Le­sotho-tur­key to re­vive eco­nomic deal

Lesotho Times - - Business - Bereng Mpaki

THE Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs, Le­sego Mak­gothi says Le­sotho and Tur­key are com­mit­ted to im­ple­ment­ing the Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion Agree­ment that the two coun­tries signed in 2016.

Mr Mak­gothi said this in an in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times this week in the wake of his visit to Tur­key from 20 to 22 March.

Dur­ing his visit, Mr Mak­gothi held bi­lat­eral dis­cus­sions with his Turk­ish coun­ter­part, Mevlüt Çavuolu which cen­tred on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the stalled deal which was signed dur­ing the ten­ure of the for­mer seven par­ties’ coali­tion gov­ern­ment that was headed by Dr Pakalitha Mo­sisili.

The eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment is aimed at strength­en­ing trade be­tween the two coun­tries and en­able Le­sotho to ex­pand and di­ver­sify its prod­ucts and ser­vices.

The bi-lat­eral eco­nomic agree­ment also pro­vides for the es­tab­lish­ment of a bi-na­tional com­mis­sion, which would meet pe­ri­od­i­cally to as­sess the eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries. How­ever, the com­mis­sion has not been es­tab­lished to date.

Mr Mak­gothi ex­pressed op­ti­mism that this would soon change, say­ing they agreed dur­ing his visit to work on im­ple­ment­ing the eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment.

He blamed the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment for fail­ing to en­sure its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

“Af­ter the agree­ment was signed, it was not im­ple­mented, par­tic­u­larly on our side,” Mr Mak­gothi said.

“Dur­ing my visit to Tur­key, we agreed on the modal­i­ties of op­er­a­tional­is­ing it in the short­est pos­si­ble time.”

He said they also agreed to open em­bassies in both coun­tries to sup­port the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the agree­ment. Cur­rently, Le­sotho and Swazi­land are served by the Turk­ish em­bassy which is si­t­u­ated in Pre­to­ria, South Africa.

Last Septem­ber, Tur­key’s Am­bas­sador to Le­sotho, Elif Ço­molu Ül­gen told this pub­li­ca­tion that her coun­try would open a sep­a­rate em­bassy in Le­sotho rather op­er­ate from South Africa.

Am­bas­sador Ço­molu Ül­gen said the move would strengthen diplo­matic ties, in­crease the level of de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion and boost eco­nomic part­ner­ships.

She said there was a long his­tory of Tur­key-le­sotho re­la­tions dat­ing back to 1995, adding that her coun­try ex­pected de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion and boost eco­nomic part­ner­ships to ac­cel­er­ate once the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment opened a sep­a­rate em­bassy in Maseru.

In an­other de­vel­op­ment, Mr Mak­gothi and his Turk­ish coun­ter­part signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing on po­lit­i­cal con­sul­ta­tion and the train­ing of diplo­mats of Le­sotho by Tur­key.

FOR­EIGN Af­fairs Min­is­ter Le­sego Mak­gothi (left) and his Turk­ish coun­ter­part Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

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