Local time: Saturday, 29 February 2020 13:58:18hrs
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FOREIGN POLICY PREMISED ON DEMOCRACY, RULE OF LAW President Mokgweetsi Masisi says Botswana’s foreign policy is premised on democratic principles, the rule of law and non-violence. President Masisi was speaking with US senior fellows for Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations as well as former American ambassador to Botswana Ms Michelle Gavin on the sidelines of the UN general assembly on September 24.

He said though Botswana had a small population, he was convinced it still had great global influence in areas of the rule of law and zero tolerance for corruption.

Botswana’s global influence, he said, had a traceable track record.

He added that even when neighbouring countries felt the country had done something wrong, it maintained the diplomacy of not shouting at such neighbours but instead engaged meaningfully.

On the issue of the alleged slaughter of more than 87 elephants, he refuted reports and assured the global community that Botswana would continue to be a leader in the protection of wild animals.

President Masisi said as proof that the country had efficient conservation measures in place, Botswana had the highest elephant population in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area with others having migrated from neighbouring countries.

To demonstrate further the country’s commitment, he said legitimately armed security forces were deployed towards the protection of wild animals.

He explained that following his inauguration in April, he discovered that the Department of Wildlife and National Parks anti-poaching unit had automatic weapons in contravention of existing laws.

The relevant minister was then instructed to disarm the unit to correct the anomaly.

“In the event that they need weapons, they should acquire such lawfully and through the amendment of the law,” he said.

He said news of the alleged killing of more than 87 elephants came as a shock since the mortality of the species was documented daily while weekly reports were made to his office.

“No search, both aerial and on land found any significant number of killed elephants near a sanctuary in Botswana, as we are committed to averting poaching by arresting and prosecuting poachers,” he said. BOPA

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