Thursday, February 29, 2024

Zambia,DRC Joint Permanent Commission opens in Lubumbashi

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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Norman Chipakupaku, says though the relations between Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have remained cordial due to historical ties, there have been some challenges such as border violations by nationals of both countries.

Mr. Chipakupaku said this in Lubumbashi district of the Katanga Province during the official opening of the 12th  Session of the Zambia/Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) meeting on Defence and Security being held at Pullman Grand Karavia hotel in the DRC.

The meeting is also being attended by Zambia’s ambassador to the DRC, Paulo Kosita, alongside Defence and Security Chiefs from both Zambia and the DRC.

Mr. Chipakupaku who is the Co-chair of the 12th JPC meeting  said some challenges such as border violations by nationals of both countries, have been compounded by the vastness and porous nature of the border which he said is making it difficult to urgently address matters of security concern.

Mr. Chipakupaku charged that in order for the two countries to benefit from the strategic economic position in the region, it is imperative that the defence and security institutions enhance collaboration in order to address all the threats to peace and stability.

He said that the threats to peace and stability that the two sister countries should deal with include smuggling, illegal migration, as well as drug and human trafficking.

“This is fundamental in the attainment of economic transformation for the two countries,” said Mr. Chipakupaku.

Mr. Chipakupaku added that following the assumption of the Chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation by President Hakainde Hichilema, Zambia is desirous to ensure that peace and stability in the region are enhanced.

The Defence Permanent Secretary said in this regard, Zambia remains committed to supporting efforts by SADC to end conflicts affecting some countries in the region, including the DRC.

Mr. Chipakupaku said Zambia also remains committed to supporting the holding of free and fair elections in a bid to promote democracy in the region.

He challenged delegates from both Zambia and DRC to strive to come up with sustainable solutions to the security threats of the two countries.

“I want to state that the Zambian government remains aligned with the work of this commission and will fully support the interventions being implemented by the two countries.

He further appealed to the delegates to engage in frank and fruitful deliberations as has always been the case whenever officials from the two countries meet.

Mr. Chipakupaku also appreciated the government of the DRC for inviting Zambia to attend this session of the commission, despite the many commitments, such as preparations for the general elections later this year.

General elections in DRC are expected to be held on December, 20 2023 according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).

Simultaneous elections will be held for the President, the 500 members of the National Assembly, the elected members of the 26 provincial assemblies, and, for the first time under the new constitution, members of around 300 commune (municipal) councils.

Speaking earlier, DRC Advisor to the Interior Minister, Stanyslas Bakatumwina, said his country cherishes the existing good relations between Zambia and his country.

Mr. Bakatumwina said the successful Joint Permanent Commission meeting being held in Lubumbashi between Zambia and DRC confirms the good relations that exist between Zambia and the DRC.

He said that the two Heads of State, President Hichilema of Zambia and President Tsisekedi of the DRC want to see the two countries extend their relations further through mutual meetings and dialogue.

“Zambia and the DRC have enjoyed good relations for a long time and the two Presidents of the two countries are committed to further strengthen the existing relations through mutual meetings and dialogue on various issues affecting the two sister countries,” said Mr Bakatumwina .

The 4  day Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security meeting has been called to review progress made in attaining the objectives formulated during previous engagements, as well as facilitating increased interaction between officials of the two countries so as to enhance bilateral relations.

The official opening of the Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security was followed by a meeting of experts.

Both Zambia and DRC Defence and Security Chiefs at both national and regional levels, are attending the meeting.

4 COMMENTS

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