Remarks from President Mbeki Comments to Designated Heads of Mission at Credentials Ceremony, Presidential Guesthouse, Pretoria, Tuesday 25 March 2008

Remarks by President Thabo Mbeki to High Commissioner Designate of Bangladesh

Thank you very much High Commissioner.

High Commissioner, I had intended to speak to the South African cricket team before they left for Bangladesh but they left earlier than I had expected because I wanted to say to them they did not do a good thing in Bangladesh.  They should at least have agreed that the Bangladesh cricket team should win at least one match.  But next time…

Welcome High Commissioner, Madame.

Indeed, as you indicated High Commissioner, we have also followed very closely the struggle that took place in your country, a very difficult and challenging struggle that took place.  You are quite correct then, in this respect, to draw this comparison between our two countries.

We are committed, High Commissioner, to do everything possible to strengthen these relations between our countries.  We are discussing this matter, as you know, with the government of Bangladesh to say we have to find these specific areas where we can actively co-operate and address these common challenges of underdevelopment and poverty.

You should know High Commissioner, that one of the inspirations on which we draw is the extraordinary project your government undertakes – I know of no other country that has handled this matter of extending micro-financing to the poor in a way that is undertaken in Bangladesh.  This experience would help us address this similar challenge in South Africa.

I am quite certain that there are many other things that we can learn from your country.

I hope we will continue to work on this matter of strengthening co-operation between our two countries because I am quite certain that there are many potential areas of co-operation.

But I must also really express my appreciation at the consistency with which Bangladesh has helped us address peace and security on our continent.  Bangladesh is one of the countries in the world, in terms of its readiness, to supply troops in order to help with this very very important objective.

So, welcome High Commissioner and I wish you a successful stay.

Remarks by President Thabo Mbeki to High Commissioner Designate of Cameroon

Welcome High Commissioner and thank you for the greetings from President Biya.

I must say High Commissioner, I have appreciated our co-operation with President Biya, particularly on issues that confront our continent even at the Summit meeting that took place in Accra.  We worked very closely to address the important issue of steps the continent should take to promote its unity.  I was very pleased indeed with the contribution of President Biya to that particular discussion and the outcome of the Summit.  We are off course, now working on practical steps to give effect to the Accra Declaration.

I am glad High Commissioner that you have mentioned the succession of agreements we have signed.  I think the big challenge we face is to implement these agreements to ensure that the level of co-operation between our two countries in all sorts of areas, measures up to the very good political relations that exist between our two countries.  There is much we need to do to give concrete form and expression to those agreements.

I must also say, High Commissioner, we have always been very pleased with the role the government has played in Central Africa – really contributing as an important player to the stability of the region.

Something that we are very interested in, and we might discuss this while you are here, is the preservation of the tropical rain forests in Cameroon.  This comes within the context of this concern we all have about climate change, global warming.  Off course, forests are very important with regard to the global climate.  The challenge that remains is to ensure that the forests are protected while everything necessary is done to assist in this preservation.  Indeed, this is something we will look at more closely because none of us want to see this great asset disappear.

You are most welcome High Commissioner.

You referred to the 2010 Soccer World Cup – let me make a prediction – the final will be between South Africa and Cameroon and I leave it up to you to guess who will win.

Welcome High Commissioner.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

25 March 2008

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