Toast by Deputy President Jacob Zuma,
at the Official Dinner hosted in honour of Vice President
Angel Marin, 2 December 2004
Your Excellency, Vice President Marin,
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Let me once again, extend our warmest welcome to you
Excellency Mr Vice President, and your delegation in
It is an honour for us to host you, especially given
the deep historical relations between our two countries.
I recall with fond memories my visit to Bulgaria in
September 2000, the constructive discussion we had in
Sofia and the pleasant time we spent in the historic
city of Plovdiv. That visit served to further cement
the friendship and comradeship between our two nations.
Your Excellency, the challenges that face the world,
such as international security and the eradication of
poverty, put pressure on us to double our efforts to
achieve our goals, at a bilateral as well as multilateral
South Africa and Bulgaria have much in common as the
two countries not only share the burden of poverty and
underdevelopment, but also the aspirations of creating
a better life for our people.
This is a daunting challenge facing us in the immediate
future, but one that will eventually bring great rewards.
As you, Mr Vice President, and the honoured guests
are aware, our continent, Africa has set itself the
critically important task to achieve its renaissance.
In the real sense, we have to address the legacy of
a painful and tragic African history that is half-a-millennium
old. For these reasons, we decided as Africans that
we must set the agenda for the transformation and renewal
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 and a host of other organs of the AU.
With regards to bilateral co-operation, Your Excellency,
we are certainly making progress in enhancing economic
linkages as well as people to people co-operation between
our two countries.
I was pleased that we could broaden the existing legal
framework between our countries with the signing of
A Memorandum of Understanding on Police Co-operation;
an Agreement on Co-operation on Health Care and Medical
Science; an Agreement on Co-operation in the Fields
of Culture and Arts and an Agreement on Co-operation
in the Field of Sport and Recreation were signed.
At the same time, both our countries have ratified
the Convention on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and
the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes
As a strategic and influential country in Central Europe
and one of the candidates for European Union membership
in the near future, we regard Bulgaria as a valuable
partner for co-operation in all fields which in a wider
context; will also benefit the objectives of the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the
In conclusion, Your Excellency, South Africa is celebrating
its ten years of democracy this year.
In celebrating our freedom, we are mindful of the fact
that our freedom was made possible not only by the sacrifices
of South Africans, but by millions of ordinary men and
women of the world.
On this occasion it is appropriate to reflect on Bulgaria's
role in the decolonisation of African countries, when
it supported the liberation movements during Africa's
struggle against colonialism, imperialism and apartheid.
I make these comments because we deeply appreciated
your country's passionate and selfless efforts and commitment
in the past to work with us to assist us in eventually
achieving our liberation.
May I invite you, Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,
to rise and join me in a toast to the good health of
our two Presidents, and to growing ties and friendship
between South Africa and Bulgaria.
I thank you.
Enquiries: Lakela Kaunda
Cell: 082 7822575
Cell: 082 7819332
Issued by: The Presidency
2 December 2004