President Ian Khama on Monday spoke out for the first time about terrorism and ongoing security challenges in countries like Nigeria, South Sudan and Ukraine. Speaking at a banquet organized in honor of King Letsie III who was on a state visit to Botswana, President Khama said Nigeria has been going through a torrid time characterized by terror attacks that killed innocent people and most recently the abduction of school girls. He condemned such actions, saying they show total disregard for human life and the rights of innocent children.
President Khama also talked about terror attacks in Kenya, saying the barbaric acts can never be justified and must be strongly condemned.
“These barbaric acts must receive our strongest condemnation and contempt. We hope that Kenya and Nigeria will overcome these challenges so that their citizens can safely go about their day to day activities in peace. In this regard Botswana joins others in offering messages of support and solidarity,” he said.
?On Egypt, President Khama said the country continues to experience turmoil and instability, ever since the coup that ended former President Morsi’s rule. He expressed hope that as Egypt prepares to hold elections, its people will embrace democracy, restore constitutional normalcy and demonstrate tolerance of political opponents.
“The resort to violence by any party against their opponents is as alarming as it is unacceptable,” he said.
He also called for peace in South Sudan saying the people have endured too much pain and suffering. He expressed hope that diplomatic efforts towards finding a peaceful and durable solution to the conflict in South Sudan will bear fruit. He also commended the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) for their lead role in the on-going peace process and expressed hope that the young Republic of South Sudan can still summon the common resolve to overcome the current challenges. He also reiterated Botswana’s readiness to help South Sudan in its development efforts.? ?President Khama hit out at the international community for its collective failure to bring to a halt the continued carnage that is being conducted with such reckless abandon in Syria. He condemned the Syrian regime and some of the opposing militia who are engaged in acts of crimes against humanity. He further revealed that Botswana abstained at the recent United Nations assembly vote on Ukraine, saying the matter is complex and precarious because of too many competing interests both from within and outside that country. He said these highly emotive internal tensions, exacerbated by external influence and interests have ignited and continue to inflame actions that have resulted in violence and loss of life. He urged the international community to seek an impartial and responsible solution to the situation in Ukraine.
“Our opinion is that the solution to the crisis in Ukraine should come from the Ukrainians themselves, with the assistance of a neutral party like the United Nations playing a supportive role,” said President Khama.
He commended King Letsie III for Lesotho’s assumption of the chairmanship of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security later this year. He also expressed hope that King Letsie III will continue to spearhead efforts towards finding lasting and durable solutions to the myriad of peace and security challenges that the international community continues to grapple with.
“You can count on our support during your tenure of office,” he said.