Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe says President Edgar Lungu will not meet Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal for any talks whilst in India.
In a statement, Tuesday morning, Agarwal welcomed President Lungu to India and stated that Vedanta was looking forward to engaging him to continue discussions held in Lusaka.
“Vedanta welcomes you to India, and thanks you for your leadership and direction as our teams work together to resolve the KCM matter. I want to express my deep and humble appreciation to you, Your Excellency, for the manner in which you were willing to engage with us in Lusaka last week. Your leadership and stature meant that we should be on track to resolve KCM’s future in a way that will benefit Zambia and the Zambian people,” Argawal said.
“Vedanta looks forward to engaging with President Lungu and his team in India this week, and to building on the discussions held last week in Lusaka.”
But in a separate statement, Tuesday evening, Chipampe said contrary to speculation, the Head of State wouldn’t meet Agarwal or his representatives.
“State House would like to clarify that His Excellency, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia will not be meeting the Vedanta Chairman, Mr Anil Agarwal or his representatives, as he embarks on his state visit here. There have been numerous queries and speculation that His Excellency the President will be meeting Mr Agarwal and that he is here at the invitation of the businessman. As informed last week by State House, the nation is hereby informed once again, that His Excellency the President is in India at the invitation of India’s President, His Excellency Ram Nath Kovind. President Kovind also undertook a visit to Zambia last year,” read the statement.
“The President is expected to meet representatives from 12 Zambian based Indian companies, and Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), whose majority shareholder is Vedanta, is not one of them. His Excellency the President has already stated that the Zambian government will follow the wish of the Zambian people over the KCM issue.”