FULL TEXT: "We're Tolerant Not Weak," Zimbabwe Tells USA
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sibusiso Moyo has responded to remarks that were made by USA Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols over sanctions saying that he was testing the patience of the Zimbabwean government. We present Moyo’s full statement below.
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE ON THE RECENT CONDUCT AND STATEMENTS OF THE AMBASSADOR OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
The unfortunate statement made by the US Ambassador on the occasion of the SADC Anti-Zimbabwe Sanctions Day on 25 October, exhibited a clear contravention of acceptable diplomatic etiquette, was grossly partisan in nature, and reflected not only a worrying lack of respect for the Host Government but was also abusive of the hospitality of the people of Zimbabwe as a whole.
Compounding these statements was the wholly unjustified imposition of US sanctions on the Honourable Owen Ncube, Minister of State Security Whilst we are a welcoming, extremely tolerant and friendly people, it would be a mistake for these qualities to be misinterpreted by any diplomat to mean that we are weak or that we will simply ignore or tolerate any form of insult or abuse.
International law helps us to draw a line between the functions which a diplomatic mission may exercise and those that it may not.
Furthermore, it establishes that, as sovereign nations, all countries in the world enjoy equal rights and protection. The legal functions of a diplomatic mission permitted under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (Article 3) include:
- Representation of the sending State in the receiving State:
- Protecting in the receiving State the interests of the sending State and of its nationals, within the limits permitted by international law;
- Negotiating with the Government of the receiving State;
- Ascertaining by all lawful means conditions and developments in the receiving State and reporting thereon to the Government of the sending State, and
- Promoting friendly relations between the sending State and the receiving State, and developing their economic, cultural and scientific relations.
Clearly, the Convention does not permit Embassies to conduct themselves like opposition citadels, pre-occupying themselves with the constant casting of aspersions, innuendo and even insults at the Host Government.
In fact, the Convention (Article 41) places a two-fold duty on diplomats in that they:
- Have to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State; and
- Should not interfere in the internal affairs of that State.
It follows, therefore, that the conduct of any diplomat which is openly inimical to the promotion of friendly relations is far removed from the core objectives of the Convention and cannot simply be ignored.
Any conduct which violates the generally accepted and legally recognised functions of diplomats constitutes an abuse of diplomatic privilege.
Moreover, no diplomat, let alone an Ambassador, should allow themselves to behave or to conduct themselves like some kind of Opposition member, with complete disregard for all norms of permissible diplomatic protocol.
The constant portrayal as a fact of what are mostly largely unsubstantiated allegations or even rumours, often still being investigated or process 212 law-enforcement or other Agencies of Government, is unacceptable.
Persistent behaviour of this nature will test the patience of even the most tolerant amongst us. It would be a very sad day if the dialogue between the US Embassy and this Ministry, and Government more broadly, were to
collapse completely under its present leadership, such that we would end up just ignoring or even avoiding each other.
We genuinely seek dialogue with all well-meaning countries as part of our re-engagement efforts. But our openness and the innate generosity of spirit of all Zimbabweans should not be taken for granted and should certainly not be abused.
We have the means to bring all of this to an end, should we deem it necessary or should we be pushed too far.
Honourable Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Dr S.B. Moyo MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL
TRADE 30 October 2019