Remarks from President Thabo Mbeki to designated Heads of Mission at Credentials Ceremony, Presidential Guesthouse, Pretoria, 27 June 2008

Remarks by President Mbeki to Ambassador Designate of the Union of Comoros

Welcome Ambassador. I must say, Ambassador, we appreciated the progress that the Union of Comoros has made towards its own unity and towards the establishment of a democratic system of government there. We have got many aspects, Ambassador, as you know to work together to address, and these other challenges in the Comoros; challenges of development to which you have referred. They are very important; they are very critical they have to do with improving the lives of the people in the Comoros and improving the lives of the people in South Africa. And so, Ambassador, we will and must do what we can with regard to the implementation of those agreements because indeed the democratic system itself, both in the Comoros and here, needs to be supported and sustained on the basis of really improving the lives of the people affected by them.  So, welcome Ambassador and indeed I hope that during your stay here you will assist both countries and governments to achieve those common objectives.


Remarks by President Mbeki to Ambassador Designate of Turkey 

Ambassador, most welcome.  Let me start by saying Ambassador that in the UEFA tournament which you are out of by now, I was supporting Turkey.  I was quite sure that Turkey was going to emerge as the champions, but Turkey has done well.

Indeed Ambassador we appreciated the visit by the Prime Minister when he came.  We have been very encouraged by the manner in which the relations between Turkey and South Africa have been going.  We think we are certainly moving in the right direction. For us, this is very important.  We want to do everything possible to look at ways by which we strengthen these bilateral links across the board.

I must say Ambassador all our people who have been visiting Turkey have spoken very strongly about the warmth with which they were received.  They can see and feel the enthusiasm for the strengthening of relations between the two countries.  This is certainly something we must continue to work upon.

The Foreign Minister of Syria came and visited us not so long ago and alerted us to what is going to happen.  I was very pleased when he told me that these talks between Israel and Syria will be hosted by Turkey.  We thought that this would be an important contribution by Turkey to help you to solve this problem in that part of the world, which has lasted for too long and cost too many lives.

It is a matter of instability not just in the Middle East, but everybody else in the world feels it.  So I really want to say thank you very much Ambassador that Turkey is hosting those talks.  We have been looking forward for movement on that track, among these various tracks in that region, of matters of conflict that do require resolution.

But otherwise Ambassador and Madame you are most welcome.  I’m sorry you come in the middle of our winter, it is a bit cold but it will warm up.

 Remarks by President Mbeki to High Commissioner Designate of Trinidad and Tobago

High Commissioner welcome.  I am very glad indeed that you mention the issue of CARICOM.  I’m saying that High Commissioner because indeed this is one of our great ambitions that we do indeed strengthen in an all-round way the relationship between ourselves and the CARICOM region.

We recognise the role that Trinidad and Tobago plays in CARICOM.  I’m mentioning this High Commissioner because there is still an outstanding matter that has been in discussion between us for quite some time.  This is the matter of air-links between ourselves and the Caribbean because of the importance of that, because of the movement of people and goods and so on.

It is something that needs to be sorted out.  Again in that respect High Commissioner, I must say that we are fully confident of the place that Trinidad and Tobago occupies even in that context.

At the more bilateral level, I’m glad that you mention this cooperation in the energy sector.  Some time back we had agreed with the Prime Minister Patrick Manning that this is one of the areas in which we do need to focus.

We will, as you know, be hosting this Summit of the Africa and the African Diaspora.  We really do hope that that would help us to strengthen these links between yourselves and ourselves, not as South Africa; I’m talking about all this region the African continent as a whole. 

It was very pleasing indeed that when the African Union decided that the Caribbean should be considered as this sixth region of the African Union, will make hopefully through this interaction via the Diaspora Conference would strengthen this to give it some concrete meaning.

We’ve been very.., as you would recall High Commissioner I attended the Summit meeting of CARICOM in Jamaica some years back.  Part of what we were discussing was how to handle this practical relationship.  For instance, people in the Bahamas were saying that they find that in some instances there are things that they could import cheaper from South Africa than they would access them in the United States, even despite the long distance.  These would still be cheaper.  It indicated to us some of the things that we may not have been sensitive to in terms of the things that could be done practically to build that in an effective manner this relationship.

I must also say High Commissioner that I was pleased when you mentioned this challenge of management of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society, because I think you are this much aware of our challenges here about that matter, as you would be of the challenges of Trinidad and Tobago with regards to the same question.

I’m very glad that we have in the past shared some experiences on this, because it’s an important thing.  Even the stability of a democratic system depends also on managing this aspect of social interaction properly.

We are very pleased indeed High Commissioner that you are here and that we have the relations that we have.  We will have to do whatever is necessary to give more effective meaning to these relations, both at the bilateral level between Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa and of course between CARICOM and the SADC region.  So, most welcome and have a successful stay.

Remarks by President Mbeki to Ambassador Designate of Nepal

Welcome Ambassador. Indeed we are very conscious, Ambassador, of the processes in which Nepal is currently engaged, as you indicated – the formation of the Federal Republic of Nepal.  I would like to take this opportunity to extend our best wishes to the government and people of Nepal in terms of carrying through what obviously is a historic transformation in Nepal. We are quiet confident that you will be able to handle this matter in the manner that it should be handled.

I am very pleased, Ambassador, that our own people have also interacted with the Nepalese people to assist in this process, as well as the presence of a few of our peacekeepers in Nepal. We are doing this because of the history of relations which we have; we are always very keenly interested to see Nepal succeed.

You are quiet correct – your reference Ambassador – to the role that Nepal played in those years against apartheid – that was a correct reference. During those years Nepal was a very close partner of ours in that struggle to end apartheid in our country. We valued that support and indeed it laid the basis for us to further strengthen these bilateral relations.

I have been informed that our own Ambassador to Nepal will be presenting letters in Kathmandu in the near future. This is to make sure that we establish the institutional basis for us to strengthen these relations. But otherwise I would like to reiterate our support for the processes change; the processes of political change in Nepal and we again reiterate that we are quiet confident that this matter will be handled in a manner that will restore stability and create conditions for Nepal to continue with its programme of socio-economic development.

We will try as much as we can, Ambassador, to go back with you as you respond to that challenge.

Again in that regard I would like to assure you that you will have the full cooperation of our government as you work here because we need to all the time find a way in which we can help each other.

You are most welcome Ambassador.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

27 June 2008


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