Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday, where he will hold talks with his counterpart there, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
TASR took over the report from the AFP news agency. According to analysts it is an attempt by both leaders to “diversify” the diplomatic relations of their countries. The two presidents, who face Western sanctions, are scheduled for an official meeting on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the talks will be aimed at strengthening the “existing excellent relations” between the two countries in areas such as politics, mining or agriculture. “This visit is historic, as it is the first such visit by President Lukashenko to a country in sub-Saharan Africa,” the ministry said in a statement.
His trip follows Mnangagwa’s visit to Minsk in 2019, after which Belarus opened its embassy in the capital, Harare. It is taking place at a time when both countries are in diplomatic isolationwith their leaders and government officials targeted by Western sanctions.
Lukashenko is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and supported Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year. He has been in power for almost 30 years and unleashed a brutal crackdown on protests after disputed elections in 2020. Mnangagwa came to power in 2017 after the generals forced the resignation of longtime dictator Robert Mugabe. He will run for re-election this year against the backdrop of allegations of corruption and human rights violations.
In 2021, a consortium of investigative journalists, the Organized Crime and Corruption Watch Project (OCCRP), revealed links between the Lukashenko family and a Zimbabwean gold mining enterprise.