Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba says Zambia is not an island and must co-exist with other countries.
Mr. Kalaba said President Edgar Lungu is a new person on the block and it was therefore important for him to travel in the SADC region and beyond to get acquainted with what was happening.
He said the President does not just take trips because he has to take trips but that the President and his ministry scrutinize the trips before they are undertaken.
ZANIS reports that Mr. Kalaba was answering questions from journalists concerning President Lungu’s foreign trips shortly after arriving at Harry Mwaanga International airport in Livingstone.
He said the President has so had four invitations to go outside the country but that the Head of State has not travelled to all of them.
Mr. Kalaba said that the President has only travelled to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to attend the African Union (AU) Ordinary Summit last month and to Zimbabwe to hold official talks with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairperson Robert Mugabe adding that he will soon be travelling to Angola on the invitation of the country’s President Eduardo dos Santos.
He explained that President Lungu will only go on trips that would bring benefits to Zambia.
Mr. Kalaba charged that it was important for the President to travel to Angola because that country had finished constructing the Benguela railway line on its side and that Zambia also needed to finish the works on this side as well.
He mentioned that once complete the rail line will provide an opportunity for Zambia to transport copper and other commodities to that country easily and at cheaper costs.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said Zambia was a landlocked country and that by undertaking such beneficial trips President Lungu wants to ensure that the country was land-linked.
Mr. Kalaba said President Lungu has given instructions to his ministry to intensify talks with multi-lateral institutions adding that the country needs to have a lot of Zambian representatives at the international level like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations.