By CATHERINE NYIRENDA and CHARITY MOONGA-
VISITING Angolan External Relations Minister Georges Chikoti has called for the abolition of the visa requirement between Zambia and his country to further cement the mutual relations between the two countries.
Dr Chikoti made the appeal when he paid a courtesy call on Foreign affairs Minister Harry Kalaba at his office yesterday.
Dr Chikoti, who arrived in Zambia on Sunday for a two-day working visit, said there was need to suppress the issue of visa requirement to ease operations for the business communities in the two countries.
“To further improve the mutual relationship that Zambia and Angola have been enjoying, there is need to suppress the requirement of obtaining a visa as this process is making it difficult for business entities from both countries to efficiently conduct their businesses,” Dr Chikoti said.
His country is also considering opening an airline route from Angola to Lusaka and Luena following the increased traffic in the two areas in a bid to improve transportation of goods and passengers.
Dr Chikoti also appealed for Zambia’s support for Angola’s candidature for a Security Council seat at the United Nations General Assembly.
Mr Kalaba appealed to Angola to support Zambia’s candidacy for the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) position during elections scheduled for Korea on October 20, 2014.
Mr Kalaba was happy that the cordial relationship between the two countries was growing and that Dr Chikoti’s visit was cementing the friendship further.
“As the country is celebrating its Golden Jubilee a few days from now, our desire is that we strengthen cooperation on issues of mutual understanding,” Mr Kalaba said.
The mutual relations should not only be on bilateral terms but also on multilateral level in the African Union and other regional bodies for the two countries to speak with one voice.
Earlier, Dr Chikoti called for intensified efforts by the Great Lakes and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regions to end the continued war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He was speaking when he met ambassadors from the Great Lakes and SADC regions at Pamodzi Hotel n Lusaka yesterday.
A meeting for the Great Lakes Region and SADC Defence and Foreign Affairs ministers would be held in Luanda, Angola on October 20, 2014 to discuss issues of peace and security with special focus on the DRC and as a prelude to a Heads of State and Government summit.
“Angola is chair of the SADC now and at the ministers’ meeting our focus will be to consolidate peace in the SADC with special focus on DRC,” he said.
SADC is working with the DRC government to assist enhance peace in Congo and promote development in the SADC and the Great Lakes regions.
Speaking later in an interview with journalists, Dr Chikoti said studies and consultations were underway to set up a rail link between Zambia and Angola to assist Zambia transport special discoveries and assets and products in North-Western Province.
The ministers of Transport for the two countries would soon meet to study the rail line issue which would cover 250 kilometres of the Angolan side.
“We can do more; there is political will from the two governments to do so. We need to encourage more flights, especially covering Zambiaand eastern Angola so that people in between the two countries can travel well,” Dr Chikoti said.