Opening Remarks by Deputy Minister Landers during the Bilateral Meeting with his Hungarian Counterpart, Dr László Szabó

I am pleased to welcome His Excellency, Dr László Szabó Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Hungary to South Africa to this Political Consultative meeting of respective countries.

H.E. Mr András Kiraly, Ambassador of Hungary to South Africa;

Distinguished officials from the Governments of Hungary and South Africa;

It is indeed a great honour for me to meet with you today and welcome you to this, a Political Consultative meeting of respective countries which is an important milestone for our two governments. 

Deputy Minister Dr Szabó, South Africa shall never forget the hospitality and support we received from Hungary during the difficult times of our anti-apartheid liberation struggle.

It is just over a month since your great country suffered a great loss following the passing away of one of the most esteemed stalwarts of your country and former President of the Republic of Hungary, Mr Arpad Goncz on 6 October 2015.  Accordingly, we reach out to the people of Hungary during this period of mourning. 

As we all mourn the untimely passing of former President Goncz.  Please be assured of our unwavering support as Government and people of South African during this time of bereavement. As the South African Government, we also recognise his efforts in creating a unified and prosperous Europe.

As committed and dedicated representatives of Government and servants of our respectable people-We shall always recall his wise words of wisdom in our midst always when he so famously said, I quote;

“Encourage a readiness to find consensus,”

And

“Presidents are compelled to shout across the gap between politics and society.”

Close quote

Excellency Deputy Minister Szabó,

I am certain that such words by such great a man as an inspiration to both our governments henceforth. It is a fact that the relations between our two countries have been growing by stature all the time and that is very encouraging. I am therefore looking forward with anticipation to strengthening our relations today as we also re-emphasize and even explore possible areas of expansion in our co-operation;

I also think it is most fitting that I express a deep sense of appreciation on progress made so far with the JEC. Furthermore, I wish to suggest that without changing the JEC but to take a step further and say that it indeed makes sense now to introduce the Joint Commission on Co-operation (JCC) that has a broader mandate.

The JEC will remain as it is but it is proposed that it operates as one of the implementation “arms” under the JCC.  The JCC as an overarching mechanism of engagement between our two countries would be utilised to strengthen relations and create conducive environment for a more focused well coordinated engagement in the areas of trade, agriculture, water management, and education, among others.

The model to be chosen will have to be determined based on policy considerations and working committees established therein depending on the agreement concluded between our two countries. I am also optimistic that this meeting will give us an update and help accelerate progress in our Bilateral Relations and Co-operations as well as give us an opportunity to engage on Regional and Multilateral Issues of concern to our countries.

Excellency Deputy Minister Szabó,

Esteemed colleagues,

Ladies and Gentleman,

With these brief remarks I look forward to our engagement today and I am pleased to invite you, Deputy Minister Szabó, to present your opening remarks.

Thank you

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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