Introductory Remarks by Minister Dlamini Zuma at the beginning of the meeting with Cuban Minister of Foreign Investments and Economic Cooperation, Ms Marta Lomas Morales, Tuesday, 26 August 2008, La Havana, Cuba

Minister Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma : I was very happy when Ambassador Mtintso told me that besides our meeting with our Regional Ambassadors

( Regional Heads of Mission Conference) and besides our meeting with Foreign Minister, Felipe Roquez we were also going to meet with you, because at the beginning we were not sure that we were going to have this opportunity with yourself. But,also it is very good that our experts are meeting to give us a rundown of where everything is, so that if there's anything we can do to accelerate or to unblock any problem, we do that.

I also agree with you Minister, that there has been advances since our last meeting in Cape Town, but still there is a lot of potential and possibilities for co-operation that we have not tapped, but i think it's good to consolidate what we have started and then increase step by step.

But obviously as you know, Cuba and South Africa have a very close historic relationship. The South African population is very keen to know what is happening in Cuba.It's one of the countries that is very far in terms of distance, but it is very close to South African hearts. Even when I was talking to our President about coming here, he said Oh! lucky you, you are going to Cuba!

Our Ambassadors also had a very good meeting and a good time, because we were meeting all our Ambassadors in the region. The Cuban Foreign Affairs Ministry also came to give us a perspective on regional developments, so we had a very succesful meeting and good discussions. In our meeting with Minister Felipe Perez Roque we also had very good discussions both on bilateral, regional and global issues.

So all in all, we are very happy with the visit and I look forward to the discussions with yourself.

Minister Marta Lomas Morales: The South African Ambassador to Cuba ( Amb. Mtintso) have done an excellent job in Cuba and we appreciate her efforts very well. We do not know if she is the South African Ambassador to Cuba or Cuban Ambassador ( laughter) , but I know she does not say much about her achievements, but she has done very well here, and is very respected by the African Ambassadors here. We wish that she can stay with us for longer, but Minister, you are welcome!

Issued by Nomfanelo Kota on + 27 82 459 3787

Issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs
South African Embassy
La Havana, Cuba

26 August 2008

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