Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Joseph Malanji, M.P. held a virtual meeting with the new Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, His Excellency Mr. Huang Xia.
During the meeting, Hon. Malanji reaffirmed Zambia’s commitment to the implementation of the Peace and Security Cooperation (PSC) Framework Agreement for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the region.
Hon. Malanji said Zambia is host to over 20,000 refugees from the DRC in furtherance of the country’s aspiration to promote lasting peace, security and political stability in the region.
The Minister noted that the persisting political, security and humanitarian challenges in the Great Lakes Region had affected the implementation of the Peace and Security Cooperation Framework Agreement.
Hon. Malanji urged Mr. Xia, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Secretariat and the African Union Special Representative for the region to continue strengthening their collaboration on the implementation of the PSC Framework Agreement for the DRC and the region.
He informed the Special Envoy that the Covid-19 pandemic would affect the implementation of the PSC framework because it had led governments in the Great Lakes Region to shift their priorities.
“There is need for coordinated regional initiatives to strengthen preventive measures to curb the further spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Proposals for an across-the-board debt standstill for countries that cannot service their debt and have no access to the financial markets are welcome,” said Hon Malanji. “Zambia stands ready to exchange relevant information with all signatories of the Peace and Security Cooperation Framework Agreement on the status of the pandemic and to identify common areas for intervention.”
And Mr. Xia lauded the Government of the Republic of Zambia for the considerable measures instituted to curb the spread of Covid-19 and eliminate its impact on the lives of people.
Mr. Xia acknowledged the sustained efforts against the pandemic by countries in the Great Lakes Region but noted the need for additional resources to help countries engage swiftly in the recovery phase.
Mr. Xia said his office remained committed to mobilizing greater international support and resources to help the region during this difficult period.
The envoy informed Hon. Malanji that the United Nations Peace Building Commission was expected to convene a meeting on 11th June, 2020 where he would seize the opportunity to mobilize international support adding that he expected a strong participation of countries from the region.
“On 18th June I will be convening a meeting with International Financial Institutions, which will pursue the same objective of mobilizing resources for the Great Lakes Region for combating the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Mr. Xia assured Hon. Malanji of his continued availability to work closely with Zambia and the countries of the Great Lakes Region on the peace and security agenda and on key issues linked to regional integration, sustainable and economic development.
The Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework Agreement for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the region was signed on 24th February, 2013 by 11 Heads of State and it seeks to address the underlying causes of humanitarian crises, political instability and underdevelopment in the Great Lakes Region. The Framework comprises commitments of the DRC Government, Governments of the region and the international community, which call for the establishment of benchmarks and indicators to monitor progress.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Public Relations Unit