Final Statement on the Occasion of the State Visit to Gabon of his Excellency Mr Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa, Libreville, on 2 and 3 August 2005

At the invitation of His Excellency EL HADJ OMAR BONGO ONDIMBA, President of the Republic of Gabon, Head of State, His Excellency THABO MBEKI, President of the Republic of South Africa, paid a State Visit to the Republic of Gabon on 2 and 3 August 2005.

President MBEKI was accompanied by Mr J Radebe, Minister of Transport; Mr M Mpahlwa, Minister of Trade and Industry; Ms N Pandor, Minister of Education; Dr P Jordan, Minister of Arts and Culture; senior government officials; and business leaders representing various sectors of the South African economy.

President THABO MBEKI's visit focused on the exchanging of points of view on major developments taking place both in Africa and outside the continent; as well as the strengthening of the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

During their private discussion, the two Heads of State reviewed issues of common interest at the bilateral, sub-regional, regional and international levels.

In this regard, the two Presidents expressed satisfaction with the state of cooperation between their countries, and urged their Ministers to further intensify cooperation in all fields as provided for in the General Cooperation Agreement signed in Libreville on 26th November 2003 by the two countries.

As a concrete demonstration of the desire by both countries to forge closer ties, the following agreements were signed during President MBEKI's visit:

  • The Agreement on the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments;
  • The Merchant Shipping Agreement;
  • The Agreement in the field of Education, Training and Higher Education; and
  • The Agreement in the field of Arts and Culture.

The two Heads of State welcomed the signing of these Agreements and expressed the hope that they will facilitate and increase the volume of two way trade and investment and contribute towards the intensification of cooperation in the fields of education, arts and culture.

At the sub-regional level, Presidents THABO MBEKI and OMAR BONGO ONDIMBA expressed satisfaction with the transitional process in the Central African Republic, which led to successful elections. They emphasised that this positive development has laid a firm foundation for the restoration of constitutionality and legitimacy in this sister country.

President MBEKI welcomed the support that the Heads of State of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEMAC) are lending to the transitional process currently underway in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The two Heads of State invited all parties involved in the process to spare no effort in maintaining a climate of peace and stability in this brother country.

With regard to the situation in Burundi, the two Presidents expressed their satisfaction with the process of building national reconciliation and national unity, and the restoration of democracy. They took note of the free and fair, transparent and peaceful manner in which the legislative and municipal elections were conducted. They also noted that these conditions are favourable for the holding of Presidential elections.

Concerning the situation in Cote d'Ivoire, President OMAR BONGO ONDIMBA congratulated President MBEKI for his mediation efforts which resulted in the signing of the Pretoria Agreement on 6 April 2005 and the Pretoria Declaration on 29 June 2005, which has paved the way for the implementation of the disarmament process and the holding of the forthcoming Presidential elections. The two Presidents called on all parties to the Ivorian conflict to implement all existing commitments.

In reviewing the global situation, Presidents BONGO ONDIMBA and MBEKI expressed their satisfaction with the outcomes of the recent G8 Summit held in Gleneagles, Scotland. In particular they welcomed the cancellation of 100% of the multilateral debts of Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), the increase in aid, and measures to be taken by developed countries in assisting African countries to combat malaria.

They, however urged the international community to continue tackling the main obstacles to development such as the granting of agricultural subsidies to farmers in developed countries, market access for products from, poor countries and foreign direct investment. In this regard, they stressed the need to place the Doha Development Round at the centre of the global trade agenda.

With regards to the reform of the UN, the two Heads of State reaffirmed their determination to work for the successful implementation of the AU Declaration on the Reform of the United Nations.

Presidents THABO MBEKI and EL HADJ OMAR BONGO ONDIMBA expressed their deep concern at the renewed violence in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. They called on the two Parties to show restraint and use dialogue, as the only answer to attaining a durable and peaceful settlement to the Middle East crisis.

The two Heads of States expressed their profound sympathy with the governments and people of Egypt and England following the recent spate of bombings in both the resort city of Sharm El Sheihk and the city of London. They also deplored the assassination of two Algerian diplomats in Baghdad recently.

Presidents THABO MBEKI and EL HADJ OMAR BONGO ONDIMBA also expressed deep shock on the sad news of the untimely death of Mr John GARANG, Vice President of the Republic of Sudan who died in an airplane crash. They called on all parties to exercise maximum restraint during this difficult period and forge ahead with the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

They also conveyed their most sincere sympathy to the government and peoples of Saudi Arabia on the sad passing away of His Majesty KING FAHD.

At the end of his stay, President THABO MBEKI expressed his gratitude to the Head of State, the Government and People of Gabon for the warm, cordial welcome and hospitality extended to him and his delegation.

His Excellency President THABO MBEKI extended an invitation for President OMAR BONGO ONDIMBA to pay an official visit to South Africa. The Head of State of Gabon accepted the invitation, the date of which will be fixed through diplomatic channels.

Done in Libreville, on 3 August 2005.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

4 August 2005

 



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