PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema says he is concerned about the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and wishes to see an end to the conflict.

Speaking when he received credentials from Diplomats, among them new Russian Ambassador to Zambia Azim Yarakhmedov, Thursday, President Hichilema said there was need to work together to bring the war to an end.

“Your Excellency, Ambassador Russian Federation to Zambia, as you have alluded yourself, Zambia and Russia have had a long relationship spanning many sectors in science, education, technology for years and years and Zambia is committed to consolidating this relationship with Russia in key sectors obviously economic, science and health education. Your Excellency, it is my noble duty on behalf of the people of Zambia and on behalf of I believe the global community, that the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia is of great concern to us. I think if I didn’t say that, I will be deceiving the reality of ourselves and the reality on the ground. I believe it is not just Zambia, the regional community and international countries. As a proponent of peace ourselves, Zambia I am sure the history is clear of who we are, we wish to see an end to that war,” President Hichilema said.

“And we encourage your country, Ukraine and other countries in that part of the world and all of us to work together to bring that war to an end. We have to do what it takes but you are the first call, and we would like to support that call that would lead us to achieving peace, to restore order in those countries. I am saying those countries because it is not just Russia which is affected, it is not just Ukraine which is affected, it is the Polish. It is anyone else. As you know, we had to evacuate our own students from Ukraine, we would have loved them to stay. So please, let us work together. That is our plea as the global community because when we have peace and stability we can focus on development, focus on social issues, cultural issues. So, we want to wish you the best and whatever we can do as a small decent country, we would like to do.”

President Hichilema said government placed importance in the area of economic development.

“Your Excellencies, our government has set out ambitious targets for socio-economic growth on the understanding that unless we grow our economy, we are most unlikely ever going to attend to the social needs of our populace. So, it is important to serve that as you come in to serve your countries, your people, serving this country, serving our people. You are cognizant of the importance this government places in the area of economic development. So, economic diplomacy is something that we would like to see given sufficient energy, sufficient space. We can improve trade and investment between our countries and obviously that will assist us to support the social side of our people. And there are always people in need in many societies, we do recognize that. So, we are looking at you to place particular emphasis in looking back into your countries, your businesses, investors in different sectors who are welcome in this country,” he said.

President Hichilema emphasised that his government wanted to realise the potential the country had.

“The country offers a lot of potential, we are sick and tired of talking about potential, we would like to realise that potential. Of course, the cultural aspects are important as well. So, as you work with us here, please take account of that tilt, that bias that we would like to seal in our relationship. Obviously, trade and investment are easier done when there are people to people, strengthened relationships, we understand that and we would like to work with yourselves in that area as well,” said President Hichilema.

“We are confident that with the cooperation of each of your respective governments, we will further strengthen our relations and together, we will achieve the much-needed development for the betterment of the lives of our people. Our government through the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation stands ready to facilitate your settling in, to facilitate our desired working relationships and obviously to assist you to achieve your own objectives which obviously is part of your being here, to be able to pursue your country’s interests.”

The following Diplomats presented their credentials to President Hichilema: Azim Yarakhmedov, Ambassador designate of Russian Federation to the Republic of Zambia; Ahmed Saadi, designate of the People’s Republic of Algeria to the Republic of Zambia; Abadi Nureldin Abdelrahman, Ambassador designate of the Republic of Sudan to the Republic of Zambia; Maria Pavlova Tzotzorkova Kaymaktchieva, Ambassador designate of Bulgaria to the Republic of Zambia and Attila Gyorgy Horvath, Ambassador designate of Hungary to the Republic of Zambia.

Others are; Jorge Felix Rubio Correa, Ambassador designate of the Republic of Peru to the Republic of Zambia; Dr Emma Rebbeca Dunlop-Bennett, High Commissioner, designate of New Zealand to the Republic of Zambia; Dr Lovell Francis, High Commissioner, designate of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the Republic of Zambia; and Claude Morel, High Commissioner, designate of the Republic of Seychelles to the Republic of Zambia.