The SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, on 6th September 2019 received a courtesy visit from the American Ambassador to Botswana, His Excellency Craig Cloud, at the SADC Secretariat.
The meeting was aimed at consolidating bilateral relations and partnership on areas of mutual interest.
Ambassador Cloud thanked Dr Tax for making time to meet him and reiterated the United States of America’s commitment to support the attainment of sustained, inclusive economic growth of the SADC region.
Furthermore, Ambassador Cloud his country’s goals and objectives for the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, which will be held from 17-30 September 2019 in New York, which include promotion of peace and security, economic growth and prosperity, humanitarian assistance, and United Nations reform and efficiency.
Dr. Tax shared with the Ambassador the outcomes of the just-ended 39th Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania, on 17-18 August 2019. In this regard, she reiterated the call by the SADC Summit for lifting of economic sanctions imposed on the Republic of Zimbabwe, that have heavily impacted on the economy of Zimbabwe and the region at large, and resulted in untold suffering of the people of Zimbabwe.
Dr. Tax further informed Ambassador Cloud that the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ on Defence, Politics and Security Cooperation (SIPO II), which are instrumental in guiding the strategic direction of the region in socio-economic development and peace and security, are coming to an end in March 2020 and work had commenced to develop the successor strategic framework. She called all partners to provide inputs, especially on areas of cooperation while recognising that the priorities of the region will mostly remain the same as articulated in RISDP and SIPO.
Dr. Tax further updated the Ambassador on the ongoing peace engagements efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo citing the gravity of security challenges, especially terrorism and violent extremism, as well as transnational organized crime, and the need to consolidate efforts towards sustainable stability in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region.
The two parties also discussed preparations for the forthcoming Peace and Security Thematic Group meeting that is scheduled for 2nd October 2019. The Peace and Security Thematic Group, which was established to among others, engage on strategic issues in relation to peace and security priorities of SADC, and strengthen coordination of interventions on peace and security in the region, is co-Chaired by SADC Secretariat and the U.S. Embassy in Botswana.
The parties agreed to further consolidate cooperation and continued engagement on areas of mutual interest.