President Edgar Lungu on Thursday night left the country to attend the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) which kicked off on Tuesday in New York City, USA.
President Lungu who left aboard a chartered plane is leading the Zambian delegation to the annual gathering which is this year focusing on migrants and refugees.
He said Zambia has a lot to teach the rest of the world about the importance of peace and handling the refugee crisis.
President Lungu told Journalists that if he gets a chance to address the gathering, he will use the opportunity to showcase Zambia’s impressive record of peace and hosting of refugees.
“It’s no longer about political diplomacy, we are now talking about economic diplomacy by mixing politics and the economy, obviously if you have peace then your economy is likely to grow. Stability is a product of peace and everything will follow through,” President Lungu said shortly before take-off around 21:00 Hours.
“Most of the things we will be discussing which is key to most countries is the refugee problem in Europe.
Zambia has been having this problem for years now and we know what it means to have peace and we know what it means to be a refugee. So I think for us we will be teaching them what it means to be at peace and the consequences which flow as a result of chaos,” he said.
“Most countries in Europe are trying to say, what do we do with the refugee problems in Europe but we have had this problem, all of us have grown with it. So that is where we are headed to.”
President Lungu said peace is paramount for any nation as it seeks economic development.
“When you talk of peace, it is paramount because without peace you cannot talk of economic stability, you cannot talk of any of these positives. So for us we are going to teach them now and I hope I will have the chance to speak to the refuge problems in Europe,” he said.
Asked on the overall be benefits of Zambia’s participation at the UN General Assembly, President Lungu said Zambia will show the world that it is possible to achieve democracy growth and peace.
“The overall benefits are that cleanliness is goodliness and it is contagious, so if Zambia shows that it can be at peace, we can have democratic elections and it will spread through to neighbouring countries and they will emulate us and the region will be safe and then we will have no refugees,” he stated.
“Refugees have an impact on the economy, that you know and as humanity we cannot ignore our friends who are suffering next door, so we would like to have democratic countries, vibrant, Zambia and the whole region and at the end of the day there is peace, there is stability and there is economic development for all, I think that is the essence of what we are going for,” President Lungu said.
The tentative agenda for the new session consists of 170 items focused on international peace and security, economic growth and sustainable development, disarmament, drug control, coordination of humanitarian assistance and other topics.
The UNGA will also host a high-level summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants, with the aim of bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach.
In a statement issued on its website, the U.N. said: “This is the first time the General Assembly has called for a summit at the Heads of State and Government level on large movements of refugees and migrants and it is a historic opportunity to come up with a blueprint for a better international response.”
“It is a watershed moment to strengthen governance of international migration and a unique opportunity for creating a more responsible, predictable system for responding to large movements of refugees and migrants,” the statement added.