Closing Remarks by Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim: 3rd South Africa – Switzerland HLC, Bern, 15 March 2011

Your Excellency State Secretary, Mr Peter Maurer,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors Baerfuss and Johannes,
Ladies and gentlemen,

The 3rd High Level Consultations have been a further important milestone in the development of our bilateral relations. 

I wish to thank the various committees for the concise and valuable feedback given to us in the course of this plenary session. We are grateful to all participants for the dedication they have shown in their hard work to ensure the success of this meeting. 

Mr Maurer,

We wish to thank Switzerland for its on-going support on key issues that South Africa holds dear, particularly those that relate to the African Agenda and development.  Your tangible support for reconstruction and development projects in Africa – a special mention is the Trilateral Cooperation Agreement we have with the DRC – deserve special mention. I would also be amiss if i do not recognise your great contribution to the strengthening of the small claims courts in South Africa. These have been some tangible successes in this regard.

Science, technology and innovation are vital to the development of South Africa as well as the whole African continent. Bridging the digital divide is essential for the success of the African Agenda and Swiss support is pivotal.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Switzerland and South Africa hold common views on a broad range of international issues, including the central role of the UN in international affairs and the importance of reforming the UN. We respect international law and promote the resolution of conflict through diplomacy and negotiation. Both our nations make an important contribution to peacekeeping as well as post-conflict reconstruction and development.   We share the view that development – especially in Africa – needs to remain at the top of the international agenda.  We welcome the fact that these issues will continue to feature prominently in the work of the High Level Consultations in the next years.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As we conclude this meeting, we do so with a strong sense of optimism.  As our relations continue to grow in every area, the role of the HLC in providing strategic direction is likely to become more and more important. I am confident that all of you will live up to this challenge and renew your efforts – in the various committees - in support of this process.

Allow me a final word of thanks for the warm hospitality my delegation and I received; and for the wonderful atmosphere in which our various discussions have taken place. It has been a great pleasure, dear Colleague, to co-chair this meeting with you.

Thank you.

Issued by Department of International Relations and Cooperation

460 Soutpansberg Road

15 March 2011

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