Closing Remarks by Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma at the 2004 SA-UK Bilateral Forum, Cape Town 25 - 26 August 2004

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
Distinguished Members of the UK and South African delegations
Ladies and Gentlemen:

We have reached the end of another meeting of our Bilateral Forum. Now it is time to part with the good friends we have made over the years and also to bid farewell to new acquaintances whom we may only have met at this year's meeting. But the ending itself of this meeting ought to be seen as the seeds of a new beginning.

As William Blake reminds us in his much-quoted lines from his Auguries of Innocence, it is our task as humanity:

"To see a World in a Grain of sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
and eternity in an hour."

It is this bold and brave outlook on the future of the world in which nothing is impossible and in which everything has potential to succeed that moves us to build common ties and to travel this road of friendship together. We share a history and a present since the demands of the present age call upon us to act decisively and yet wisely in the world.

For out of this gathering, possibilities emerge and are identified. Concrete projects that have been agreed upon will now see the light of day and this represents something wholly new that we can take to our people. This meeting also bears testimony to the continuation of existing plans that have been further sharpened and strengthened as a result of our discussions.

Within every discussion, there is the possibility that new times demand of us new actions. Thus, in our Forum, the seeds of a new beginning have also been planted and our task now is to see that they are nurtured so that they grow and flower.

Our Bilateral Forum ensures that we also share a sense of the future through exploring ideas that have bearing on the world at large. It is as part of our planning for this future that we agree to participate in common programmes that will be to the mutual benefits of our two nations.

I believe that our meeting this year has made solid progress and that there has been both an advance and an enhancement on what we have accomplished up until now.

Thank you all for your reports. I am very pleased that so much has been achieved.
For the first time, we have had meetings between our respective Ministers on matters of arts, culture and sport and they have made progress in a number of projects ands in developing links between our various industries.

Matters of trade, defence and health have received attention and here too agreement has been reached on concrete areas of co-operation.

As a result of these discussions, as South Africa and the United Kingdom, we can say with confidence that we share a view that the problems of poverty and underdevelopment in the world as well as the reality of conflicts and instability need a multilateral approach in thinking and indeed in implementation. For the sake of the children of Africa, of Europe and the world, let us intensify our efforts to address these problems and give them the attention they deserve.

I am pleased that our joint efforts will also be focused on improving Africa's position in the world. Your support in working towards more favourable trade relations through exploring ways to improve private sector participation in Africa's development is appreciated. This will assist in enabling African countries to be able to play a more meaningful and productive role in the world economy and to increase the quality and quantity of their exports and these will improve the lot of Africa's people.

Your commitment to furthering the cause of Africa within the EU is most welcome and a timely intervention, especially as regards assistance in strengthening African institutions.

I would like to extend my profound appreciation to all participants, from both South Africa and the UK and to thank you for your dedication in ensuring that this partnership achieves the objectives that we set out for it.

It is clear that we can look forward to a full joint programme in the year ahead, and that there are many areas in which we have a common agenda to take forward. It must be emphasised, once more, that if the Forum is to realise its full potential, then the two High Commissions and all relevant Departments should do the necessary ground work to follow up on all the possibilities for co-operation identified during our meeting.

In conclusion, I would like to remind us all that this meeting is as much about tangible outcomes as it is about forging common dreams together. Let us not lose sight of the fact that humanity does dream and that it is the innocence of these dreams that matters despite the hardships around us, the dreams of those who have not given up, but dare to hope and still believe that they can do so much more than they are now in improving the human condition and in understanding that our task as people of this world is to arrive at a common destination.

It is my hope that there will be more continuity in participation at future Forums than there has been in the past.

Let us look forward to next year's UK-SA Bilateral Forum and to hear what has been done to build upon the work of yesterday and today and to plant the seeds of a new tomorrow.

Let us continue to build common dreams together.

I thank you.

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa