By SAM PHIRI –
ACTING President Guy Scott has assured the diplomatic community that Zambia remains a peaceful country despite being in shock over the demise of President Michael Sata.
Dr Scott was speaking when he received credentials from three ambassadors, Timo Olkkonen of Finland, Emmanuel Cohet of France, Eric Shultz from the United States of America and United Nations resident coordinator Janet Rogan.
Dr Scott said the country remained peaceful and would soon get back on track.
He said the ambassadors would hear many statements from different quarters because many people were still in grief and shock due to the demise of President Sata.
Dr Scott, however, said Zambia was honoured to receive credentials from France and was happy to continue working with that country because of its material contributions in maintaining peace in Africa.
“We know you have many interests in the world but it is a special honour for your country to continue sending troops to most of our troubled African states,” he said.
Dr Scott also said that Finland had been a good partner for Zambia since independence and the two countries had enjoyed warm bilateral ties ever since.
Meanwhile, Dr Scott said the US government has equally enjoyed warm bilateral ties with Zambia through programmes such as the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other health-related programmes for female reproductive health.
Dr Scott also expressed optimism of the United Nations continuing with its support to Zambia through partnership with other donor agencies.
French Ambassador to Zambia Cohet thanked the Zambian Government and said his focus would be to deepen bilateral ties with Zambia in the area of politics and defence.
Finish Ambassador to Zambia Olkkonen commended Zambia for reducing its dependency on donor funds.
Mr Olkkonen said his focus in Zambia was on environmental matters, agriculture and private sector development.
He also said Finland’s annual bilateral aid volumes to Zambia were around 20 million euros, which excluded other funds channeled through funded agencies.
US Ambassador to Zambia Eric Shultz said Zambia had the potential to be a leader of Africa’s growth and that his country would play a key role in this growth through technological development.
Meanwhile, Ms Rogan commended Zambia for being an excellent example of democracy in Africa and promised UN support to the country during the power transition.