Zambia Wins Kudos From Vatican

THE Vatican has praised Zambia for its progressive resolve to uphold democracy and Christian values as key foundations of the nation.

Vatican Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone said the Holy See was impressed with Zambia's political leaders' commitment to upholding democratic values over the years.

He was speaking when Zambia's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK) Bizwayo Nkunika presented his credentials as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Holy See.

This is contained in a statement issued by Press Secretary at the Zambian High Commission in the UK, Amos Chanda yesterday.

Cardinal Bertone said the Vatican was aware of Zambia's unique position as a Christian Nation.

The cardinal encouraged the Patriotic Front (PF) Government and Zambians to continue advancing Christian values.

He said the Vatican would continue working with Zambia at the diplomatic level through its Apostolic Nuncio in Lusaka.

"As far as politics are concerned, we are happy with Zambia especially in respect of the peaceful elections that have taken place recently. Zambia has demonstrated exemplary character of peace and stability," he said.

Cardinal Bertone said the Vatican State's areas of focus in its cooperation with Zambia included health and education.

And Lieutenant-Colonel Nkunika said it was an honour and a unique opportunity to present credentials to the Pope and converse with him.

"I am happy to have met Pope Benedict and to be able to share with him and the Vatican what we stand for as a country.

"I am grateful to President Michael Sata for affording me this opportunity to serve the country as High Commissioner in London and also accredited to the Holy See," Lt Col Nkunika said.

The high commissioner, who arrived in Rome, Italy, on Monday, was accompanied by his wife Royce, defence adviser Martin Mumbi, Mr Chanda and Alick Banda, who is First Secretary-Protocol at the Zambian Mission in Rome.

The delegation later paid a courtesy call on Zambia's Ambassador to Italy Frank Mutubila who hosted dinner for them.

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