Russia, China hail Mugabe – report
24 February 2014, 21:34
Cape Town – Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have reportedly praised Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe for his “astute leadership in spearheading Africa’s fight for self-determination”.
According to The Herald, the two leaders said this in their separate congratulatory messages to Mugabe who turned 90 on Friday.
Celebrations for his birthday were held on Sunday at a stadium in Marondera.
The veteran leader has spent more than a third of his life as leader of Zimbabwe, lauded as a liberation hero by some and condemned as a human rights abuser by others.
Mugabe is currently the deputy chairperson of SADC and the African Union.
Xi commended Mugabe for safeguarding the “sovereignty of your country” and ensuring “self-dependence and self-improvement”.
Xi said Mugabe had made “extraordinary contributions to the life of Zimbabwe and Africa”.
In a message delivered on his behalf by Russia’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Sergey Bakharev, Putin said Mugabe enjoyed great respect the world over, the report said.
China and Russia were major supporters of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle of the 1960s and 1970s. They also remain Zimbabwe’s "important economic partners".