Toast 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

A very warm welcome to your Majesties and your delegation.

As South Africans, we are very honoured by the presence of our Norwegian friends and we trust that our guests will have a memorable, valuable and enjoyable visit to our country.

South Africa is extremely fortunate that you have decided to visit our country for the second time.

Given the historical and excellent relations between South Africa and Norway, your presence here today amongst us is indeed significant because it affords us the opportunity to repeat again our congratulations and words of gratitude to your Majesties personally as well as to the people of Norway for your support and assistance to us during the struggle.

Your continuing, consistent contribution to arts and culture, science and technology and health projects amongst other activities in South Africa has empowered and uplifted the living standards of many of our people. These endeavours in South Africa have consolidated the sound relations between our two countries and underlined Norway’s commitment to development in Africa. Other priority areas and joint projects have also included joint peacekeeping and mutual engagement with African institutions.

The Norwegian business delegation that will interact with South African business people at the Business Forums in Cape Town and Johannesburg is an encouraging indication of firm efforts to increase trade and investment between our two countries.

In addition, we are greatly appreciative of the fruitful official discussions held this morning. They have effectively increased the avenues for strengthening relations between Norway and South Africa. These talks have allowed for discussions on trade and industry; higher education; science and technology and energy and development.

Norway is one of the few countries to reach the official United Nations target for ODA which is 0.7% of Gross National Project. This is an admirable achievement by the Norwegian Government and we are appreciative of this accomplishment as it contributes to the upliftment of the needy.

In conclusion, may the special friendship and goodwill between our two countries continue to flourish as we work towards achieving our united vision of creating a better world for all.

Your Majesties, distinguished guests, I would like to sincerely thank you for travelling so far to visit South Africa.

Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and join me in a toast to the good health and prosperity of His Majesty, King Harald V and Her Majesty, Queen Sonja, as well as the excellent relations and friendship between the peoples of Norway and South Africa.

May I propose a toast to His Majesty King Harald V, Her Majesty Queen Sonja and to the people of Norway.

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

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