PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema says it is extremely difficult to drive the economic agenda which citizens expect, without peace, stability and security.

And Somalia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdisaid Muse Ali says he is glad to visit Zambia when President Hichilema is Head of State.

Speaking when he met Ali, Monday, President Hichilema said government had a desire to further deepen the relationship shared with the people of Somali.

“Just to underscore that Zambia values the warm relations that we have had with Somali and the people of Somali with the people of Zambia. As you have noted over many years, I remember as a young undergraduate student at university, we already felt the presence of Somali nationals in this country. Obviously much earlier than that, but when we were maturing getting to grow up, we felt the presence of the Somali community here in business. So, it is not just a country-to-country relationship that we have enjoyed but people to people and indeed business to business. So, we value and respect this mutual relationship and the Zambian government has a desire to further deepen this relationship shared with Somali people at both the bilateral and multilateral because it is important as we know that somewhat the world is changing, we want it to change for better,” President Hichilema said.

The Head of State said it was difficult to deliver opportunities to citizens without peace.

“But security issues within our own countries, within our regions, on this continent and in the global sphere indicating to us that we need to work together even more closely going forward. Issues of regional peace, security, stability as I said are taking centre stage and we as a country, a government would like to continue cooperating with your country, our sister country so that we can bring about in-country, regional, African global peace which is extremely important,” he said.

“Without peace, stability, and security, it is extremely difficult to drive the economic agenda which our citizens expect us as a government to drive. That is why they put us in office to make sure that we can assure them of their security, we can also deliver opportunities for them to better their lives. I think that second part is difficult if the first part is not available, that’s peace and stability. So we would like to enhance our cooperation in that area.”

President Hichilema said government was extremely watchful and attentive to the forthcoming elections in Somalia.

“I also wish to indicate to you on behalf of the people of Zambia, that we are extremely watchful and attentive to the elections that will be taking place in your country. Again to make sure that they are successful, I think by now, although we are new in the regional blocks and circles, our message remains consistent, instability anywhere, whatever the cause of that instability, is instability everywhere because we all get affected. And sometimes our people migrate not because they want to migrate but they are looking for peace, they are looking for stability, they are looking for security, they are looking for economic opportunities and sometimes this is occasioned by elections. And so, we really wish you well in the elections. And a successful outcome is not just for the people of Somalia, but for all of us,” said President Hichilema.

Meanwhile, Ali said Somalia’s President extended an invitation to President Hichilema to visit that country.

“My President, President Farmaajo has also expressed his interest to visit Lusaka after the completion of the elections and also to use Zambia your Excellency [as], and tap partnership with opportunities that can unlock the two countries, mutual benefit. Your Excellency, also may I pass the invitation to you from the President to visit Somalia and the history is there in the past, President of Zambia sometime back visited Somalia. Excellency also, we have large business communities which are thriving here and on a personal note, the last time I was here in Zambia, the late KK was the president and I am glad today I am visiting HH is the President,” said Ali.