Toast Remarks by Deputy President Jacob Zuma on the Occasion of the Official Dinner held in his Honour by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland Warsaw, Poland,13 September 2004

Your Excellency, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland,
Prof Belka
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
South African Ambassador to the Republic of Poland
Polish Ambassador-Designate to the Republic of South Africa
Distinguished Guests,

Thank you very much for hosting us in this beautiful country, which has a very special place in the history of the world.

We have been touched by the warmth and friendship with which we have been received, and this indicates the warm nature of the relations between our two countries.

Our bilateral discussions earlier today have confirmed to us that Poland is indeed a key partner in our mission of rebuilding our country and the African continent, and of making the world a better place.

I also had the privilege of meeting with the President of the Republic of Poland, His Excellency Mr Aleksander (Kwasniewski) and was humbled by his high regard for South Africa. Our relations are indeed on a very sound footing.

Mr Prime Minister, we believe its is quite a privilege for us to visit Warsaw during such an important year. We are here just a few weeks after the observance of the 60th anniversary of the tragic Warsaw Uprising, in which South African pilots also played a role, as they intervened to attempt to save the lives of some of the victims.
The Uprising as well as the death of several millions of people during the Second World War in this country, half of them Jews, remains a reminder to us of how dangerous bigotry ca be in the world. We know that to many people, particularly in Europe, the Second World War brings back specific memories because the impact of the war was felt most here than in other parts of the world.

We congratulate your country on the manner in which the Polish people have always risen above conflict and periodic turbulence, to bring about peace and stability and the rebuild this country. Please accept the good wishes of the people and government of the Republic of South Africa on the anniversary of the Uprising.

Mr Prime Minister, as Poland marks 60 years of the Warsaw Uprising this year, South Africa is celebrating 10 years of freedom and democracy.

On behalf of the people of South Africa, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for the solidarity and support we received from Poland during the struggle against apartheid.

Mr Prime Minister, as we all know, the Second World War was followed by a long period of the cold war, which had a direct impact on African countries.

We have since begun to work tirelessly to place Africa on the path towards sustainable development.

In doing this, we need the support of partners such as yourselves. Let me therefore use this occasion to once again congratulate Poland on your country's accession to the European Union in May this year.

We also welcome the fact that as a new member of the EU, Poland pledged readiness to become involved in the existing mechanism of the EU co-operation with Africa.

We also greatly appreciate your role in supporting the efforts of the United Nations, EU and African Union in promoting the peaceful solution of conflicts in Africa and the consolidation of peace.

The quest for peace and stability is a priority for our continent and we welcome every kind of assistance and support we can obtain.
On economic co-operation, I met members of the Polish Chamber of Commerce earlier today. We believe there are many opportunities for developing further contacts between African and Polish enterprises, within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

The Polish business community needs to explore these opportunities, and our government will be there to assist where we can, through the relevant departments.

Mr Prime minister, we thank your for inviting us and hosting us in your country. We believe that there is a lot that we can do together for mutual benefit, and are convinced that our relations can only go from strength to strength after this visit.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I invite you to rise and join me in a toast to deeper and stronger relations between the Government and people of the Republic of South Africa, and the Government and people of the Republic of Poland!

Cheers, Jingkuye!

Issued by: The Presidency
13 September 2004

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