SUDANESE Ambassador to Zambia Mohamed Balila has trashed allegations by United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema that the Patriotic Front government has sent youths to Sudan to be trained by militias, according to the government controlled and edited Daily Mail.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur region.
Mr Balila has since advised Mr Hichilema against being careless with his public statements and work with various stakeholders for the good of the country and the rest of Africa.
Mr Balila said there is no need for Mr Hichilema to issue such unconstructive statements and urged him to use his vision with wisdom as he practises politics.
He said in an interview with the Daily Mail that there is no need for the opposition leader to use internal politics as a platform to injure the feelings of a fellow African country.
“I call upon Mr Hichilema to be prudent and join forces with all political parties in the two sisterly countries and others in the region to work together for the benefit of our nations, the region and the continent as a whole to achieve the goals of development,” he said.
Mr Balila is hopeful that Mr Hichilema is not attempting to tarnish the image of Sudan to the outside world.
“I hope that as a respectful politician, Mr Hichilema does not mean to sell a bad image of Sudan to the outside world,” he said.
Mr Balila said the relationship that exists between Zambia and Sudan dates back to the early days of the two countries’ common struggle for freedom and has continued to strengthen even after both countries attained independence.
Mr Balila said Zambia and Sudan share membership to many regional, continental and international organisations such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the African Union (AU).
He said their membership with the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region is another important platform that brings Zambia and Sudan together.
He said under the AU, the two countries work together and share ideas on the benefits of continental programmes in various fields of development.
“These organisations provide platforms for hundreds of shared programmes for Sudan and Zambia. COMESA, for example, brings Zambia and Sudan as well as other members together in programmes such as agriculture, trade, customs, infrastructure, energy and many others,” he said.
Mr Balila said security arrangements between the two countries can clearly be seen in Zambia’s participation in peace-keeping missions in Sudan.
He also said Zambia and Sudan cooperate in fields of agriculture, education, mining and health and that one important area of cooperation is higher education where the two countries exchange scholarship programmes.