukashenko’s household and a gold mining enterprise in Zimbabwe.