Thursday, July 8, 2010

Remarks by H.E.Lt.Gen.Seretse Khama I.Khama,President of the Republic of Botswana, at a State Banquet on the Occasion of his official Visit to Zambia

source: Republic of Botswana (4/7/10) TAUTONA TIMES no 10 of 2010
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery"


Your Excellency, Mr. Rupiah Banda, President of the Republic of Zambia;
Your Worship the Mayor of the City of Ndola;
Cabinet Ministers here present;
Your Excellencies, Heads of the Diplomatic Mission and International Organisations;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Let me begin by saying how delighted, as well as honoured, I am to have been invited to come here to officially open the 46th Zambian International Trade Fair.

2. Your invitation, Mr. President, is an expression of the bonds of friendship that have long characterized the relationship between our two countries. Ours is truly an enduring friendship based on mutual respect, shared values and a common commitment to progress through good neighbourliness.

3. It is also a legacy of past struggles emanating from our common desire to secure a better future not only for our own citizens, but also the peoples of Southern Africa as a whole.

4. The critical role played by Zambia in ensuring the ultimate success of this region’s collective struggle for democracy and human dignity has now become a global legacy.

5. In this respect, I wish to pay further tribute to Zambia’s continuing role as a voice of reason and an anchor of stability within SADC. This is reflected in the economic growth your country has continued to enjoy, despite having been adversely affected by the recent global economic downturn.

6. Coming back to our bilateral relationship, I am pleased to note that the relative success of your economy has been our mutual opportunity, as it has been accompanied by modest, but measurable, growth in the trade and investment flows between our countries. This trend will hopefully gain further momentum.

7. Here it would be remiss of me, Your Excellency, if I did not commend you and your Government for the prudent manner in which you have been managing your economy, while building upon past reform initiatives.

8. I am also pleased to observe that we continue to derive mutual benefit from the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation and the Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security, which together exist in order to broaden and deepen the scope of our cooperation and resolve any obstacles that may stand in our way.

9. Over the years, these instruments have served us well, by strengthening our economic and political ties, while ensuring the safety and security of our peoples.

10. In this context, I am informed that our Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation is scheduled to meet in the near future to review ongoing progress and consider pending agreements between us.

11. I particularly look forward to any further progress we can make towards facilitating the construction of the Kazungula Bridge across the Zambezi, which would certainly open up vast opportunities for both our countries by facilitating the movement of people, goods and services.

12. Your Excellency, it would also be remiss of me if I failed to appreciate the fact that Botswana hosts a sizeable number of Zambians, who continue to make a significant contribution to our economic development. The presence of these brothers and sisters is most welcome; when you do not find them here you must know that they are at home among relatives.

13. Before I conclude my remarks, I wish to observe that our region is still experiencing a number of political challenges, which I strongly believe can be overcome through collective efforts aimed at maintaining integrity of our regional organisation. We should thus remain firmly committed to upholding its democratic and consultative principles.

14. You and I must never rest until every single country in our region and on the continent has embraced democratic principles that lead to good governance. We must never let them forget that the role of leaders and Governments is to serve the people who have expectations of us to deliver constantly improving standards of living. As long as we are ever mindful that our mandate is our responsibility to the welfare of all our citizens, the examples we have seen on this continent of self seeking politicians, driven by power, who fuel corruption and oppress their opponents and mismanage their economies will cease.

15. With these few remarks, may I now kindly request you to join me in drinking a toast to:

* the personal good health of His Excellency, Mr. Rupiah Banda, President of the Republic of Zambia,
* enhanced bilateral cooperation between Botswana and Zambia, and
* to international peace and security

To the President, I thank you!

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