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…Given Lubinda says Zambia has not appointed US as her lobbyist on debt restructuring, advises USA to stop meddling in Zambia/China bilateral relations


PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema should directly engage the Chinese government and speak to President Xi Jinping over Zambia’s debt restructuring instead of using the United States of America as a proxy to pour scorn on China, Given Lubinda has charged.

Mr Lubinda, the Patriotic Front (PF) acting president says Zambia has not appointed the USA to speak on its behalf regarding the country’s bilateral relations with other countries and it was diplomatically incorrect for President Hichilema to have allowed the US talk about China, a third party on Zambia’s debt.

Mr Lubinda said in an interview that there were many Zambia’s across the political spectrum who were against the USA electing to be the spokesperson of Zambians because they know and believe the country had the capacity to enter into bilateral negotiations without the help of the American government.

Early this week, Professor Janet Yallen, the US Secretary of the Treasury attacked the Chinese government accusing Beijing of having been the barrier to concluding the negotiations on Zambia’s debt restructuring under the Zambia Official Creditors Committee for which China has been the Co-Chair.

But Mr Lubinda said it was diplomatically unheard of for one country to speak on behalf of another sovereign nation to a third party on the other country’s debt, ignoring the official platforms established to discuss such bilateral matters.

“As Zambians, we want to tell President Hichilema that as he is discussing with the US about the country’s debt restructuring, let him speak engage the Chinese government directly and speak to President Xi Jinping and not through the US government as a proxy.

Mr Hichilema is the President of Zambia and should show that he capable of entering into bilateral engagements with any other country in the world including China.

The US has never been appointed to speak on behalf of Zambia…at least President Hichilema has never told us that he has appointed the US as Zambia’s lobbyist to be speaking on our behalf regarding debt restructuring,” Mr Lubinda said.

Mr Lubinda, the former Justice Minister said the only platform which Prof Yellen could have used to discuss Zambia’s debt was the Official Creditors Committee under the G20 Common Framework and not any other fora.

He stated that the US government would do better to stick to the bilateral relations it was enjoying with Zambia instead of attacking a third party on a matter that should have been discussed under the Official Creditors Committee.

“The US should be made aware that they are not superior to other countries and their sovereignty and therefore do not have the right to speak down to other countries. The bilateral relationship between Zambia and China are but bilateral. So while Zambia is negotiating its debt under the Official Creditors Committee under the G20 Common Framework, we remain bound to having bilateral discussions with various creditor nations and the US should never at any one time meddle in our bilateral relations with other countries,” Mr Lubinda said.

Mr Lubinda claimed that the US debt to other countries was a whopping US$31 trillion and that the country should therefore concentrate on resolving its indebtedness instead of attempting to destroy the diplomatic relations Zambia was enjoying with China.

“Let Prof Yellen not interfere with our discussions with the third party countries and if she has any concerns, let her air those in a multilateral platform called the Zambia Official Creditors Committee for which China is the Co-Chair,” Mr Lubinda said.     


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