……we would like peace to prevail as Nigeria goes to the polls

Moscow, 19.02.2019

The Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Joseph Malanji has wished the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria well following the postponement by one week of the country’s presidential elections.

Mr. Malanji says it was his desire and hope that peace prevails despite the stiff competition that has characterized the election in Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation.

“Yes the competition is stiff but it’s politics so we just have to forge ahead”, said the Minister in remarks made to ambassadors representing member States of the Southern Africa Development Community, SADC, who welcomed him at Domodev International Airport in Moscow.

Mr. Malanji, who is also Member of Parliament for Kwacha constituency on the Copperbelt province, arrived in the Russian capital Tuesday, for a three-day official visit following an invitation by his counterpart His Excellency Sergev Lavrov.

Before he embarked on his official visit, the Zambian Foreign Minister conferred with SADC Ambassadors and briefed them on developments in the region. Mr. Malanji said, as Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security, Zambia was actively involved in electoral processes underway in the region and other political developments.

He briefed the SADC envoys on developments in the recent elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the upcoming elections in Malawi and Botswana as well as the political processes in Lesotho.

The SADC Ambassadors were led by Zambia’s Ambassador to Russia, His Excellency Mr. Shadreck Luwita. The Minister is accompanied by Permanent Secretary for International Relations and Cooperation, IR&C, Ambassador Chalwe Lombe.

During his official visit, the Minister will confer with his Russian counterpart on a wide range of issues that are of interest to both Zambia and the Federal Republic of Russia.

Mr. Malanji will also visit the Dubna Nuclear Scientific Research Center as part of Zambia’s continued efforts to diversify sources of energy and other uses for nuclear technology.

Russia has maintained diplomatic relations with Zambia dating back to 1964 when Zambia got her independence and played a significant role in the liberation of southern African countries and beyond. Russia supported Zambia in the development of a human resource base that was required to administer a newly independent nation. Hundreds of Zambians have over the years been trained in various Russian Universities, covering fields such as politics, governance, agriculture, economics, media, military and medicine. A number of these graduates went on to become Ministers and senior civil servants in the Zambian government.

Russia has continued to provide scholarships to Zambian students as demand for education increases outstripping current government efforts to cope.