Media remarks by President Zuma at the conclusion of Official Talks with President Pierre Nkurunziza of the Republic of Burundi during the State Visit by President Nkurunziza to South Africa, 04 November 2014
Your Excellency, My Dear Brother; President Pierre Nkurunziza
It is my honour and privilege to welcome you to South Africa, Mr President, on your first State Visit to our country.
This is a historic occasion for us.
We always remember the journey that we travelled with the people of Burundi during the difficult conflict resolution process that ended positively with the end of the civil war in Burundi.
During my State visit to Burundi in 2011, we were able to relive the wonderful moments and celebrate the fact that a solution was found and it was home-grown, with Africans solving their own problems with support from the world.
One of the key achievements of the process was the fact that the African Union constituted the first ever AU peacekeeping mission Burundi, constituted by South African troops.
South Africa and Burundi worked well during that process until our troops returned home in 2009.
We thank you for the cooperation we have always received from you Mr President, in both your capacity as the leader of your party the CNDD-FDD during the peace talks, and also in your role as the President of Burundi.
In light of the historic bond between our people, it is only natural that our relations should become more structured and that they should yield more meaningful socio-economic cooperation.
We have today signed an agreement to structure the relationship through the Joint Commission for Cooperation.
This important Agreement will enhance cooperation in sectors such as Agriculture, Arts and Culture, Commerce, Education, Politics, Defence, Sports, Mining, Women’s Empowerment, Investment, Health, Science and Technology, Communications, Public Works and Finance.
The JCC will meet at a Ministerial level and will enable us to implement the General Co-operation Agreement that was signed in 2007.
We have also signed an agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Arts and Culture.
Our two countries share a rich history of struggle against discrimination and other ills. It is only proper that we should cooperate in sharing this history through cultural tourism, museums, the restoration of historic sites, the preservation and conservation of monuments, the study of languages, literature and lecture tours.
This visit should also enable us to discuss further how to take advantage of the potential that exists to enhance trade and investment.
Bilateral trade between our two countries has been slowly increasing from 47.7 million rand in 2007 to just over 52 million rand in 2013. The businesspeople from both countries should certainly improve these figures by further exploring opportunities in the two countries.
The South African business community stands ready to enter into partnerships with their Burundi counterparts.
We will receive reports from the South Africa-Burundi Business Forum later today on progress made on their side.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In our discussions, we reflected on developments in our respective regions. We also exchanged views on political developments on the continent. We also deliberated on global and multilateral matters of interest and concern.
At the continental level, we reflected on the need to work closely with the African Union in the resolution of conflict and the realisation of peace, stability and economic development in Africa.
We congratulate Burundi on being one of the major troop contributing countries in the continent, which demonstrates the support and commitment to peace in Africa.
Burundi’s participation in the Central African Republic and Somali peace missions is commendable.
On the international front, we have reiterated the need to continue to work for the reform of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council as Africa’s voice needs to be heard.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me reiterate my pleasure in hosting my esteemed guest, President Nkurunziza and his delegation, in South Africa on this historic occasion.
This state visit is a meeting of friends.
The visit will certainly take relations between South Africa and Burundi to a higher level for the benefit of both the South African and Burundian people.
I thank you.