Lungu assures Pope

PRESIDENT Lungu (right) with Pope Francis (left) on Friday, February 5, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. President Lungu had his first audience with Francis which lasted for 25 minutes. PICTURE BY SALIM HENRY/STATE HOUSE ©2016.

PRESIDENT Lungu has assured Pope Francis that he will continue promoting dialogue among different political players as Zambia heads for tripartite elections.
The President told the Pope that he believes in peace and co-existence and that he will continue to promote dialogue with all political players.
President Lungu made the assurance during private talks with the Pope at the Vatican City yesterday.
Briefing the press at Hotel Westin Excelsior on the talks, President Lungu’s special assistant for press and public relations, Amos Chanda, said during the meeting, the Pope said Zambia is a beacon of peace.
“The President assured the Holy Father that as Zambia goes to elections this year, he is going to try as much as possible to promote dialogue among political parties,” Mr Chanda said.
And the Pope has appealed to President Lungu to promote dialogue and peace ahead of the elections.
Pope Francis said Zambia is known for holding peaceful elections and that he is looking forward to peaceful polls in August.
President Lungu has always called for peace and co-existence ahead of the August 11 tripartite elections.
Pope Francis wished Zambia peace before, during and after the tripartite elections and urged President Lungu to continue promoting dialogue among different sections of society.
Pope Francis also urged President Lungu to help resolve conflicts in Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mr Chanda said it is for this reason the Vatican regards Zambia as a credible mediator which can help the parties in Burundi and DRC to resolve their political differences peacefully.
“The Pope urged President Lungu that he is greatly concerned about the political violence in Burundi and appealed to President Lungu to intervene,” Mr Chanda said.
“The Pope said Zambia can be a credible mediator in the crises in Burundi and DR Congo.”
He said the Pope emphasised that there is need for President Lungu to ensure there are credible elections in DR Congo.
The two leaders also pledged to work together to mitigate the impact of climate change on Zambia and the entire southern Africa.
Pope Francis expressed concern about the possibility of crop failure in Zambia and the region because of poor rainfall, and called for closer collaboration.
President Lungu also held private talks with Vatican Secretary of State of His Holiness Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

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