Vice Chancellor Fischer
Ambassador Ganz
Ambassador Bengu
Members of the Commission
Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me to begin by thanking you Mr Vice Chancellor and all the delegates to the second Binational Commission for their hard work, enthusiasm and tenacity of the past two days. I was encouraged by the positive spirit that has marked the deliberations of the past two days.

Based on the reports received this morning, Mr Vice Chancellor, you will no doubt agree with me that the second meeting of our commission has been most constructive and geared to achieving tangible results. The progress achieved over the past two days is indeed encouraging.

It has laid a solid foundation for enhanced co-operation in future between our two countries in all the vital sectors covered by the Special Committees. In fact, these results illustrate the mutual solidarity and partnership in dealing with the challenges facing both countries in entering a new, but exciting globalised world.

In listening to the reports of the various Special Committees, I was struck by the practical, results-orientated and people-centered nature of the work programmes and proposed projects put on the table. The projects and programmes are clearly directed at the achievement of common goals inherent in the strategic partnership between our two countries.

At the conclusion of these two days of hard work, we can state without hesitation that we have recommitted ourselves to a common vision and objectives that auger well for future practical co-operation.

Based on the outcome of our deliberations, the Binational Commission has, indeed, proved to be a highly useful mechanism for the enhancement and management of the relations between our two countries. I therefore believe that the strategic partnership between our two countries has been reinforced and that at the close of this second meeting, we can look forward to the third round in Berlin in 2001 on an even stronger footing.

I would also like to thank you once again Mr Vice Chancellor, for visiting not only South Africa, but also other parts of the African continent. We wish to thank you and your officials for the constructive and wide-ranging discussions on bilateral relations, vital issues related to Africa and constructive co-operation in multilateral fora that also took place during your visit.

In fact, we look forward to pursuing these discussions with you and your officials, perhaps as early as this weekend and early next week as we prepare for the important Africa/Europe Summit in Cairo. South Africa regards this as a vital element in determining a future constructive relationship between Europe and Africa, based on equality and sustainability.

Your visit has contributed significantly towards the deepening of South Africa's friendship with Germany and will provide further impetus for even closer co-operation in future. South Africa values its friendship with Germany and it is comforting to know that we have you as a friend and partner in our quest to entrench our young democracy, attain economic growth, development and social progress.

Mr Vice Chancellor, I concur with your assessment of our relations as "a strategic partnership of hope". I wish you well for the remaining part of your stay in South Africa and we look forward to the next session of the Binational Commission in Berlin next year.

I thank you.

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa