President José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola has invited President Edgar Lungu to address a special session of Parliament in addition to official invitation to witness the launch of the reconstructed Benguela railways on February 14, 2015.
President Lungu has accepted the invitation and thanked his Angolan counterpart for the extraordinary honour, which he says will greatly cement Zambia’s renewed relations with its strategic neighbour on the northwestern border.
President Lungu says he has humbly accepted the honour, which he says is in line with deliberate steps undertaken by the late President Michael Sata, who upon assumption of power in 2011 assigned former president Kenneth Kaunda as special envoy to fully normalise Zambia’s relations with Angola.
The Head of State is pleased that his Angolan counterpart has decided to upgrade the status of the visit to include the honour of addressing a special session of Parliament, the first ever such act by a Zambian President. The President will visit the memorial of founding President Antonio Agostinho Neto, attend full military honours and State Lunch at the Presidential Palace.
After addressing Parliament in the capital Luanda, Presidents Lungu and dos Santos will fly to Luau, Moxico Province to join the DRC President Joseph Kabila for the official launch of the rehabilitated Benguela Railways. President Lungu will unveil a plaque, get a special briefing on the Lobito Transport Corridor and later hold a joint Press Conference with Presidents dos Santos and Kabila.
“We are greatly humbled by this honour. This is in line with the steps undertaken by our late President Mr Sata who recognised that Zambia’s position in regional affairs had been affected by some mistakes in the past. He took bold step to publicly assure our Angolan friends of the PF’s government desire to improve our relations. I must emphasise that we on this path to reposition Zambia’s place in international affairs,” President Lungu said.
In line with the re-launched Zambia Foreign Policy, the President has instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs to actively pursue “constructive engagements at both bilateral and multilateral levels” so that Zambia maximises economic gains and builds strategic political ties with international partners.
The President departs Lusaka for Luanda on February 13, 2015. The railway link is expected to boost trade between Zambia and Angola that share a huge border in the northwestern part of Zambia.