Russia’s top parliamentary official Valentina Matviyenko held talks with Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu at State House in Lusaka Tuesday, signalling another bid by Moscow to boost relations with the southern Africa country.
Ms Matviyenko, currently Senator of Saint Petersburg and the Chairperson of the Russian Federation Council of the Federal Assembly, arrived in Lusaka with several Russian senators and government officials for what they called a reciprocal visit.
Zambia’s Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Patrick Matibini, visited Moscow in April 2018. Zambia had also sent a delegation to the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit last October.
Ms Matviyenko discussed matters of “mutual interest with President Lungu in a closed-door meeting,” the state radio reported.
Ms Matviyenko said the two countries had potential to boost trade and cooperation in health, heavy duty industry, agriculture and defence, and security sectors.
She also announced that the construction of a centre for nuclear sciences technology has halted due to financial issues that are being resolved between the two governments.
Russia is building a multi-million-dollar nuclear plant east of Lusaka for energy production.
State House Zambia issued a short statement quoting President Lungu saying the high level visits between Zambia and the Russian Federation “is a demonstration of the warm relations that exist between the two countries.”
The visit was a build-up from bilateral talks with his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin which were held on the sidelines of the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, in July, 2018.
The two leaders committed to scaling up diplomatic ties between Zambia and Russia to strengthen economic co-operation, the statement said.