Lusaka — Botswana/Zambia Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC) will graduate to a bi-national commission to allow the two countries to grow their 55-year-old relations.
This was revealed by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi during a recent meeting with his counterpart Mr Edgar Lungu.
Dr Masisi, who was on a one-day working visit to Zambia, said the new structure would enable the two leaders to meet regularly to discuss issues of mutual interest.
As a pre-requisite, the President said their respective foreign ministers would speedily arrange for a JPCC meeting which had been pending since 2017.
He said he looked forward to the conclusion of the KAZA UniVisa issue at the meeting, which would be hosted by Botswana.
The meeting would also serve as a reminder of the two countries' journey since the establishment of their diplomatic relations, he said.
President Masisi noted that Zambia was the first African country to visit Botswana after independence and to open an embassy in Gaborone.
He expressed appreciation for the mutual relations that Botswana and Zambia continued to enjoy since the early days of Botswana's first President Sir Seretse Khama and Zambia's Dr Kenneth Kaunda.
The historical ties, he said, showed that the two nations valued each other.
Zambia was not just a friend to Botswana, but an example to it, he said.
Dr Masisi said it was imperative that the two nations integrated or collaborated in budgeting and planning so that their bilateral ties could be more focused and aligned.
For his part, President Lungu expressed gratitude for the support Zambia continued to receive from Botswana at continental level and promised to reciprocate.
President Lungu said the two countries should collaborate more on issues affecting the region such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Lungu further said his government was keenly watching the international landscape in relation to COVID-19 vaccines.
In addition, he said a Zambian team was working hand in hand with Botswana to share notes and experiences so as to have a common approach towards the pandemic.
Source : BOPA