President Thabo Mbeki to attend Inauguration of President Kabila

Pretoria - South African President Thabo Mbeki will on Wednesday 6 December 2006 join the Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan and other international partners for the inauguration of President Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

President Thabo Mbeki will attend this inauguration within the context of South Africa's priority to consolidate the African agenda by, among others, promoting post-conflict reconstruction and development initiatives.

President Mbeki on Friday 1 December 2006 said, "We salute the various formations and the leaders who guided the DRC through its transition, weathering many storms, including continuing armed violence, to the point the country has now reached, when it can proudly and justly claim its place as one of the largest democracies on our continent.

"We must salute the United Nations which has played and continues to play a critical role in the various processes that have enabled the Congolese people to make history, standing tall today as a messenger of hope, communicating the message that Africa is firmly on its way towards its rebirth.

"What the people of the DRC have done communicates a message of a bright future for all their neighbours, and the imperative to seize the moment, to build a new neighbourhood of friendship and shared prosperity for the peoples of the DRC on the one hand, and those of the Republic of Congo and Angola, Zambia and Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda, Uganda, Sudan and the Central African Republic, on the other.

"Our warmest congratulations go to the Congolese masses. Despite the painful disappointments of many decades, these great masses did not lose confidence in the capacity of their nation to pull itself out of the abyss.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

5 December 2006

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