Statement by H E President Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa during the Press Conference following Bilateral Meeting with the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica

Your Excellency, Prime Minister the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller
Honourable Ministers;
Members of the Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me start by extending, once more, my appreciation for the very warm welcome we have received from Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, and the people of Jamaica.

It is my honour and privilege to thank you, the Most Honourable Prime Minister, for hosting this State Visit in your beautiful country, Jamaica.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Jamaica and South Africa established diplomatic relations on 9th September 1994. This was preceded by strong historical ties that hinged on support by Jamaica and the Caribbean community to our struggle against Anti-Apartheid. The Government of Jamaica and the Rastafarians raised their voices at the United Nations, through Music, and by facilitating travel through the Caribbean Passports availed to the Members of the African National Congress and other Struggle Movements in South Africa. Jamaica was at the forefront of the international campaign against Apartheid in South Africa. Jamaica was one of the first country to declare a trade embargo against South Africa in 1957 while the island was still a colony of Britain and thus without responsibility for its external relations. Jamaica consistently and unequivocally opposed Apartheid and initiated and supported all United Nations' decisions aimed at its elimination.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I recall with great affection, the jubilation felt by the Jamaican people during the visit of Former President Nelson Mandela to Jamaica in 1991.  Mr. Nelson Mandela received an enormous welcome at the Parliament, at the University of the West Indies, at the National Stadium and in the streets of Jamaica. We are proud today to realize that there are milestones such as the Nelson Mandela Park and Nelson Mandela Highway, to symbolize the significance of our relations.

South Africa and Jamaica maintain Diplomatic Missions in our respective capitals. During our meeting today, we recommitted to deepening our relations on the identified various areas of cooperation.

At the moment the Jamaican Government and the Government of South Africa have waived visa requirements for all South African and Jamaican passport holders, and this enables our nationals to enter each other’s country for a period of up to 90 days without the necessity of visas.

This provision has so far facilitated smooth movement of South Africans and Jamaicans who are engaging in music, education, sports, etc. Government and the peoples of South Africa will be focusing more on cooperation in science and technology, sports, education and agriculture while pursuing economic cooperation.

During our discussions today, we also envisaged cooperation amongst our universities on joint research projects, student and academic exchange programmes.

South Africa would like to see increased volumes of trade and investment between the two countries. We are committed to encourage and facilitate South African companies doing business in Jamaica, resulting in the steady growth in trade and investment between our two countries. In the same vein, both countries agreed to encourage people-to-people contacts through cultural, scientific and educational exchange programmes and tourism.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The talks are a clear indication of our collective determination to take our relations to higher levels for the mutual benefit of our respective countries. We agreed that several other Agreements under negotiation must translate into stronger economic, social and developmental relations between our two countries.It was noted that a number of additional draft agreements and Memoranda of Understanding were presently being negotiated between both countries in the fields of Sports and Recreation, Scientific and Technological Cooperation, Defence and Security, Social Development, Bilateral Air Services and Public Works. These Agreements will serve to foster mutual cooperation, exchanges and best practices in the respective fields.

In our discussions, we also reflected on bilateral, global and multilateral matters of interest and concern.

On the international front, we have reiterated the need to reform the United Nations, particularly the Security Council and the Bretton Woods Institutions.

South Africa recommitted to continue to work together and to support Jamaica and the Caribbean Community, and to voice their interest in Fora where they do not have a voice, e.g. G8 and G20.
We reflected on issues related to climate change.  We noted that Small island states and countries in Africa are becoming more vulnerable.

The talks in Durban have to produce a multilateral climate change regime that is fair, credible, balanced, inclusive and effective.

We also urge that the multilateral climate change regime must strike a balance between climate change and development imperatives.

We underlined the importance of the role played by CARICOM and the CARICOM Common Market Single Market and the need to engage effectively with the African Union and in the African Union Agenda and the African Diaspora programmes.

Ladies and gentlemen

I conclude by once again expressing our gratitude and heartfelt appreciation for the warm and inviting reception we have received in Jamaica.

This State Visit has reaffirmed our continued support and unwavering determination to the strengthening of our bilateral cooperation.

I thank you.

Issued in Pretoria, OR Tambo Building by DIRCO

460 Soutpansberg Road

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