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LUNGU,Al -Bashir, Bogdanov meet


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President Edgar Lungu on Sunday held bilateral meetings with Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir and Russia’s Special Presidential envoy for the middleeast and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov.


This is on the sidelines of the African Union heads of state summit in Addis Ababa – Ethiopia.


ZNBC’s Arnold Tutu reports that President Lungu who first met with Mr. AL-BASHIR said he wanted to exchange notes on the situation in Sudan.


He told Mr. Al-Bashir that he has now settled down since winning the Presidential election in January last year.


The Sudanese leader congratulated President Lungu on his victory and wished him success.


The two leaders then went into a closed door meeting.


Meanwhile President Lungu has appreciated the warm relationship existing between Zambia and Russia.


The Head of State has however called for broadening of relations especially in energy, Agriculture and civil aviation.


And President Vladmir Putin’s envoy said Zambia is a very important country and on the right path to development.


Mr. Bogdanov who is also deputy foreign affairs minister said Russia is ready to help train Zambia’s military personnel.


Foreign Affairs minister Harry Kalaba, his permanent secretary Chalwe Lombe, President LUNGU’s press aide Amos Chanda and Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and African Union Susan Sikaneta were present during the talks.


Meanwhile, President Lungu says the decision by the African Union to accept Zambia’s offer to host the Economic and Social Council -ECOSOCC- secretariat in Lusaka, is an extremely positive turning point in the unfolding tapestry of Africa’s rich and positive history.


President Lungu said he acknowledges the commendable efforts of the AU Commission chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and her team for the pivotal role they played throughout the consultative stages leading to the decision.


The President was speaking in Addis Ababa during a closed door meeting on the sidelines of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU on Zambia’s bid to host the ECOSOCC secretariat of the AU in Lusaka, Zambia,


President Lungu said the positive response from the AU membership is a clear manifestation of the trust and confidence AU has in the people of Zambia saying the move simply confirms the Pan-African spirit that unites Africa into a One Africa.


He assured the AU chairperson that his Government will continue to work closely with the AU Commission to conclude the mandatory processes necessary to ensure an efficient and smooth transfer of the ECOSOCC Secretariat to Lusaka.


President Lungu further disclosed that a 10 Acre plot near the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport has been provided for the establishment of the secretariat.


He said that the Government projects that in the not-so-distant future, plans for the construction works for the secretariat’s permanent state-of -the art complex will have been concluded.


The President said he has the title deed for the secretariat of the ECOSOCC, which he said is a gift from the people of Zambia adding that the title deed will be presented accordingly, through the normal diplomatic channel.


The Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU this week granted Zambia a bid to host ECOSOCC in Lusaka, Zambia.


The hosting of the ECOSOCC will have greater benefits for the country especially in the areas of tourism.


The move will also create more jobs for Zambians as many Non-Governmental Organisations will begin to set up offices in Lusaka for easy communication and collaboration with ECOSOCC.

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