TOGOLESE President Faure Gnassingbe is expected in the country in May, for a State visit at the invitation of his Zambian counterpart Edgar Lungu.
President Gnassingbe has also invited President Lungu to attend a conference on security involving selected African countries and Israel to be held in Togo in October, this year.
Visiting Togolese Foreign Affairs and African Integration Minister Robert Dussey said this when he led a delegation from that country to pay a courtesy call on President Lungu at State House in Lusaka yesterday.
Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda told journalists after a closed-door meeting between President Lungu and Professor Dussey’s team that the aim of MrGnassinbe’s visit to Zambia was to enhance ties between the two countries.
“The message that the minister brought was that His Excellency Faure Gnassingbe, president of Togo, will be visiting Zambia on a State visit in May. The thrust of the visit is international and bilateral cooperation between the two countries,” he said.
Mr Chanda said in the area of economic cooperation, Togo had a comparative advantage in mining, particularly in iron ore and thus it was decided that the programme would be structured around thematic areas of common interest to both countries.
On the forthcoming conference, Mr Chanda said besides President Lungu, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also been invited.
Mr Chanda noted that there was a framework of cooperation within the ambit of the African Union (AU) where Zambia and Togo wanted to share common positions.
The other matters discussed during the meeting included regional security, efforts to promote productivity in rural agriculture and to use their expertise in mining as an engine of growth for both countries.
He said President Lungu was happy that MrGnassingbe had accepted his invitation as thisemphasised the important role reciprocal visits played in international relations, sharing experiences and cooperating more in trade, good governance and democracy which were central to the collaboration at the AU.
He observed that African countries traded more with Western nations at the expense of doing so within the continent, adding that enhancing trade amongst African countries would make integration easier.
Earlier Professor Dussey called for closer ties between Zambia and Togo in order to improve the lives of people in the two countries.
Prof Dussey said Zambia and Togo needed to work together for the mutual benefit of both countries.
The Togolese minister said this yesterday when he held a meeting with Foreign Affairs minister Harry Kalaba yesterday at the ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Prof Dussey said Togo was available to work with Zambia in agriculture, among other sectors.
He said Zambia and Togo had similar colonial history and development levels.
Mr Kalaba said the visit by the Togolese delegation signified a new chapter in Zambia-Togo relations and that Zambia intended to take the bilateral and multilateral ties to greater heights.