Joint Communiqué of the Official Visit to the Republic of the Sudan by His Excellency President Thabo Mbeki, 30 December 2004 - 02 January 2005

1. At the invitation of H.E. President Omer Hassan Ahmed Al Beshir of the Republic of the Sudan, H.E. President Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki of the Republic of South
Africa paid an official visit to the Republic of the Sudan from 30 December 2004 to 02 January 2005.

2. President Mbeki was accompanied by the First Lady, Mrs Z Mbeki; H.E. NC Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Foreign Affairs; H.E. MGP Lekota, Minister of Defence; H.E. MBM Mpahlwa, Minister of Trade and Industry; H.E. L Xingwana, Deputy Minister of Minerals and Energy; a high level delegation of officials and businessmen.

3. President Mbeki and his delegation were met by H.E. President Al Beshir, Cabinet Ministers and Government officials, on arrival at the Khartoum International Airport.

4. During the visit, H.E. President Mbeki held bilateral talks with his counterpart, H.E. President Al Beshir. Issues discussed include bilateral political and economic relations between South Africa and the Sudan, the work of the AU Committee on the Post-Conflict Reconstruction of Sudan, chaired by South Africa, as well as African, regional and international issues of mutual interest. The two Heads of State also held a plenary meeting in which Ministers of both sides participated. The talks were conducted in a cordial atmosphere.

5. With regards to bilateral relations, the two sides expressed their determination to expand and consolidate relations between the two countries, particularly in the political, economic, cultural, scientific and technical fields. To that effect, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Government of the Republic of the Sudan on Political Consultations and Co-operation. Among other issues covered by the above-mentioned Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), is co-operation in international and regional issues of mutual concern, as well as co-ordination on matters of mutual concern within the framework of regional and international organisations of which both countries are members. The two Leaders further agreed to encourage co-operation in the field of oil exploration.

6. H.E. President Al Beshir briefed President Mbeki on the progress made in the Naivasha (Kenya) peace process between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), the situation in Darfur and the related peace negotiations held in Abuja, Nigeria and N'djamena.

7. At the invitation of H.E. President Al Beshir, President Mbeki on 31 December 2004 travelled to Naivasha, Kenya to witness the signing of the Protocol on Implementation Modalities and the Permanent Cease-fire Agreement between the GoS and the SPLM, which paves the way for the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement on 9 January 2005.

8. In welcoming the signing of the agreement, President Al Beshir said that the peace agreement signed concludes Sudan's independence of 1956, which had been incomplete because of the war in the South. He added that "our oath with the Sudanese people is to bring stability and security all over the country and today we have delivered on our promise. We will also work for peace in Darfur."

9. President Mbeki congratulated all the parties, particularly Vice President Taha, Dr Garang and the IGAD countries for having successfully concluded the peace agreement that brings to an end Africa's longest running civil war. President Mbeki indicated that South Africa, as Chair of the AU Committee on the Post-conflict Reconstruction Process of the Sudan would work with other African countries and the international community towards the re-building and the development of the Sudan. In this regard, he emphasised the need to urgently attend to Sudan's pressing socio-economic challenges, such as education, health and housing.

10. On the completion of the signing of the peace instruments both President Al Beshir and President Mbeki returned to the Sudan, where President Mbeki continued with the official visit.

11. During the visit, President Mbeki and part of his delegation paid a visit to El Fashir, North Darfur State and met with the State Governor, representatives of international humanitarian organisations operating in that region, the Force Commander of the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS), members of the AU Cease-fire Commission (CFC) including the SANDF component, the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) of the AU CFC. President Mbeki also took a tour to the Abu Shouk camp of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and had the opportunity to interact with the IDPs of that camp.

12. While in El Fashir, President Mbeki observed that there are three critical issues that need to be addressed in order to contribute to the solution of the conflict in Darfur. These include:

a. Strengthening of the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) to ensure that the Mission effectively discharges its mandate and to ensure the protection of civilians;

b. A resolution of the political problems through the successful conclusion of the peace negotiations in Abuja, Nigeria with the aim of finding a lasting solution to the conflict; and

c. Ensuring that there are no violations of the cease-fire agreement.

13. On 1 January 2005, President Al Beshir and President Mbeki addressed the Special Sitting of the National Assembly on the occasion of the 49th anniversary of the Independence Day celebrations, which was telecast live to the Sudanese Nation. In his address, President Mbeki drew parallels between South Africa's struggle for liberation and Sudan's fight for independence and stressed the need for both countries to work together in ensuring that from the ashes of the divisions of the past based on race, religion, ethnicity, culture we build inclusive societies. In his speech, President Al Beshir announced that in January 2006 the AU Summit will be held in Sudan to coincide with the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Independence Day celebrations of Sudan.

14. President Al Beshir awarded President Mbeki the Sudan's Insignia of Honour in recognition of his role in resolving conflicts and working for development in the Continent. President Mbeki was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in African Studies by the African International University of Sudan. He also presented a lecture on the challenges facing the African intelligentsia.

15. While in Sudan, President Mbeki had an opportunity to inaugurate the South African Embassy in Khartoum, which was established in January 2004.

16. The South African Business delegation accompanying the President held bilateral consultations and exchanged information with their Sudanese counterparts. The Business delegation together with the Minister of Trade and Industry and the Deputy Minister of Minerals and Energy, was also briefed on the investment opportunities in the Republic of the Sudan.

17. At the end of the visit, President Mbeki expressed his gratitude to President Al Beshir, to the Government and the people of the Sudan for the brotherly warm welcome and hospitality extended to him and his delegation. He extended an invitation to President Al Beshir to visit the Republic of South Africa.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa at 082 990 4853
Department of Foreign Affairs
P/Bag X 152
2 January 2005


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