PRESIDENT LUNGU ADDRESS THE EUROPEAN, ASIAN AND AMERICAN MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS IN ZAMBIA

IT IS A GREAT PLEASURE TO WELCOME YOU ALL TO STATE HOUSE. WE EXTENDED OUR INVITATION TO MEET WITH YOUR EXCELLENCIES TODAY, SOON AFTER MY INAUGURATION IN ORDER TO EXPRESS MY APPRECIATION FOR ALL THE SUPPORT RENDERED TO THE GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER OUR ELECTIONS.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES,
ZAMBIA APPRECIATES THE WARM AND FRIENDLY RELATIONS THAT SHE ENJOYS WITH EACH OF YOUR RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES. IN THIS REGARD, I WISH TO COMMEND YOUR EXCELLENCIES FOR THE GOOD WORK YOU ARE DOING IN MAINTAINING THESE RELATIONS.
ZAMBIA ATTACHES GREAT IMPORTANCE TO OUR POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND MULTILATERAL TIES, AS THEY PLAY A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN THE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF OUR NATION.

IN THIS RESPECT, I WISH TO EXPRESS MY GOVERNMENT’S SINCERE APPRECIATION OF YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT, BOTH AT THE BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL LEVELS. I LOOK FORWARD TO A CONTINUED FRUITFUL WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR EXCELLENCIES’ RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES,
AS YOU ARE WELL AWARE, ZAMBIA RECENTLY HELD A CLOSELY CONTESTED GENERAL ELECTION ON 11TH AUGUST, 2016 IN WHICH THE PATRIOTIC FRONT EMERGED VICTORIOUS, AND I WAS RE-ELECTED AS PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA.
I AM HAPPY TO NOTE THAT MANY LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS CONSIDERED THE ELECTIONS AS CREDIBLE AND GENERALLY PEACEFUL.
FURTHERMORE, THE ELECTIONS WERE DESCRIBED AND DECLARED FREE AND FAIR BY ORGANISATIONS SUCH AS THE EUROPEAN UNION, AFRICAN UNION (AU) AND SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY (SADC), AMONG OTHERS.
WHILE I DO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE ELECTORAL PROCESS EXPERIENCED CHALLENGES, I AM HAPPY TO STATE THAT THESE WERE RESOLVED THROUGH RELEVANT INSTITUTIONS INCLUDING THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT WHICH CONSEQUENTLY ALLOWED FOR A PEACEFUL ASSUMPTION OF POWER.

I APPLAUD THOSE COUNTRIES AND ORGANISATIONS THAT OBSERVED OUR ELECTIONS, OR FORMED PART OF THE ELECTORAL OBSERVATION MISSIONS DEPLOYED TO VARIOUS PARTS OF OUR COUNTRY.
THEIR PRESENCE PROVIDED LEGITIMACY TO THE ELECTORAL PROCESS, AND THUS, CONTRIBUTED TO THE FURTHER CONSOLIDATION AND ENHANCEMENT OF DEMOCRACY IN ZAMBIA.
MAY I THEREFORE TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY, TO REITERATE, ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, OUR SINCERE GRATITUDE FOR THE INVALUABLE SUPPORT IN ALL FORMS THAT WAS RENDERED BY YOUR RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES BEFORE, DURING, AND SOON AFTER THE GENERAL ELECTIONS.
YOUR EXCELLENCIES,
IT IS A KNOWN FACT THAT NO COUNTRY CAN EXIST WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF OTHER COUNTRIES, IN ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. THEREFORE, I WISH TO EXPRESS MY SINCERE GRATITUDE TO THOSE COUNTRIES AND ORGANISATIONS THAT WERE REPRESENTED AT THE INAUGURATION, WHICH IS TESTIMONY TO THE GOOD RELATIONS THAT EXIST BETWEEN US.
I FURTHER WISH TO EXPRESS MY PROFOUND GRATITUDE TO YOUR RESPECTIVE HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT FOR THEIR CONGRATULATORY MESSAGES ON MY RE–ELECTION AS PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES,

WITH THIS RENEWED MANDATE FROM THE ZAMBIAN PEOPLE, MY GOVERNMENT WILL, DURING THE NEXT FIVE YEARS, WORK EXTRA HARD TO PROVIDE DIVERSE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE ENHANCEMENT AND STRENGTHENING OF RELATIONS WITH YOUR RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES FOR THE MUTUAL BENEFIT OF OUR PEOPLES.
IN THIS REGARD, IT GIVES ME GREAT PLEASURE TO MEET WITH YOUR EXCELLENCIES, TODAY TO SHARE THE PF GOVERNMENT’S ASPIRATIONS FOR OUR FUTURE COOPERATION.

