Mugabe applauds Chinese assistance to Zimbabwe

Updated: 2011-08-10 09:41


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HARARE - President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday thanked Chinese assistance to Zimbabwe's military and to the civil military cooperation between the Zimbabwe Defense Forces and the community.

Speaking at the commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) Day, Mugabe thanked the Chinese government for extending a loan to build the National Defense College, especially at a time the military is facing severe financial constraints.

"I wish to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to the People's Republic of China for extending an amount of $97 million loan towards the construction of the college," he said.

The college, currently being constructed by a Chinese company, will have university status and be the ZDF's highest institution of academic and military instruction.

"The current poor budgetary provisions and effect of the illegal sanctions had stalled projects such as the acquisition of modern equipment and construction of accommodation which had commenced at Dzivaresekwa when our friends from China responded to our plight in this regard.

"They donated critical plant and engineering, medical and office equipment to the ZDF which equipment was officially handed over to the Ministry of Defense by the ambassador of the People's Republic of China (Xin Shunkang)," said the Zimbabweab leader.

Mugabe also thanked the people of China for providing surgeons who under their Brightness Trip performed eye cataract operations on several hundred partially blind Zimbabweans and donated eye equipment to the defense forces during the past year.

The trip was sponsored by Beijing Tongren Hospital, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Corporation and Hainan Airlines.

Mugabe once again called for the lifting of sanctions imposed by the West and urged countries such as Britain to sort out their internal problems and leave Zimbabwe alone.

He was alluding to the riots and looting that have engulfed London following the fatal shooting of a man by the police last Thursday.

"And once again we appeal to those who have imposed sanctions to heed our call, our appeal that the sanctions should go. Let those in Europe attend to their problems, and those in America attend to their internal problems," he said.