Remarks by President Thabo Mbeki to Designated Heads of Mission during Credentials Ceremony, Presidential Guesthouse, Pretoria, 18 September 2008

Remarks by President Mbeki to Ambassador-Designate of the Ukraine

Thank you very much Ambassador and a very warm welcome indeed. I think the last time I was in Kiev was in 1987 – lots of changes since then. But I must say Ambassador we continue to remember very well the support of the people of Ukraine during our own struggle for liberation and indeed that is the reason I was in Kiev that year.  We very much appreciate that support and believe that it established strong base for the strengthening of bilateral relations to which you have referred.

I think that familiarity, that connection between us should help to facilitate the process of the strengthening of these bilateral relations. It is something that we must work on and I am very glad that you are here because I am quiet certain that your presence here Ambassador will help us with regard to speeding up that process of strengthening of bilateral relations.

I must also express our thanks for the support of the Ukraine with regard to responding to these many African challenges – you referred to some of that. We are very pleased that we can always count on the Ukraine to be on our side; to help us to address these problems.

Ambassador you are most welcome and I do wish you a successful stay. I am sure that all of us will work as close as possible with you to achieve these common objectives.


Remarks by President Mbeki to Ambassador-Designate of the Republic of Burundi

Ambassador welcome and many thanks indeed for the greetings from President Kurunziza.

We have been very pleased with the progress that Burundi has made to address the question that you were talking about of peace and stability in Burundi and assure you, Ambassador, that we will continue to work together on this because it is important also for us that Burundi should develop in these conditions of peace and stability.

As you would know Ambassador, we have also been discussing with President Nkurunziza the challenges of development and that is a matter that we will have to continue to attend to, including encouraging the countries that have made commitments with regard to assisting Burundi – the donor countries – to work with them to make sure that they meet the commitments that they made because indeed after so many years of conflict the people do expect a peace dividend. Now that peace has come the country must develop and address all of these many challenges that it faces. In that regard Ambassador I would like to assure you that we will continue to work very closely with the government of Burundi so that together we can see to do that would assist in that process of development.

But otherwise you are most welcome Ambassador and I hope you have a successful stay. Welcome.

Remarks by President Mbeki to High Commissioner-Designate of the Kingdom of Lesotho

High Commissioner, Sir you are most welcome. You know that you are at home here. Indeed I would like to agree with you High Commissioner about the matters that you have raised that we need to attend to, to speed up the implementation of that free movement of people – that is indeed important. But of course a whole range of other matters High Commissioner, as you know in terms of our bilateral relations that we have to speed up the Transfrontier cooperation and so on; matters that have to do with the development of tourism on both sides; transport systems and all of that.

So clearly we have to focus on those matters and indeed you are quiet correct High Commissioner that the signing of the conclusion of the SADC Free Trade Area –indeed opens up possibilities for us to be able to further intensify the economic cooperation between our two countries, which we shall have to do.

But I must also express our appreciation High Commissioner of the close cooperation that exists between the government of Lesotho and the government of South Africa on many questions. As you know we are regularly in contact with the Prime Minister and work together very closely on all issues including the different challenges that we face on the African continent. We appreciate that very much and we would want to continue to deepen that relationship.

But otherwise High Commissioner you are most welcome and let us work together to address all of these challenges between us. Thanks a lot.

Remarks by President Mbeki to Ambassador-Designate of the Slovak Republic

Ambassador and Madam welcome, a very warm welcome indeed. I am very glad that you are here and indeed also want to confirm Ambassador that we also are very keen to strengthen the bilateral relations between the Slovak Republic and ourselves.

This is a very old relationship as you know. The Slovak people stood very close to us during the period of our struggle for liberation and I think that among the countries of Eastern Europe, the peoples of Eastern Europe, and within Czechoslovakia the Slovaks were indeed the ones that were very close to us. So that gave us a firm foundation Ambassador for us to be able to then build this bilateral relationship.

We should look practically at what it is that we can do in all of those areas that you mentioned ambassador because I think there are many practical things we can do; many possibilities we can use to strengthen these bilateral relations. So it is going to require that closer attention.

But I must also express our appreciation to what you have just said concerning the rest of Africa because that commitment by the Slovak Republic to the rest of this continent is very important to us because being part of this continent it is quiet clear that whatever successes that South Africa can achieve, you cannot achieve those successes and maintain them in a situation where you are surrounded by failing countries. So the point that you are making Ambassador about the Slovak Republic’s commitment to assist in this process of African Renaissance is very important; it is of great value to us.

But otherwise Ambassador and Madam, a very warm welcome indeed and I do hope you have a successful stay. Thanks.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

18 September 2008

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