Belarusian army general under EU, US sanctions visits Zimbabwe amid discussions of "cooperation" prospects

By bne IntelliNews November 3, 2023

A delegation of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces travelled to Belarus this week on a visit amid reports of possible high level military hardware supply agreements between the Russian allies.

Meanwhile, a visit to Zimbabwe by Belarusian army general Viktor Sheiman this week has sparked speculation and concern in the southern African nation over the real motives behind it, according to NewsDay.

Sheiman, a subject of European Union (EU) and US sanctions over alleged human rights abuses and suspect business deals, was in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital on October 30. He was pictured shaking hands with President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the presidential palace in the capital. 

“We have embassies in each other's countries,” the daily cited Zimbabwe foreign affairs minister Frederick Shava as saying on November 2.

“They are here to follow up on the deals signed by the heads of State (Mnangagwa and Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko) in January especially in agriculture. They have good dairy technologies and our dairy farms can benefit from them.”

NewsDay, however, recalled that during a 2018 visit to the southern African nation, Sheiman claimed to have come to negotiate mining deals on behalf of the Belarusian government but it turned out that the deals were actually personal. 

The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) revealed that a company, Zim Goldfields, is secretly co-owned by Sheiman’s son Sergei and a Belarusian businessman named Alexander Zingman, with no stake for the Belarusian government.

Sheiman is a close ally of Belarusian leader Lukashenko, who is also a close Mnangagwa ally.

“Leaked documents from the Pandora Papers revealed that Sheiman and his family had secretly owned an offshore company involved in dealings with a Zimbabwean State-owned mining company,” NewsDay wrote.

The EU and US sanctioned Sheiman for his role in alleged human rights issues and the disappearance of Lukashenko's critics during his tenure as Belarus' prosecutor-general in 2004.

Meanwhile, according to a Belarusian news agency, BelTA, a delegation of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces was in Minsk on November 2 for discussions on “promising avenues of future cooperation.”

A conference dedicated to the advancement of military contacts between Belarus and Zimbabwe took place in the Central House of Officers of Belarus' Armed Forces, BelTA noted.

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