Transcript of the Introductory Remarks by Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and South African Foreign Minister Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma at the beginning of the Bilateral Discussions between Cuba and South Africa, La Havana, Cuba, 25 August 2008

Minister Felipe Perez Roque: My sister, Minister Dlamini Zuma and your delegation welcome! I hope that you had a pleasant stay during the past few days in our country, Through this bilateral meeting today, I hope that we will strengthen the co- operation between our countries and look at the ways to give momentum to the relationship and encourage the political dialogue and co-operation between our two countries, and so again I would like to extend a most cordial welcome to you and your delegation to Cuba!

Minister Dlamini Zuma :

It's a pleasure to come back to Cuba!

We are very appreciative of the way our Ambassadors (Latin America and the Caribbean) have been hosted to meet and the way all the arrangements were facilitated. The contribution of the Cuban Foreign Ministry also within the discussions (Regional Heads of Mission Conference) is highly appreciated.

Now we are here for the official visit and I think the visit takes place at a very important conjuncture both national( Cuba) and in South Africa but also international, therefore it will make our discussions very important and  very critical, we will be able to share our views on continental issues, on our national bilateral and international issues and of course Cuba has led us very well in the Non Aligned Meeting over the past few years when Cuba was Chair, and Cuba is one of the leading countries in the NAM.

Cuba,'s diplomacy is very active everywhere in the multilateral arena, in New York, Geneva  etc's diplomacy is but more importantly of course in our own bilateral relations. We think they are at a very healthy level, but we think there is still a lot more to be done. Our Ambassadors have taken it higher and higher, but the potential has not been exhausted.

We also wish the Commandant well and our President salutes both President Raul and Fidel. You know that our people love Cuba and probably, it is the most visited country by our colleagues, now that we have introduced the Ambassadors , I am sure most of our Ambassadors but thank you for having us and looking after us very well and looking after our sister ( Ambassador Thenjiwe Mtintso)

For more information on the visit contact Nomfanelo Kota on + 27 82 459 3787

Issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs

c/o South African Embassy in Havana
La Havana

25 August 2008

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