Speech by Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim on the occasion of the farewell luncheon hosted in honour of Mr Khalid Ba’Omar, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman, Tuesday, 10 July 2012
Your Excellency, Mr Khalid Ba’Omar, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to South Africa
Your Excellency, Mr Bene M’Poko, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps
Your Excellency, Mr Ali Halimeh, Ambassador of the State of Palestine and Dean of the Group of Arab Ambassadors
Ambassadors and High Commissioners
I am pleased to welcome you to the OR Tambo Building this afternoon as we bid farewell to Mr Khalid Ba’Omar, the Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman, who has reached the end of his term of duty in South Africa.
My Government is very proud of the way in which relations with the Sultanate of Oman had developed since diplomatic relations were first established after our democratic elections in 1994. We have always maintained cordial relations, but these have certainly strengthened and become more diverse over the last few years. This process was in no small measure assisted by the State Visit paid by our President to Oman in November 2011. The President has already extended an invitation to His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos, to pay a reciprocal visit to South Africa and we hope that this visit would take place soon.
South Africa and Oman also held a very successful inaugural meeting of the Partnership Forum in October 2011. A range of cooperation opportunities were identified and the implementation of decisions taken at the meeting was formally reviewed during a meeting in this building a few weeks ago. I look forward to host my Omani counterpart for the Second Meeting of the Partnership Forum in Pretoria on 6 November 2012.
Excellencies, as you are all practitioners of diplomacy, you will be aware that relations between States do not flourish by themselves. It requires dedication and hard work by those who have been appointed by their Governments to oversee this task. In this regard, I must commend Amb Ba’Omar for the role he had played in ensuring that his country’s relationship with South Africa was elevated to a higher level. I wish to say to you, Ambassador, that relations between our countries are stronger today than they had been when you first arrived. Your hard work has been noticed by our Government and your contribution to the development of relations appreciated. We do not yet know who will succeed you, but I certainly hope that it would be someone with the same sense of purpose and level of dedication.
In conclusion, I wish to extend to you and your family our best wishes as you assume your new position as Oman’s Ambassador to Germany. At the same time, I wish to extend our best wishes for the continued prosperity of the Government and people of the Sultanate of Oman under the prudent leadership of His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
I thank you.