US, UK assures President Banda of support to Malawi

President Joyce Banda has said she has received assurances from international development partners that they remain committed to the people of Malawi and that they will be in discussion with her government on the support to Malawi’s economic recovery and development plans.

Addressing journalists at her official Area 12 residence in the capital City, Lilongwe on Tuesday, Her Excellency Banda disclosed that the Minister for Africa in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the United Kingdom, Henry Bellingham had called to assure her of the British Government’s commitment to support Malawi.

“In our discussions, we both committed ourselves to restoring the cordial relations between our two governments as quickly as possible,” said said Malawi’s new leader.

President Banda addresses the media

“Right Honourable Bellington indicated to me the British Government’s commitment to send a new British envoy to Malawi within the shortest time possible as part of the restoration of the cordial relationship,” she added.

The first Malawi’s and second Africa’s female Head of State said she had assured the British Government official that she was “personally committed to ensuring that the Government of Malawi addresses the issues that negatively affected our relations.”

The President also disclosed that the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called and assured her of the US Government’s support to Malawi.

“I expressed the people of Malawi’s concern on the suspension of the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC). I indicated to Secretary Clinton the importance of the MCC to Malawi’s future economic development and asked for her indulgence to consider lifting the suspension,” the President said.

Aadding that Secretary Clinton indicated to her that the US Government would ensure that the discussions on the MCC resume as soon as possible.

“On my part, I pledged that Malawi will resolve the issues that led to the suspension of the MCC, and particularly pledged that we want to restore the rule of law and democratic principles in our country, respect for human rights and freedoms as guaranteed by our Constitution, and demonstrate good governance, and my starting point is to make sure Malawi has a programme with the IMF,” said President Banda.

She disclosed that following her conversation with Secretary Clinton, she will on Tuesday evening be speaking with the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Account, Daniles Yhanes “to concretely chart the way forward for resumption of the MCC negotiations and ultimate release of the money earmarked for Malawi.”

The President also said Baroness Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission will also be speaking to her in due course and that she keenly looked forward to the discussions knowing the significance of the EU support to Malawi.

“Later today, I shall be meeting the IMF Resident Representative in Malawi, and I personally wasn’t us to agree the best way possible to ensure Malawi gets on track with the IMF Programme,” she said.

This was a news conference on President Banda’s first working day since she was sworn-in as Head of State on Saturday.

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