MY GOVERNMENT’S VISION FOR 2017 IS TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE POVERTY BY FOCUSING ON REDUCING THE COST OF LIVING FOR THE POOR MAJORITY. THIS WILL BE DONE THROUGH INCREASED AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY, ENHANCED JOB CREATION AND ACCELERATED ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE 2016-2021 PATRIOTIC FRONT (PF) MANIFESTO.

AS YOUR EXCELLENCIES MAY RECALL FROM MY ADDRESS TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ON FRIDAY, 30TH SEPTEMBER, 2016, MY GOVERNMENT WILL PRIORITISE AGRICULTURE DURING THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. AS SUCH, WE WILL WORK TOWARDS DEVELOPING KEY SECTORS SUCH AS ENERGY, INDUSTRY, TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATION, EDUCATION AND HEALTH.

ACCELERATED GROWTH IN THESE SECTORS WILL CERTAINLY SPUR THE MUCH NEEDED DEVELOPMENT AND MODERNISATION OF THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR, WHERE WE HAVE THE GREATEST POTENTIAL FOR IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY AND THUS INCREASED JOBS AND WEALTH.

FURTHERMORE, MY GOVERNMENT INTENDS TO CONTRIBUTE TO A “GREEN WORLD” AND SEEKS TO LEARN AND ADOPT BEST PRACTICES IN WASTE MANAGEMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PRESERVATION.

WE ENVISAGE TO ATTAIN THIS THROUGH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF WASTE RECYCLING PLANTS SUCH AS THE ONE PROPOSED TO BE ESTABLISHED IN MUNALI CONSTITUENCY.

I AM CONFIDENT THAT WE WILL SEE GREATER COOPERATION FROM YOU, OUR COOPERATING PARTNERS, IN THIS AREA IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES,

IN THE ENERGY SECTOR, I WISH TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE SUPPORT THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN OFFERED IN REFURBISHING THE BATOKA GORGE, KARIBA DAM AND THE CHISHIMBA FALLS HYDRO POWER PLANTS.

I AM ALSO AWARE OF THE ASSISTANCE IN THE EXPLORATION OF ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF ENERGY, SUCH AS NATURAL GAS, WHICH IS CURRENTLY BEING CONDUCTED IN BLOCK 31 IN NORTHERN PROVINCE.

MY GOVERNMENT IS FIRMLY COMMITTED TO ENSURING THAT THIS DRIVE TO SEEK ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES WILL EXTEND TO WIND MILL PLANTS AND POSSIBLY NUCLEAR ENERGY IN AN EFFORT TO SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE ZAMBIA’S ENERGY MIX.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES,

I WOULD LIKE TO REITERATE THAT THE GROWTH AND INDUSTRIALISATION OF THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR IN ZAMBIA IS A CATALYST TO SPUR DIVERSIFICATION OF THE ECONOMY.

IN THIS REGARD, I LOOK FORWARD TO UPCOMING VISITS TO ZAMBIA FROM A NUMBER OF COMPANIES FROM SOME OF YOUR COUNTRIES, SUCH AS THE 50 SWEDISH COMPANIES IN NOVEMBER THIS YEAR. THE PRIVATE SECTOR IS, AFTER ALL, KEY TO UNLOCKING THE VAST INVESTMENT POTENTIAL IN ZAMBIA.

MY GOVERNMENT IS CONVINCED THAT THE PRIVATE SECTOR CAN CONTRIBUTE TO COUNTRY’S EMPLOYMENT CREATION, AND ULTIMATELY HELP REDUCE POVERTY.

MY MINISTERS OF NATIONAL PLANNING, FINANCE, AND COMMERCE, TRADE AND INDUSTRY HAVE ALREADY MET THE LOCAL BUSINESS HOUSES IN THIS REGARD, AND I AM CERTAIN THAT YOUR EXCELLENCIES WILL WORK HARDER TO LURE INVESTMENT FROM YOUR RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES BASED ON MY GOVERNMENT’S PRIORITIES.

