Tue, 07 Feb 2023

LUSAKA, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Remarks by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that China has been a barrier to concluding Zambia's debt negotiations is unfortunate and disturbing, Emmanuel Mwamba, a former diplomat said on Wednesday.

Mwamba, who is Zambia's former Ambassador to Ethiopia and former Permanent Representative to the African Union, said it was unfortunate that the U.S. official, in the bilateral talks with Zambia while she was in the country, decided to bring out the issue of China, adding that this was against diplomatic etiquette.

He said China's stance on the debt with Zambia was clear, adding that as a sovereign nation, China decided to join the creditors' committee without being induced.

China, he said, has been an all-weather friend to Zambia and financed the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia railway even when it was not a wealthy country in the 1970s.

According to him, the huge infrastructure projects being funded by China in Zambia such as power projects, show that China has been a generous supporter of Zambia's development.

Fred Mutesa, an expert in governance, development cooperation and poverty alleviation, said the U.S. government was being sensational and playing to the gallery on Zambia's external debt issue.

"It appears our American friends are bent on prizing Zambia away from China. The language from both USA policymakers and their allied media is reminiscent of the Cold War. We are repeatedly being bombarded with statements that the USA's newly found interest in Africa is to check and contain the growing influence of China on the continent," Mutesa said.

Mutesa said China has shown its goodwill by volunteering to co-chair the creditors committee. He added that it was clear that the U.S. interest was not about helping Africa or Zambia but advancing its global interest in a region or country where it feels it was losing ground.

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