Zimbabwe has applied to rejoin the Commonwealth as it seeks to rebuild its international ties.
British foreign secretary Boris Johnson said it was “fantastic news” which followed “productive” talks at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting CHOGM in London.
The African country, which quit the Commonwealth in 2003 under Robert Mugabe, has been told it must demonstrate that it meets conditions on human rights and the rule of law.
Commonwealth observers will also monitor July’s elections, with the way the vote is handled set to form part of the informal assessment.
“Fantastic news that Zimbabwe wishes to rejoin the Commonwealth,” Johnson said.
“Wonderful that this follows productive talks at April’s Commonwealth Summit in London.
“Zimbabwe must now show commitment to Commonwealth values of democracy and human rights.”
Zimbabwe’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa formally applied to rejoin the Commonwealth in a letter to secretary-general Patricia Scotland.
“I wholeheartedly echo the sentiments of Heads of Government who have said twice, in 2009 and subsequently in 2011, that they very much look forward to Zimbabwe’s return when the conditions are right,” she said.
“Zimbabwe’s eventual return to the Commonwealth, following a successful membership application, would be a momentous occasion, given our shared rich history.”
To rejoin, Zimbabwe must demonstrate that it complies with the values of the Commonwealth Charter, including democracy and rule of law plus the protection of human rights.
An informal assessment is to be undertaken by representatives of the secretary-general, followed by consultations with other Commonwealth countries.
July’s elections will be a key test of the country’s progress since Mugabe was ousted in November.
Source: The Australian