AT THE GOVERNMENT TO GOVERNMENT LEVEL, MY ADMINISTRATION REMAINS COMMITTED TO BROADENING ITS COOPERATION WITH ALL ITS DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS BY ENGAGING EACH ONE OF YOU IN MORE DIPLOMATIC CONSULTATIONS IN ORDER TO IMPROVE OUR BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL RELATIONS. THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS IS THERE FOR YOU, FOR THIS PURPOSE.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES,
MY GOVERNMENT WILL REMAIN FULLY ENGAGED WITH THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ON KEY ISSUES AFFECTING THE WORLD SUCH AS PEACE AND SECURITY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AS WELL AS THE UNITED NATIONS REFORMS.
WITH PARTICULAR REGARD TO PEACE AND SECURITY, ZAMBIA SEEKS TO STRENGTHEN HER PRESENCE AT CONTINENTAL LEVEL FOLLOWING HER MEMBERSHIP OF THE AU PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL FOR THE PERIOD 2016 – 2019.
WE WILL CONTINUE TO BE ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN PEACEKEEPING, PEACE-BUILDING AND CONFLICT-RESOLUTION INITIATIVES ON THE CONTINENT, PARTICULARLY WITHIN SADC, COMESA AND THE GREAT LAKES REGION.
AT THIS JUNCTURE, I WOULD LIKE TO APPRECIATE THE CONFIDENCE EXPRESSED BY SOME OF YOUR GOVERNMENTS IN ZAMBIA‘S POSITIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE CREDENTIALS RESULTING IN OUR MEMBERSHIP TO THE AU PEACE AND SECURITY.

I AM AWARE THAT SOME OF YOUR GOVERNMENTS ARE ALREADY PUTTING IN PLACE THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, PROGRAMMES THAT WILL INCREASE OUR EFFECTIVENESS IN THE AU PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL, TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE REGIONAL AND CONTINENTAL AGENDA.
YOUR EXCELLENCIES, AMBASSADOR MARIANI, ALLOW ME TO MENTION IN PARTICULAR THE SUPPORT UNDER THE EUROPEAN DEVELOPMENT FUND.
WITH REGARD TO THE REFORMS OF THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL, ZAMBIA WILL, THROUGH HER MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMITTEE OF TEN (C10), CONTINUE TO PLAY A CONSTRUCTIVE ROLE IN ENSURING THAT THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATION PROCESS IS ACCELERATED.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES,

IN ORDER TO IMPROVE INFORMATION SHARING, WE SHOULD CONSIDER EXPLORING NEW WAYS OF SHARING INFORMATION REGARDING THE ROLE OF DIPLOMATS AND OTHER KEY ISSUES PERTAINING TO OUR INTERACTIONS.

I REMAIN OPEN TO DIALOGUE WITH YOUR EXCELLENCIES, THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AND WOULD ALSO APPRECIATE PROPOSALS ON HOW BEST TO EFFECTIVELY ADDRESS MATTERS OF MATTERS OF INTEREST AND CONCERN TO YOUR EXCELLENCIES.

IN THIS RESPECT, I EXPECT THE MEDIA TO ENSURE THAT RESPECT AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS ARE UPHELD WHEN DISCHARGING ITS DUTIES IN REPORTING, AND SOMETIMES ANALYSING, THE WORK AND ACTIONS OF DIPLOMATS ACCREDITED TO ZAMBIA.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES,

THERE IS NEED FOR YOUR CLOSER COLLABORATION WITH THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS IN RESPECT TO YOUR ACTIVITIES IN THE COUNTRY AND INTERACTIONS WITH GOVERNMENT.

I WISH TO EMPHASISE THAT YOU FEEL FREE TO INTERACT WITH VARIOUS STAKEHOLDERS IN THE COUNTRY, AS THIS IS THE NATURE OF YOUR WORK. HOWEVER, ALWAYS REMEMBER TO SEEK THE COUNSEL OF THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AS YOU DO SO.

THIS WAY, YOUR EXCELLENCIES WOULD BE PROTECTED, SHOULD THE NEED EVER ARISE. THE MINISTRY IS AT YOUR SERVICE 24 HOURS A DAY, IN ORDER TO ENSURE THAT YOUR EXCELLENCIES ARE ABLE TO SMOOTHLY EXECUTE YOUR DUTIES DURING YOUR RESPECTIVE TOURS OF DUTY.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES,
IN CONCLUSION, I WISH TO, ONCE AGAIN, EXPRESS APPRECIATION FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT TO MY GOVERNMENT AND THE PEOPLE OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA AND TO REASSURE YOUR EXCELLENCIES THAT ZAMBIA VALUES THE SIGNIFICANT ROLE THAT EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOUR EXCELLENCIES PLAY IN THE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY.
IT IS THEREFORE MY DESIRE, TO CONTINUE TO ACTIVELY STRENGTHEN AND ENHANCE OUR BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL RELATIONS TO ENSURE PROSPERITY FOR OUR PEOPLES.

I THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

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