Saturday, January 26, 2008

Differences between govt, NGOs will not uplift Zambians' living standa

Differences between govt, NGOs will not uplift Zambians' living standa
By Brighton Phiri
Saturday January 26, 2008 [03:00]

PRESIDENT Mwanawasa yesterday said differences between government and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) would not uplift the living standards of Zambians. And President Mwanawasa has asked Israel and Palestine to find a lasting solution to their conflict. Meanwhile, new Norwegian Ambassador to Zambia Tore Gjos commended President Mwanawasa and the government for introducing a new tax regime for the mining sector.

Speaking during presentation of credentials by new ambassadors from Israeli and Norway, and High Commissioners of Cyprus and South Africa at State House, President Mwanawasa expressed determination to ensure that NGOs and the government worked together to improve the living standards of people instead of opposing and criticising each other.

"I know that Norway has a vibrant and active civil society participation in national matters. I believe that our two countries could work together in this area to encourage NGOs to contribute to the well-being and freedom of our citizens," President Mwanawasa told Ambassador Gjos.

Ambassador Gjos said Norway was encouraged with the government's intention to introduce a new fiscal and regulatory regime in order to bring about an equitable distribution of the mineral wealth.

He said his country was willing to assist Zambia in setting up a regulatory framework for the possible exploration of oil and gas.

Ambassador Gjos assured President Mwanawasa that his government was committed to scaling up its support on climate issues in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.

On Israeli-Palestinian conflict, President Mwanawasa who is SADC chairperson said Zambia remained concerned about the apparent lack of a lasting solution to the unending Israeli and Palestinian conflict.

"Zambia maintains cordial relations with both Israel and Palestine and has continuously called on both sides to sit down and agree on a lasting solution so that Israel will, once again, be associated with the biblical prophecy, as the land of milk and honey and not the conflict and violence suffered by both the Jewish and Palestinian people and that the Palestinians may also realise their statehood," President Mwanawasa said.

President Mwanawasa expressed hope that the recently convened Middle East peace conference would give impact and reason for all the concerned parties to re-start negotiations with the sole purpose of securing a final peaceful solution to the conflict.

He asked Israeli to assist Zambia with the technologies of conserving its water, which was in abundance in form of floods during the rain season.

New Israeli ambassador to Zambia Jacob Keidar assured President Mwanawasa that he would focus on enhancing the existing bilateral co-operation between the two countries.

New Cyprus High Commissioner to Zambia Vassos Chamberlen commended Zambia for its support to his government's effort to reunite the island.

"Despite the genuine efforts of the government of Cyprus to reach a viable and acceptable solution of the Cyprus issue by both sides, in the frame work of bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, Turkey continues to remain intransigent and reluctant to resume negotiations for a comprehensive settlement," High Commissioner Chamberlen said.

"It is obvious that Turkey's objective in Cyprus has never been the reunification, but the partition of the island. The illegal presence of 40,000 Turkish troops in Cyprus and the calls by Turkey to revise the Security Council Resolutions on Cyprus and to upgrade the illegal regime of the occupied part of the island, provide a clear evidence that this objective continues to be in the focus of Ankara's militaristic policy. A policy, which is responsible for the non-solution of the issue."

President Mwanawasa said Zambia would like to see the island of Cyprus reunited on the basis of the relevant resolutions of the UN guided by accepted norms of international law.

"As a peace loving nation, Zambia will stand by you in your peaceful engagement with Turkey until an amicable resolution to this long time conflict is found. I am confident that the differences between Turkey and Cyprus could be resolved through dialogue," President Mwanawasa said.

President Mwanawasa commended South Africa for agreeing to support Zambia's candidature through Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika for the position of chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, during the election scheduled for next week at the AU headquarters.

New South Africa High Commissioner Moses Mabokela Chikane reaffirmed his country's support for Zambia's candidature.
He said South Africans owe it to Zambians for supporting their liberation struggle.

"You clothed, kept and fed us. We cherish your support," said Chikane.

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