Botswana, Russia committed to hosting Political Consultation Forums

Botswana Guardian

15/06/2018

It is truly an honour and privilege I for me to be part of this momentous I occasion marking the National Day of the Russian Federation.

As you commemorate the historic day, please allow me on behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Botswana, to convey my heartfelt congratulations and profound wishes of sustained peace and prosperity for the Russian people.

The Day is indeed worth celebrating as it is symbolic of the major democratic and economic transformation agenda that Russia embarked upon since 1992, following the country’s independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. It is a day for the Russian people to look back and take stock of the achievements made over the years, but also to look into the future.

I therefore speak to you today with deepest respect and admiration for the Russian success in ensuring solid economic growth, national unity, social stability and progress, while at the same time enriching mankind with its diverse heritage and expertise in a variety of fields such as literature, the arts and science. This, of course, would not have been possible without the strong commitment and indomitable will of the Russian Government and the people of Russia, in general. I note with appreciation that this year we are also commemorating the 48th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Botswana and Russia. This signifies our longstanding and enduring partnership.

We take great satisfaction that these mutually beneficial relations have become truly multi-dimensional, covering fields of defence, diplomacy, education, trade, health, and mining. Our strong and animated friendship demonstrates the enormous benefits that can be achieved when friends reach out with open hands of partnership and mutual respect. Russia continues to support Botswana in a number of areas, which include among others, education, health and law enforcement. This technical assistance has contributed significantly to our human resource development, which is paramount in advancing Botswana’s development agenda.

I am also pleased that our bilateral relations are characterised by increased high-level exchange visits, which have been instrumental in further strengthening and broadening the scope of our bilateral cooperation.

Equally, our commitment to the regular convening of our bilateral consultative forum, in the form of the Botswana/ Russia Political Consultations, continue to serve us well in exchanging views on issues of bilateral, continental and global nature of mutual concern. Last year we had the opportunity to enjoy the warm Russian hospitality when we had our Consultative meeting in Moscow. Surely, this political consultation mechanism plays an important role as our two countries continue to demonstrate their commitment to deepen the strategic partnership and cooperation at all levels of human development.

I am well aware that it is Botswana’s turn to host the Political Consultations this year, and I wish to assure you of our readiness to fulfil our obligations. I am hopeful that we will agree on a mutually convenient date soon to convene this important Consultative meeting to reflect on the state of our bilateral cooperation and exchange views on a wide range of issues of mutual concern.

As much as we acknowledge that our bilateral relations are stronger at government level, there is still limited success when it comes to people-to- people interaction, which is critical if we are to increase commercial activities between our two countries.

I therefore believe that the conclusion of the Agreement on Visa Abolition between the two countries will go a long way in facilitating people to people interaction and the ease of doing business. Let me once again reaffirm my government’s commitment to further enhance the bonds of friendship that are the hallmark of our bilateral cooperation. I am full of optimism that the relations between our two nations will continue to flourish.

It will be remiss of me if I do not commend Russia for the prominent role it continues to play in the world of sports, and I wish you all success in hosting the 2018 World Cup. May the best team emerge victorious.

* Gaeimelwe Goitsemang is Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation. He was speaking at the Occasion of the Russian Day, June 12, 2018.