Welcoming Remarks by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at the bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Pretoria, 04 October 2011.
Your Excellency, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Your Delegation;
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to South Africa on your second official visit.
The frequency of these high level visits serve as proof of the growing relation between our countries and are a further reflection of our resolve to continue building the friendship between our countries and people.
South Africa regards Turkey as a strategic partner and significant momentum has been added to this growing relationship as was demonstrated by the establishment of the Senior Officials’ Political Consultations co-hosted in South Africa and in Turkey in March 2009 and March 2010 respectively.
These relations were further reinvigorated by the recent visit to our country, South Africa, by Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Ahmet Davutoğlu, on 20 August 2011.
In addition, since my visit to Turkey last year significant progress has been made to further strengthen our relations.
I believe that these regular, high-level exchanges do not only contribute to the strengthening of political and economic relations, but also facilitate constructive engagements in a number of other fields, such as education and skills development.
We are also delighted at the strength of your delegation which serves as a clear indication that Turkey has a strong commitment to cementing our relations and to ensuring the implementation of joint agreements.
South Africa and Turkey have over the years developed a number of relationships of common interest.
We share complementary economic, commercial and technical capabilities that can contribute to the advancement of our respective national development priorities.
The strengthening and advancement of our political and socio-economic relations is therefore critical for the advancement of our countries’ benefits.
We also share the same values and vision for South-South cooperation and The Africa-Turkey Partnership is also an important collaboration that can make an invaluable contribution to the implementation of New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s (NEPAD) priorities.
It is a notable achievement that Turkey’s trade with African countries has reached unprecedented levels in such a short time.
Trade between South Africa and Turkey has also shown upward trends over the period 2004 to 2008 as well as 2009 to 2010.
This is an increase of over 75% of South Africa’s exports to Turkey in nominal terms.
The trade balance has also been fairly balanced and relatively in favour of South Africa currently. In this regard, our growing economies offer good growth opportunities for trade, investment and technical cooperation.
As you are aware, South Africa will be hosting the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban later this year.
With just less than two months to go, we are happy to say that South Africa is ready to host this Conference and that stakeholders are cooperating.
As the incoming President of the Conference of Parties, South Africa undertakes to facilitate consultations and negotiations with all stakeholders in a fair and inclusive manner in order to ensure a credible and equitable outcome.
We hope such a balanced outcome will entail amongst others giving effect to the Cancun Agreements and a commitment to deal with outstanding issues from the Bali Roadmap and Action Plan.
It is our every intention to utilise, in an inclusive and transparent way, all opportunities to advance the COP17 process to ensure that Durban is a success.
As we tackle these climate change challenges, we also wish to thank the Turkish government and the people Turkey for the generous response to famine and draught situation facing Somalia.
We know that you personally went to inspect the conditions in Somalia and we can only say thank you very much to the commitment of establishing health facilities as well as opening an embassy in Somalia.
This is an area we can together coorporate to bring about political stability, not only the relief that is need there, but political stability which is a pre-condition for the progress that can be made in that country.
I am aware that we are both determined to review commitments made during our last meeting and to develop further programmes of cooperation between our countries.
It is these common traits and shared values that will guide our fruitful discussions today.
There is a lot on our plate we will ensure that nothing ever falls through the cracks and that we even continue to compare notes and share perspective with regards to the work that we do in all the multilateral institutions.
We hope that at the end of this visit we would have completed a clear roadmap to take us forward on the enhancement of our political and economic relations.
We also hope to share views on important regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest and how we can work together towards ensuring a free, well managed and better world.
With those few words, it is a pleasure to welcome you and your delegation to South Africa.