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China, Botswana agrees to strengthen nongovernmental ties


09:57, September 07, 2011

GABORONE, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- China and Botswana agreed on Tuesday to explore the area of nongovernmental cooperation and enhance people-to-people exchanges and understanding.

The Chinese Association for International Understanding (CAFIU) and the House of Chiefs in Botswana parliament signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), agreeing to establish a regular communication structure and ensure more frequent exchanges in agriculture, tourism, culture and education at the nongovernment level.

Wang Zhizhen, the visiting vice chairperson of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Vice President of CAFIU, said at the signing ceremony that relationships between countries and political parties are very important, but "people-to-people relations perhaps are more important because they are more fundamental."

She said CAFIU was founded 30 years ago and is composed of political parties, social organizations, prominent personages, scholars and social activists from all walks of life in China, carrying out active and wide-ranging international nongovernmental exchanges and dialogues in the hope to "let the world understand China, and let China understand the world."

"Currently CAFIU has establish links with more than 130 social organizations, political parties and academic institutions in about 50 countries. The cooperation with the House of Chiefs of Botswana will offer a new platform for better people-to-people understanding, and inject new life to the long standing friendship between the two countries," Wang said.

Puso Gaborone, chairman of the House of Chiefs, said at the ceremony that he strongly believe Botswana and China will benefit from this arrangement.

"It has always been our intention and wish to establish friendship and relationship with other institutions," he said. "We live in a global world, it is very important to learn from each other. And it is important that the friendship and relationship should basically be people to people."

He expects the nongovernmental cooperation between the two countries will benefit development of Botswana, especially in the field of agriculture, as "most Batswana are involved in agriculture. It is a clear indication traditional leaders have a important role to play in rural development."

The House of Chiefs of Botswana acts as a advisory body to the parliament. All bills affecting tribal organization and property, customary law, and the administration of customary courts go through the house before being discussed. Members must also be consulted when the constitution is being reviewed or amended. The body has the power to summon members of the government.


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