29 June 2005

Namibia: Gurirab Hails US, Namibian Ties

Windhoek — STRENGTHENING cultural and economic ties, voluntarism and the fight against HIV/AIDS are some of the common goals and objectives in the relationship that exists between the peoples of the United States and Namibia.

This is how the Speaker of the National Assembly, Theo-Ben Gurirab, yesterday described the mutual cooperation that exists between the two countries.

He was welcoming the American Ambassador to Namibia, Joyce Barr, and an embassy delegation on a courtesy visit to his chambers.

"People to people meetings like this are important for both nations to understand the hopes, dreams and aspirations of both nations. This happy traditional relationship between our countries needs to continue to the benefit of us all," Gurirab said.

He specifically identified education and the fight against HIV/AIDS as important issues of concern to both countries.

"The Namibian government continuously invests in education for Namibians to gain knowledge in order for them to transform the country's natural resources for the economic developmental prosperity of all Namibians. Unfortunately many lives are wasted through the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The disease, a common enemy for both nations, has been and remains a constant threat to the Namibian people," the Speaker, who thanked the ambassador for her government's consistent financial contributions in the fight against AIDS, said.

According to the Speaker, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is a great vehicle to enhance and advance trade and economic prosperity, to which ambassador Barr responded: "The American government is committed to working hard together with its Namibian counterpart to help ensure this country's future. We work together for a better tomorrow for both countries."

Gurirab further praised the American Peace Corps for the wonderful work its members do in education in Namibia.

"These young people that leave their homes to come to a far-off and barren land, are respected and their work done in education in our country is highly appreciated.

At the same time, these volunteer exchanges afford Americans a golden opportunity to get to know more about Namibians. We should continue to use young people as living bridges for stronger cooperation between our two peoples," he said.

In her response, Barr said Namibia has done remarkably well with regard to democracy and economic prosperity over the past 15 years.

"We want to further increase the existing cooperation that exists at various levels. Next month, a big international meeting is planned to look at ways and means on how to lock in at best into the Southern African Customs Union to help and assist Namibia in particular," she told the Speaker, who alluded to employment creation in Namibia as one of the government's greatest challenges.

"We are constantly looking for a durable solution because nothing can be as dignified as every Namibian having a job and earning a salary at the end of each month," the Speaker said emotionally.

Later yesterday morning, the chief executive officer of the Social Security Commission, Tuli Hiveluah, also paid a courtesy visit on the Speaker's office to report on the entity's programmes and plans.

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