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By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
The Republic of Lithuania has proposed signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Zambia which will act as a framework for enhancement of economic and political cooperation between the two countries.
The MoU is a culmination of discussions between Zambia’s Ambassador accredited to the Nordic and Baltic States, Her Excellency Rose Salukatula and director of the Latin America, Africa, Asia and Pacific Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Lithuania, Mr Audrius Bruzga in January this year.
The proposal was made in Stockholm on Tuesday when Lithuanian Ambassador to Sweden, His Excellency Giedrius Cekuolis presented a draft copy of the MoU to Ambassador Salukatula.
Ambassador Cekuolis was accompanied by the Counsellor, Mr Donatas Butkus and the Commerce Attaché Mr Aleksandras Laurinavicius.
“You come here demonstrate that Lithuania is committed to strengthening relations with Zambia. Such meetings are important as they will eventually help establish strong relations at top government level and even generally between the peoples of the two countries. This is a very important document that will help us further develop our relations,” she said.
The proposed MoU seeks to strengthen friendly relations, establish an efficient and practical procedure for inter-ministerial political consultations, and further encourage cooperation in various economic fields.
It has also been proposed that Zambia and Lithuania shall hold regular bilateral consultations to review all aspects of their relations, and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Ambassador Salukatula has since described the proposed MoU as a “big step” towards strengthening relations between the two countries since establishing diplomatic relations almost 20 years ago.
“It was observed that during my earlier meeting with Mr Bruzga that not much had taken place in terms of cooperation between Zambia and Lithuania because of the absence of a framework within which engagement and interaction could take place,” she said.
Lithuania has also made a separate submission of proposed areas of economic cooperation in agriculture and food industry, information and communication technology (ICT), financial technology (Fintech) sector, life sciences, and talent-based entrepreneurial schemes for non-European Union businesses.
In the proposal, Lithuania seeks possibilities for cooperation in areas that create added value such as ICT, fintech and life sciences.
Ambassador Salukatula and Ambassador Cekuolis agreed to arrange a digital event through which Zambian and Lithuanian experts in the sectors mentioned in the proposal could meet and agree on furthering collaboration.
The Zambian envoy assured her Lithuanian counterpart that Zambia had enjoyed peace for a long time and had laws in place which ensured investments were protected.
This is according to a statement issued to the independent observer by Counsellor Nicky Shabolyo at the Swedish Embassy and approved by the ministry of foreign affairs.