Peace key to development-Lungu


THERE can never be development without peace, security and political stability in any country and it is, therefore, important that the social and economic developments in respective countries should not go up into flames on account of lack of peace and security, President Lungu has said.

And President Lungu has paid glowing tribute to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and King Salman bin Abdullaziz Al Saud for looking after first republican president Kenneth Kaunda who has been here for the last 10 days for medical attention.

President Lungu said Zambia and Saudi Arabia had been friends for a long time but that the growth in relationship had stagnated, hence his visit to rekindle the bilateral relations.

Speaking when Saudi Arabia deputy Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nizar Madani paid a courtesy call on him at the Jeddah Conference Palace on Tuesday, President Lungu said Zambia was deeply concerned about the peace and security in the SADC and the Great Lakes Region (GLR).

He said political instability and conflict in one region often had the tendency of spilling over to other regions and it was, therefore, important for countries to ensure that security was not compromised. President Lungu said Saudi Arabia could be far from regions such as the Great Lakes Region but if the region was riddled with conflict, it could affect the kingdom in more ways than one.

The President said Zambia was equally concerned with acts of terrorism in the world and commended Saudi Arabia for its role in combating terror and insurgency in the world.

“We have been friends for a long time, but our friendship seemed not to have been growing and my visit here is meant to rekindle our diplomatic relations. We are happy that you appreciate the need to strengthen our relationships.

‘You have heard that we are concerned about peace and security in our region because of the realisation that we could have our development go into flames because of political instability. You might be thinking you are far from Africa but conflict has a tendency of spilling over. We must also commend Saudi Arabia for your role in combating terrorism in the world,” he said.

And Mr Madani said the kingdom attached great importance to its relationship with Africa and Zambia in particular.

Mr Madani said Zambia and Saudi Arabia had a lot of commonalities in the challenges the two nations were facing and that the security, peace and development should be core in the bilateral and diplomatic relations of the two states.

Mr Madani said Zambia and Saudi Arabia should endeavour to seek ways of synchronising their policies in security, peace and economic development for the benefit of the citizens of the two nations.

He said it had been more than 34 years since a Zambian Head of State had visited Saudi Arabia and that President Lungu’s visit had refreshed the diplomatic associations between the two countries.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Export Programme has pledged to market Zambia to its local investors so that they could see Zambia as an investment destination of choice.

Saudi Export Programme director general Ahmed Mohammad Al-Ghannam said his organisation would soon start delivering petroleum derivatives to Zambia.

Mr Mohammad Al-Ghannam said his organisation through the Saudi Development Fund was about to start the construction of an 800-bed capacity hospital in Lusaka apart from other programmes the organisation was implementing in the country such as the tarring of the Mongu-Sikongo Road in Western Province.

And President Lungu was hopeful that the construction of the 800-bed capacity hospital would start soon, stating that development was meaningless in the midst of poverty.

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