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Republic of Botswana

" Promoting Botswana´s interests abroad"


Mr Phandu Skelemani, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation raised the concern during a bilateral meeting he held with his Czech counterpart. The meeting was held in the sidelines of the AU general assembly.

Mr Skelemani said in an interview later that the Czech Republic also raised concern that its citizens are still required to obtain visas if they wish to visit Botswana. He said the issue is still before the cabinet and hoped that the two countries’ concerns would be addressed soon.

Minister Skelemani also had bilateral meetings with Portugal and Finland both of whom want Botswana’s support in their candidacy for seats in the Security Council. Portugal is competing with Germany and Canada for a seat in the Security Council while Finland will be competing with Luxemburg and Australia.

Still on bilateral meetings, the minister met with Kosovo and discussions were focused on Kosovo’s lobby for recognition of its unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia. The minister said the matter is still before the European Union, which the two countries have indicated interest to join. He said Botswana has not yet made a decision on the matter pending the ruling of the EU.

He said Kosovo promised support in establishment of medical school in return for the recognition of independence. Minister Skelemani further attended a political consultative meeting between China and Africa where China’s assistance to African countries was discussed. He said China raised loan ceilings from US$ 5bn.

Also on the minister’s itinerary was a high level meeting of the International Year of Biodiversity, which addressed issues of climate change, conservation, access to safe drinking water and environmental  education and awareness. He said with limited resources Botswana and other African countries find it difficult to implement conservation strategies stipulated in the Conservation on Biodiversity.

Minister Skelemani outlined challenges facing Botswana, which include educating, training local communities on sustainable use of natural resources as well as assisting them to adapt to new ways of of conservation.

He said although Botswana has made significant progress, it still needs financial and technical assistance to ensure that it stays on the right path. The minister acknowledged the assistance it has received from its partners such as Australia, which has helped in training of Batswana in veldt fire fighting.

Mr Skelemani further attended a side meeting organized by The Global Centre for Responsibility to protect, which discussed war crimes, genocides and crimes against humanity. The minister shared with the meeting, the consultation system that exists in Botswana whereby Batswana are given an opportunity to air the views and opinions on matters of national interestsHe noted that Botswana does not have ethnic or religious conflicts, which are rife in some parts of the world. Also on his schedule, was a meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers of African members’ states of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), which promotes democracy.

The Institute, which visited Botswana after the 2009 general election, produced a report in which the institute recommended funding of political parties. Mr Skelemani said the matter is still to be discussed further with the institute and political parties to iron out the dynamics involved in political funding. BOPA

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