10 May 2018

Botswana: Masisi Continues Expanding Ties With Neighbours

Gaborone — President Mokgweetsi Masisi has reiterated Botswana's commitment and resolve to further enhance and expand the scope of bilateral cooperation with other countries for prosperity, peace and security.

Speaking in an interview at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SSKIA) after his working visits to Malawi, Seychelles and Comoros that started on May 7, Mr Masisi said the purpose of his trips was to reaffirm the diplomatic relations between Botswana and her counterparts.

Touching on Malawi, Mr Masisi said that bilateral relations between the two SADC nations stood firm and ready to be re-jolted and rejuvenated through the means of Joint Permanent Commission Cooperation (JPCC) which dates back to 1964.

To this end, President Masisi, together with his Malawian counterpart, Professor Arthur Mutharika, instructed some ministers to expedite the holding of the JPCC meeting at the earliest time possible in Malawi.

"We have as such provided indications to the two ministers of the areas where such cooperation is needed," he said, adding that one such area was mining governance, where Botswana stood ready to share with her SADC member state her wealth of experience spanning over 40 years.

President Masisi also stated that Botswana had offered her assistance and support in terms of tertiary education space within the spirit and framework of the enhancement of the SADC industrialization strategy.

He said Botswana would continue to offer Malawi space in terms of livestock disease and management and remained hopeful that Malawi would jump at the opportunity for the benefit of her populace.

On his visit to Seychelles, President Masisi said he met with President Danny Faure and they also agreed to broaden, deepen and accelerate the bilateral cooperation by convening the Ministers of International Relations to start the process of formulation of the Joint Permanent Commission on Corporation (JPCC) in the earliest of time between the two countries.

He indicated that other issues discussed were centered on education, international relations, and natural resources as both countries share a lot in common and some skills exchange at institutions such as Botswana Police College at Otse, Botswana University of Agriculture and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) could be on the cards.

"We are members of SADC, AU, Commonwealth and UN hence we should be working together for the common good of our people," he said.

President Masisi said part of the existing bilateral relations was in the education sector and that Botswana intended to broaden the scope of relations.

"When we were in Seychelles we were fortunate to visit one of our teachers, whom unfortunately had been involved in a car accident.

Mr Bagalatia Arone was dispatched to visit and engage with her," he said.

He noted that Seychelles was sea opportune and that it could be tapped into. Mr Masisi further noted that Botswana has beef that could be exported overseas, including Seychelles, adding that President Faure had asked for an increase in beef exports.

He said trade relations between the two countries would also be broadened in the areas of agriculture and engineering, and that students from Seychelles could enroll at Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST).

President Masisi also said foreign policy relations and air service agreements could be reached to enhance trade relationships between the two countries.

He said the culmination of the broadening and deepening of bilateral relations could result in him visiting Seychelles or vice versa.

Speaking on Comoros, President Masisi said people should note that the island country came back into SADC last year hence they need all the help they can get to make strides moving forward.

He indicated that he was also briefed by the Comorian President regarding the French-run Indian Ocean island of Mayotte, of which President Masisi said it was saddening that colonialisation of some African states was still happening.

President Masisi said this issue has deeply divided the people of Comoros and it is something that he strongly disagrees with.

President Masisi was accompanied by Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Mr Vincent Seretse, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Mr Tshekedi Khama, Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Mr Ngaka Ngaka, Basic Education Minister, Mr Bagalatia Arone and Secretary General of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Mr Mpho Balopi.

Source : BOPA

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