Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea signed an agreement that will see the two countries trading energy resources, Zimbabwean radio reported on Monday.
But the authorities stressed it was a ”purely commercial agreement” and there was no indication that the deal might involve the extradition of Simon Mann, a Briton currently imprisoned in Zimbabwe over a foiled bid to topple the government of Equatorial Guinea.
”Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe have signed a purely commercial agreement for energy resources, to be bought and sold at market rates,” the report said without giving details of when the agreement was signed.
Ties between Harare and Malabo were cemented two years ago when 70 suspected mercenaries led by Mann were captured at Harare International Airport, allegedly on their way to topple the government of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.
Two weeks ago, Equatorial Guinea’s Attorney General, Jose Olo Obono was quoted as saying Zimbabwe had agreed to extradite Mann within the next two months. Zimbabwe’s attorney general claimed to have no knowledge of the deal.
The deal with Harare ”is a public, fair and legal transaction between two sovereign countries trading a global commodity”, the report quoted a senior mines official from Equatorial Guinea as saying.
Equatorial Guinea is one of Africa’s key producers of crude oil. Zimbabwe suffers from perennial fuel shortages, but has no capacity to refine crude oil.
The radio said that the energy agreement signed with Malabo ”comes at a convenient time when the country [Zimbabwe] is on an economic recovery path”. – Sapa-DPA