The Executive Secretary of SADC, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax received letters of credence from the Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the Republic of Namibia, His Excellency, Mr. Omar Berroteran Paredes on 6th December 2019 at the SADC Secretariat Headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana.
H.E Ambassador Paredes thanked Dr Tax for making time to meet him and conveyed gratitude from the President of Venezuela, H.E President Nicolas Maduro Moros for the message of solidarity from SADC, urging the international community to respect the outcomes of Parliamentary Elections and Presidential Elections held in December 2015 and May 2018 respectively. The statement also condemned violations of the principles of International Law, especially, the respect for sovereignty of Venezuela.
H.E Ambassador Paredes also expressed his delight in the support offered by SADC to the government of Venezuela during its chairpersonship of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) since 2016. He briefly outlined the mandate of NAM, a forum of 120 countries, and the second largest grouping of States after the United Nations, further stating that all SADC Member States subscribed to the Forum ideals of promoting national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries. He said that the pillars of the NAM are aligned with the development aspirations of SADC, therefore opening up room for strengthening collaboration in the areas of peace, sustainable development and promotion of human rights.
The Ambassador further informed the SADC Executive Secretary of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Latin America (ALBA), an alliance set up by Latin America and the Caribbean, for regional economic integration and fight against poverty and social exclusion, among others. He stated that SADC and the Bolivarian Alliance for People of Latin America (ALBA) share the same objectives, and could explore areas of collaboration. The Ambassador further indicated that Venezuela was ready to collaborate with the SADC region in cultural exchanges, education and scholarships, as well as in housing development technologies.
Dr. Tax thanked Ambassador Paredes for the visit and congratulated him on his appointment, indicating that SADC values existing cordial relations with the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and commended the country for being the Chair of the NAM. Dr. Tax also expressed her appreciations to H.E. the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela regarding the SADC intervention that was seen as timely and having contributed to a positive outcome during the critical time in the country. She said that SADC shared a lot in common with Venezuela, in terms of aspirations and policy objectives, and will continue working with Venezuela.
She also said SADC was open to exploring meaningful and deeper integration, and was willing to learn from Venezuela, specifically in the oil and gas industry, where Venezuela has vast experience. She also indicated SADC ‘s readiness to cooperate with ALBA. She further appreciated areas of collaboration as proposed by Venezuela, in scholarships, and housing development technologies, given Member States aspirations to bring a dignified life to SADC citizenry through decent housing initiatives.
The two parties agreed to engage further to explore new areas of cooperation and recognised the importance of bringing together SADC and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Latin America (ALBA. The SADC Executive Secretary was accompanied by the Director for Infrastructure, Ms. Mapolao Mokoena.