Opening remarks by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane at 8th session of the South African-Egyptian Bilateral Commission 17-19 March 2010, Pretoria
Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit
Ladies and gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this 8th Session of the South African-Egyptian Joint Bilateral Commission (JBC). I would like to extend a special welcome to my brother and colleague H.E Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and his delegation. I trust that you had a good rest and enjoyed a true South African hospitality. Minister, may I also take this opportunity to wish President Hosni Mubarak a speedy recovery.
As we begin this milestone of our bilateral cooperation, South Africa is standing ready to welcome the world to the FIFA World Cup games that will remain a shining beacon for the African continent. We regret that the African Champions did not qualify for these games. However, we still remain proud of the Egyptian team. South Africa stands ready to make the continent proud as this remains an African event, and we know that Egypt is behind us.
The historic relations between South Africa and Egypt have never been stronger, as we realise our objectives since the 7th Session of the JBC. We are confident that in this Session we will hear positive progress made in the respective areas of cooperation including: Science and Technology, Energy, Minerals, Public Service, Agriculture, Arts and Culture, ICT, Tourism, Environment.
I am confident that this Session will receive positive reports on progress made regarding the trade opportunities in our respective countries that address the trade imbalances. This progress will culminate in further cementing our relations during President Jacob Zuma’s State Visit to the Arab Republic of Egypt during October 2010.
South Africa and Egypt have individually and jointly made tremendous contributions in advancing interests of the African continent. However, more challenges still remain to ensure the realisation of the African agenda through our engagement in the African Union (AU) and NEPAD, Non Alligned Movement (NAM), Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), African Ministers Committee on Science and Technology (AMCOST) and the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) – among others. We should both endeavour to ensure a collective benefit for sustainable development in the continent.
We should both strive for the strengthening of our regional economic institutions to advance the African agenda. Development of infrastructure and fruitful utilisation of resources in our respective regions should be focused in addressing the plight of the poor and the vulnerable who must remain our focus in our developmental projects.
Our efforts in the enhancement of peace and security in the continent are beginning to bear fruits in Sudan – for example. South Africa supports Egypt’s initiative to host the International Donors Conference for the Reconstruction and Development of Darfur.
We also commend Egypt’s unwavering efforts in facilitating peace talks among the Palestinian parties. However, together we need to double our efforts in putting pressure on the international community, to secure peace for the Palestinian people so that they too could have the benefits of the freedoms that we all enjoy.
Minister Aboul Gheit
In conclusion, I hope that resolutions made from the senior official’s deliberations in the past two days will further strengthen and enhance the bilateral relations between our two countries.
For more information contact Mr Kgomotso Saul Molobi on 082 940 1647.
Issued by Department of International Relations and Cooperation
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
19 March 2010