UGANDAN President Yoweri Museveni has extolled Zambia’s contribution to the liberation of his country and other countries in East, Central and Southern Africa.
And President Edgar Lungu has said Zambia cherishes the warm and brotherly relations that exist between Zambia and Uganda which are premised on mutual understanding and respect.
Mr Museveni said Zambia helped Uganda to attain its independence through hosting Ugandans in Zambia and also helped them through studying and working freely.
He said this at a State Banquet he hosted in honourd President Lungu at State House in Entebbe on Thursday evening.
“We had our own problems with Idi Amin and very few countries cared for us apart from Zambia, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau.
“Zambia did not only help to liberate Uganda but also liberated the Portuguese-speaking countries including Mozambique,” he said.
Mr Museveni said Zambia played a major role in Mozambique’s independence by opening up Tete Province that connected to Zambia and welcomed freedom fighters from that country.
And President Lungu said Zambia cherishes the warm and brotherly relations that exist between Zambia and Uganda.
He said the two countries have not only enjoyed bilateral cooperation for more than five decades but have also endeavoured to maintain national unity.
“It is therefore imperative to take advantage of the continued peace and tranquillity within our respective territories to take this relationship to a higher level through increased interaction on various levels,” he said.
President Lungu said he was confident that his visit would further strengthen bilateral relations between Zambia and Uganda which will in turn bring closer the two peoples.
President Lungu reaffirmed his commitment to the enhancement of relationship between the two countries.
He said Zambia had noted with admiration the positive strides Uganda had made towards improved living standards of the Ugandan people in health, education and good policies.
The President said Zambia looked forward to emulating the initiatives that Uganda had achieved in order to address the core issues such as empowerment youth and employment and HIV/AIDs which required consented efforts in the quest to sustain development.
President Lungu said cooperation between Zambia and Uganda was enshrined in the framework of the two countries’ Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) and that the two countries needed to foster and explore new areas of cooperation under the JPC.
“This is in order to bring direct benefit to our people by reviving this JCP which has remained inactive for some time now,” he said.
And President Lungu said there was need for the two countries to increase the levels of trade to maximize the potential between the two countries.
He encouraged the Chambers of Commerce in Zambia and Uganda to take advantage of annual trade fairs and other platforms to exploit business opportunities to the benefit of both countries.
President Lungu also said there could never be meaningful development anywhere in the absence of peace and stability. He commended the role Uganda continued to play in the Great Lakes region.
“Your personal tireless efforts and those of your government in the processes of maintaining peace and unity in Southern Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Somalia must be commended,” Mr Lungu said.
He said Zambia as a member of the Great Lakes region would continue to build and restore peace in any affected member states of the great region.
He encouraged President Museveni to remain steadfast until peace was realized in the region.
President Lungu reaffirmed Zambia’s commitment to working with Uganda in the common pursuit of peace and unity.