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Zambia to Host SADC Meeting

The Times of Zambia, Ndola

Zambia to Host SADC Meeting

1 June 2007

The Government has announced that Zambia will this year host the 27th Southern African Development Community (SADC) ordinary summit of Heads of State at which President Mwanawasa will assume the chair of the grouping.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Mundia Sikatana, announced at a Press briefing in Lusaka yesterday saying Zambia would for the first time host the SADC summit since its inception in 1980.

Mr Sikatana said the summit would be held at Mulungushi International Conference Centre under the theme "Infrastructure Development In Support Of Regional Integration" which would run from August 10 -18, 2007.

"The hosting of the summit will once again put Zambia in the spotlight in that the world will focus on Zambia not only during the summit itself but throughout her tenure of office as SADC chair for the year 2007-08," Ms Sikatana said.

The pre-summit meetings would be held from August 10 -16, beginning with the meeting of SADC officials who would lay the ground work for the council of ministers.

As part of preparations for the summit, the Government has put in place a national organising committee that has been preparing all the logistics for the hosting of the summit.

The Government challenged the hospitality industry and other players to join in the preparations for the successful hosting of the summit.

Mr Sikatana said Zambia expects to host over 300 delegates to the summit and the business potential from this magnitude of visitors cannot be over-emphasised.

President Mwanawasa who was elected to the position of deputy chairperson of SADC during the 2006 Heads of State summit and Government summit in Maseru Lesotho will take over from Prime Minister of Lesotho Pakalitha Mosisili, who has been at the helm of the grouping since August 2006.

From inception the chair of SADC was held by then Botswana’s President Sir Ketumile Masire, until 1996 when leaders in the grouping agreed to give it to Nelson Mandela then South African president to honour him for liberating that country.

Meanwhile, the Great Lakes Region has commended the Government for the role played in restoring peace in trouble torn African countries.

International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Permanent Secretariat executive secretary, Liberata Mulamula, said on arrival at Lusaka International airport yesterday.

The Government had been instrumental in initiating peace initiatives in neighbouring countries since the days of the frontline states.

Ms Mulamula said the previous governments played a pivotal role in restoring relative peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Zambia was instrumental in the signing of the Lusaka Peace Accord which saw warring parties in DRC agreeing to dialogue so as to end the devastating war in that country.

She was visiting Zambia for the first time since her appointment and would be in the countryuntil Sunday.

Ms Mulamula was in Zambia to introduce herself to Government officials and discuss the modalities of implementing the centre for human rights, good governance and security which would be hosted in Zambia.

"Zambia is key player in the search for peace in the region. Our role is to coordinate, monitor and evaluate the implementation and impact in the common objective to lasting peace in the region," Ms Mulamula said.

Earlier, Zambia’s special envoy to the Great Lakes region, Siteke Mwale, said the country was greatly honoured by Ms Mulamula’s visit.

Dr Mwale said Ms Mulamula would hold several meetings with Government officials.