Botswana, Namibia bi-national commission talks kick off

Staff Writer

The Botswana-Namibia Bi-National Commission, BNC inaugural session began today in Botswana.

The BNC is a high-level bilateral platform that replaced the Joint Commission on Coo Operation and the Joint Permanent Commission on Security and Defence between the two countries through an agreement signed during the working visit by Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi to Windhoek in late January this year. Last year the two countries disbanded their Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security (JPCDS) during the 29th session at Swakopmund and elevated to a bi-national commission (BNC) on defence and security, chaired by the Heads of State of Namibia and Botswana.

President Hage Geingob is scheduled to visit Gaborone, Botswana, on September 8 and 9 to attend the BNC.

Namibia looks forward to Botswana’s support in their joint efforts to promote and maintain regional stability and peaceful coexistence, according to Penda Naanda, executive director of the ministry of international relations and cooperation.

“I am convinced that our deliberations will be geared towards strengthening bilateral cooperation between our two countries. We have two days during which we as senior officials will discuss and exhaust all the agenda items, which will culminate in the preparation of relevant reports and other documents for the Ministerial Session. I am cognizant of the fact that much of the work and the substance of our meeting lies in the committee discussions where our experts will deliberate on a number of issues of socio-economic cooperation of mutual interest to Botswana and Namibia alike,” he said.

The Bi-National Commission is expected to review cooperation in a wide range of areas including diplomatic, legal, economic, social, and defence and security, as well exchange views on issues of mutual interest and concern at the regional and multilateral fora.

The two countries are expected to consider and sign new bilateral agreements and Memoranda of Understanding.

President Geingob will be accompanied by international relations minister Netumbo Nandi- Ndaitwah and home affairs, immigration, safety and security minister Albert Kawana.

Other members of the delegation include agriculture, water, and land reform minister Calle Schlettwein, health minister Kalumbi Shangula, industrialisation deputy minister Lucia Iipumbu, attorney general Festus Mbandeka and deputy minister of defence Hilma Nicanor.

By Observer