In what has turned out to be a potentially puzzling and bizzare diplomatic incident, government spokeperson and Acting Information Minister Mwansa Kapeya has insited that the State visit to Israel of the Republican President Mr. Micheal Chilufya Sata is still valid.

An official statement by government yesterday broadcast on national media said the Republican President was in Israel at the invitation of his counterpart outgoing President Shimon Peres. Peres however is reported by local Israeli media and both his Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Presidential press office to be on a last assignment in office through a trip to the United States of America. Peres is expected back in Israel on 27th June 2014.

None of the local media in Israel including Hareetz, Jerusalem Post, Arutz Sheva, Israel Hayom and Times of Israel have carried stories of the arrival of Republican President Michael Chilufya Sata in Israel. According to local sources in Israel no protocol has been witnessed involving the arrival of the Republican president in that country. Local media in Israel are preoccupied with a story of jailed American-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard whose release Peres is intending to discuss with American authorities.

Comments to clarify the current Diplomatic situation have been unavailable from the Zambian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website is currently inaccessible from Zambia which situation has fueled speculation as to why. Yesterday a statement by the acting Information Minister read:

His Excellency the President Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata has arrived in the Israeli capital Tel Aviv on a working holiday at the invitation of out-going Israeli President His Excellency Mr. Shimon Peres.

President Sata, who is accompanied to Israel by First Lady Dr. Christine Kaseba Sata and other senior government officials, was received by Zambia’s Honorary Consular-General to the Republic of Israel Her Excellency Ms. Ronit Hershkovitz.

While in Israel, President Sata will among other important engagements, have meetings with out-going Israeli President Mr. Shimon Peres and Israeli senior Government officials.

The President will also hold meetings with Israeli businessmen who are interested in investing in Zambia’s rural industrialization project.”

Efforts to reach the Israeli presidential Press office proved futile by press time. Justice Minister who is also Patriotic Front (PF) General Secretary Wynter Kabimba is Acting President while the Republican President is out of the country.


Zambian Eye Bureau

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