President Robert Mugabe has warned countries that wanted to court war with Zimbabwe saying the country was ready for such a challenge. ‘We do not want war with any of our neighbours, ‘he said. ‘But if there are some who are itching for a fight, let them try it. They will taste the salt of the fight,’ he said.
He stressed Zimbabwe has and will never be aggressive with anyone adding the country was instead ready to support other countries that were under attack as in the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that saw Zimbabwean soldiers go and help the country defend itself against invaders.
New Ziana reports that President Mugabe was speaking when he addressed thousands of Zanu-PF supporters who thronged the Harare International Airport to welcome him on his arrivals from the just ended African Union Summit in Egypt.
President Mugabe has also set new conditions for engaging in talks with the Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) .
The conditions are that the opposition and its western allies accept the outcome of the June 27 presidential run-off, which the ruling party won and the removal of illegal sanctions slapped on Zimbabwe..
President Mugabe said the issue of the land was also a key factor to the talks as the reforms were not reversible.
He said it was only the people of Zimbabwe who cast their vote last Friday and not Britain or America that had the power to tell him how to run the country.
‘I am the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe,’ Mugabe said,
If we agree on that and accept the June 27 vote then we can enter into dialogue and move forward together to rebuild our beloved country,’ President Mugabe.
‘This is a reality that everyone has to accept first before anyone can begin a dialogue with us. We are open to dialogue,’ he added.
Mugabe’s comments comes after Britain and America urged the international community to recognise the March 29 elections and not the June 27 run-off results, which Zanu-PF won.
‘We stand by our people, and we listen to our people,’ President Mugabe said.
He said the June 27 will never and never be rejected by anyone adding that it is only Zimbabweans and not Britain or America who can decide who shall lead Zimbabwe.
‘If it calls on us to defend our country again,’ he said, ‘we are prepared to suffer and to die for it again,’ he said.
He said the votes had total meaning on who should rule Zimbabwe and also a rejection of western influence.
President Mugabe said the western world can go ahead and tighten its sanctions on the country but Zimbabwe had vast resources to feed its people.
He said the government was also committed to assisting its people to address the socio-economic challenges facing the country.
Meanwhile, President Mugabe has urged British Prime Minister Godwin Brown to withdraw from Zimbabwe all British companies as the country could do without them.
‘Please Mr Brown withdraw all your companies from Zimbabwe,’ President Mugabe said.
‘The sooner you do that the better,’ he added.
He said the government had since identified such companies for a takeover, since they were working with western forces to destabilise the country and force its people to turn against the government.
The companies, President Mugabe said, were increasing prices without justification, threatening the peace that is prevailing in the country.
‘We have identified these companies. We shall be sitting down with them and reading the riot act,’ he said.
In the meantime, President Mugabe said the government would continue with people’s shop programme to ensure its citizen had access to cheap and affordable food.
More buses would also be given to the people to address transport woes while assistance to small to medium enterprises would continue.
‘We are now working at ensuring that we deliver all the promises we made during our campaigns,’ he said.
President Mugabe also paid tribute to Zimbabweans for voting peacefully during the just ended run-off.
He said areas such as Harare had come back home after discovering that the MDC had nothing much to offer.
‘We also thank South Africa President Thabo Mbeki for the role he has played towards the development of Zimbabwe,’ Mugabe said.
He said Mbeki’s role had brought a number of positive developments to Zimbabwe such as the talks between Zanu-PF and MDC.
President Mugabe said those who were calling for Mbeki to be replaced as the negotiating leader in the country were misguided as the South Africa leader had done much for Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe also briefed supporters on what transpired at the AU Summit, saying the meeting was successfully held.
Senior government officials, the diplomatic community and services chiefs welcomed Mugabe on his arrival.
The first lady Grace Mugabe and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa were among the delegates that accompanied the President to the Summit.