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MUGABE RETURNS FROM URUGUAY | President Mugabe returned home from Uruguay yesterday after attending the World Health Organisation Global Conference on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), a meeting that culminated in him being named a WHO Goodwill Ambassador.

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NCDs are chronic diseases that cannot be passed from person to person, and include chronic respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, cancer and diabetes.

The President — who was accompanied by ministers Dr Walter Mzembi (Foreign Affairs) and Dr David Parirenyatwa (Health and Child Care) — was welcomed at Harare International Airport by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Also there to welcome President Mugabe were ministers Dr Sydney Sekeramayi (Defence), Retired Major-General Happyton Bonyongwe (Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs), Dr Joram Gumbo (Transport and Infrastructural Development) and Miriam Chikukwa (Harare Provincial Affairs); Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, and other senior Government officials and service chiefs.

In an interview on landing, Dr Parirenyatwa described the conference as a huge success, while also hailing President Mugabe’s appointment as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Africa in the fight against NCDs.

“All the nations came up with a declaration on NCDs to be put up the agenda of prevention,” he said.

Dr Parirenyatwa said among other things, the declaration urges nations to mobilise resources to fight NCDs.
“This is a new page for Zimbabwe. President Mugabe is involved in a big way as Ambassador, and Zimbabwe should be a model in the fight against NCDs,” he said.

Dr Mzembi said Zimbabwe had taken the opportunity to boost diplomatic relations with Uruguay.

“The thrust going forward is linking Zimbabwe with new markets,” he said.

In Uruguay, President Mugabe met that country’s leader, President Tabare Vasquez, and the two explored areas of economic co-operation.

Dr Mzembi and Uruguay’s Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa followed that up with their own closed-door discussion.

Dr Mzembi told journalists after that meeting: “I think we have something going with the Uruguayans, very warm people and very genuine. What they have informed me is that their own President has instructed that a delegation be dispatched to Harare to follow up on the Presidential discussion.

“We have refined it a little bit in our own meeting to a position where we are saying the Minister of Agriculture for Zimbabwe and the Minister of Energy for Zimbabwe must first come up here to familiarise with the issues that the two Presidents discussed.”

He said the countries would explore co-operation in cattle-ranching and beef production among other aspects of agricultural development.

Another area of possible co-operation is renewable energy.

Dr Mzembi said, “Uruguay does not import energy. It is actually self-sufficient to an extent where it is producing 70 percent of its energy from wind and the rest is biomass and hydro-electric.”

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