Speech by Deputy President, Jacob Zuma,
at the Official Dinner hosted by his Excellency Prime
Minister Adrian Nastase of Bucharest, Romania, 15 September
Your Excellency, Prime Minister Nastase,
Your Excellencies Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Your Excellency the South African Ambassador to Romania,
My delegation and I feel greatly honoured to have been
invited by His Excellency Prime Minister Adrian Nastase
to visit Romania. We have been deeply moved by the warmth
of our welcome to Romania and this beautiful city, Bucharest.
We are also privileged to convey to His Excellency
President Iliescu and to you Mr Prime Minister, the
government and the people of Romania, warm greetings
and the best wishes of our own government and people.
Our relations are based on common values, shared interests
and sentiments of human solidarity that are mutually
beneficial for co-operation. Since the advent of democracy
in our country and after the establishment of diplomatic
relations in 1991, bilateral relations between our countries
have strengthened steadily over the years.
My delegation and I share the hope that our visit to
Romania will result in the deepening of these already
warm relations. We are more confident of this, following
our discussions earlier today, which indicated a convergence
of ideas on many issues.
I was pleased that we could broaden the existing legal
framework between our countries with the signing of
an Agreement on Science and Technology and Technical
Co-operation as well as a Memorandum of Understanding
on the Statute of the Joint Commission for Economic
and Technical Co-operation to complement the already
existing Agreements between our two countries.
As an influential country in Central Europe and one
of the candidates for European Union membership in the
near future, Romania is a valuable partner for co-operation
inter alia in the fields of science and technology and
trade, which in the wider context, will also benefit
the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(NEPAD) and the African Union (AU).
Your Excellency, while economic relations between Romania
and South Africa have increased over the years, these
still does not commensurate with the level of our political
It is my understanding that Romania has posted substantial
economic growth over the past few years and provides
opportunities for mutual bilateral trade and investment,
especially in the areas of infrastructure development,
tourism, science and technology and many others. I am
convinced that this presents us with the opportunity
to also take our economic relations to a higher level.
I can assure you that with what we have seen so far
during our visit, my colleagues will take the message
home that South Africa should increase its efforts in
the economic field.
I was privileged to be received this afternoon by His
Excellency, President Ion Iliescu for a courtesy call.
During this occasion, I handed a message from President
Thabo Mbeki to President Iliescu, which emphasizes the
good relations between our two countries and our view
that there is a wide scope for further expansion of
Our two countries have much in common as they not only
share with each other the burden of poverty and underdevelopment,
but also the aspirations of creating a better life for
the people of our two countries.
This is a daunting challenge facing us in the immediate
future, but one, which will eventually bring great rewards.
As you, Mr Prime Minister, and the honoured guests
are aware, our continent, Africa, has set itself the
critically important task to achieve its renaissance.
In this context we have boldly said that we will, as
a result of our actions, make the 21st Century an African
Century. You are as aware as we are of the enormity
of the task we face in this regard. In a real sense,
we have to address the legacy of a painful and tragic
African history that is half-a-millennium old.
To address this legacy successfully we must, among
other things, focus on the fundamental issue of the
affirmation of our capacity as Africans to determine
our own destiny.
What we do from day to day must, in practice, confirm
our confidence in ourselves as the makers of our own
history. For these reasons, our continent made the correct
decision that we must ourselves set the agenda for the
transformation and renewal of Africa. This has resulted
in the establishment of the African Union and the adoption
of its programme for social and economic development,
the New Partnership for Africa's Development.
The African continent in the past months took two important
steps forward in the struggle to attend to the two related
questions of democracy and peace.
Following its ratification by the requisite number
of African countries, the Protocol authorising the establishment
of the Pan-African Parliament has come into force. This
is of great importance to the continuing effort to entrench
democracy and human rights in Africa.
I make these comments about Africa, Mr Prime Minister,
because we deeply appreciate your country's passionate
and selfless efforts and commitment in the past, to
work with us to assist us in eventually achieving a
peaceful and just South Africa. We wish to convey to
yourself and to the government and people of Romania
our heartfelt gratitude for the assistance we received
in the struggle against apartheid.
That commitment gives us enormous strength as we confront
the obstacles we must overcome to achieve the humane
goals we share with you. In this context I must also
convey our sincere appreciation for your country's efforts
in participating in peacekeeping missions to help to
bring peace to the continent.
Through you, Mr Prime Minister, I would like to convey
the message to the people of Romania that we are determined
to ensure that South Africa develops as a non-racial,
non-sexist, peaceful and prosperous democracy. We will
also contribute whatever we can to help ensure that
Africa outgrows her misery. We will do what we have
to, to ensure that we do not disappoint the expectations
of the international community with regard to these
In conclusion, Mr Prime Minister, South Africa celebrated
its first ten years of democracy earlier by the smooth
running of the April 2004 general elections and the
high degree of voter turnout. The democratic system
in Romania is also firmly established and operating
I wish your country well with the upcoming Presidential
and parliamentary elections in November 2004. Last but
not least I wish to congratulate Romania on its successes
during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens where you finished
among the top 15 medal winners in the world. A truly
Let us please rise and drink a toast to the continued
good health of Prime Minister Nastase, to the excellent
relations between our two countries, and to friendship
between the peoples of South Africa and Romania. To
Issued by: The Presidency
15 September 2004