Closing Remarks by His Excellency, President J G Zuma on the Official State Visit by their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja of the Kingdom of Norway, 24 November 2009

Your Majesty
Your Excellencies, Ministers and Ambassadors,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and gentlemen

The strength and warmth of our relations have become evident during our meeting and discussions today. We can attribute this excellent partnership to the strong bonds of friendship that were forged many years ago between our two nations during the struggle against apartheid. So ours is indeed a rich history or partnership and co-operation.

I was honoured to be afforded an opportunity to outline my government’s priorities, Your Majesty, and I hope you have a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of my country.

Your Majesty, I am glad that you will not confine your visit to our capital Tshwane only, but you will also visit the fairest Cape.  I’m sure His Majesty will be able to see the developments in the country that the democratically-elected governments have managed to achieve, since His Majesty’s last visit eleven years ago.  You may even indulge in your passion for sailing while in the Cape. I must request you, Your Majesty, to assist me in urging our governments to continue implementing the agreements we have already signed, as they contribute to our excellent bilateral relations and the fostering of strong bonds of friendship among our people.

Our two countries face challenges from the global recession, although at different levels or scales, and it is important that we work together to ensure that we overcome them and emerge strong and resolute.   Of equal importance are challenges and threats we all face because of global warming or climate change, as some call it. I’m of the view that we must co-operate, in this regard, as we approach COP15 in Copenhagen in December.  The annual Nordic-African Foreign Ministers meeting is already seized with this matter.

It is imperative that the people of Norway continue to stand side-by-side with South Africans, for the upliftment of people of South Africa, as well as in building bridges for peace and development.  I am excited about our relations and I’m looking forward to many more years of fruitful cooperation and the continuation of our partnership.  Our people are ready to welcome the Norwegians who attend the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and are grateful to the contribution which you have made to make it eco-friendly.

Your Majesty

Our talks have not finished as we will continue them tonight over dinner as well as in other engagements you will have with us as your State Visit continues over the coming days.

Thank you. Our meeting is adjourned.

Issued by Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag x152
24 November 2009

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