Remarks by President Thabo Mbeki to designated Heads of Mission during Credentials Ceremony, Presidential Guesthouse, Pretoria, 08 August 2008

Remarks by President Mbeki to Ambassador Designate of the Dominican Republic

Ambassador and Madame welcome. I would like to agree with you Ambassador that indeed we should work at strengthening these bilateral relations between South Africa and the Dominican Republic in the areas that you have mentioned. I am quiet sure that your presence here will help to do that.

I must say that in addition to looking forward to strengthening relations with the Dominican Republic, we are also very interested in strengthening relations with the rest of the Caribbean and indeed we think that would mutually beneficial so we have to look at all those things in a practical manner, like increasing trade as well as looking at what other things we could do with regard to encouraging investment in both countries. But welcome Ambassador and Madame.

Remarks by President Mbeki to Ambassador Designate of the Republic of Korea

Ambassador and Madame welcome. I must say Ambassador we are very happy at the way relations between the Republic of Korea and South Africa have developed – we are very pleased indeed. But of course we are very conscious of the fact that we can do more.

I must express our sincere thanks, Ambassador, to the Republic of Korea for the assistance it is giving us with regard to a number of areas that include the training of skilled personnel within the context of our JIPSA programme.

We also appreciate the offer that you have made to assist us with regard to any matter we may raise that relates to the hosting of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, because of your own experience in this regard.

Our Minister of Public Enterprise visited Seoul, as well as our Deputy President, among other things to again draw on your experience to meet our energy challenges.

We try to follow, Ambassador, your own interaction with North Korea as well as the initiative that was taken by the six countries to engage North Korea on these matters of nuclear programme and so on and we are very supportive of that initiative.

You are most welcome Ambassador and you know that the doors of government here will be open to you so that we can work together to strengthen the very good relations that we have. You are welcome Ambassador.

Remarks by President Mbeki to Ambassador Designate of Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic.

Ambassador welcome, and thank you very much indeed for the greetings from President Abdelaziz.

You know Ambassador we continue to be very concerned about the need to find a resolution to the conflict about Western Sahara and indeed we would want to agree with you Ambassador fully that it is important to respect the resolutions of the African Union; of the Security Council and of the General Assembly of the United Nations on this matter.

We have hoped all the time and we continue to hope that all of us would speak about respect for international law; we would speak about the need for us to strengthen the multilateral bodies such as the United Nations and that all of us would act in a manner that respects the decisions of those bodies; and that of course includes the African Union.

So we will continue therefore, Ambassador, to follow on this matter and as you know we have in the past taken an initiative to touch with the Moroccan government to try and find ways of resolving this matter and even now we remain ready to do whatever we can to try and expedite a resolution of this matter. We indeed hope that the Security Council will live up to its own obligation; live up to its own decision to make sure that we move forward with this matter so that, as you say, the people of Western Sahara are then afforded the opportunity to hold a referendum so that they can take a decision about their future. But I would like to assure you of our own support within the context of all the decisions taken by the African continent and the rest of the world – of our own support of those positions and our own determination to contribute in which ever way we can to make sure that those resolutions are implemented.

But you are most welcome Ambassador.

Remarks by President Mbeki to Ambassador Designate of Lebanon.

I must indeed say, Ambassador, that we are very pleased that finally an agreement was reached to resolve the government (matter) in Lebanon; we thought that was very good.

I am aware that for some time Prime Minister Siniora had wanted to come here – it is something that we will have to follow on because indeed as you say, Ambassador, we have an old relationship with Lebanon and indeed we have an active Lebanese-South African population here which indeed is very much part of this process of the reconstruction of South Africa.

We are, as always Ambassador, very keenly interested to see what contribution we can make to the resolution of the problems of the Middle East, understanding very well that these are difficult issues but we really also believe that there should be peace and mutually beneficial cooperation among the countries of the Middle East.

We have been discussing the matter of opening an Embassy in Beirut. It is in my view Ambassador that it would be better for us to cover Lebanon from Beirut rather than from Damascus and I am quiet sure we will fix that to make sure that that happens because indeed South African Diplomatic presence in Beirut we believe would contribute to the strengthening of relations between ourselves and also giving us as South Africa an opportunity to see what we can all of us do to contribute to building this necessary climate of peace and stability in this important part of the world.

Otherwise Ambassador you are most welcome and we will work closely with you to see what we can do to achieve all of these results.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152


08 August 2008



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