Opening Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa during Official Talks of the Denmark and Netherlands Joint Working Visit, Sefako M. Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse, Pretoria, 20 June 2023
Your Excellency Prime Minister Frederiksen,
Your Excellency Prime Minister Rutte,
Ambassadors representing South Africa, Denmark and the Netherlands,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to South Africa.
It is not every day that we have the privilege of welcoming two Heads of Government at the same time.
This Joint Working Visit is indicative of our shared objectives in the areas in which we cooperate.
Both your countries have long and historic relationships with South Africa, which have grown in substance and diversity over recent years.
I know that you appreciate the mutual benefit that we can derive from this relationship, but you also understand the challenges we face.
You will be familiar with the pressure on our electricity network and the impact it has on the South African economy.
For this reason, your visit and our engagements on closer cooperation in the energy space are very opportune and important.
Renewable energy forms an increasingly important part of our energy mix and is vital to both the achievement of a just transition and greater energy security. We hope to benefit from closer cooperation with your countries in this regard.
Given the current challenges in Africa and Europe, it is important that we broaden our dialogue to include regional issues.
Denmark, the Netherlands and South Africa – alongside the African Union and European Union – are important partners in addressing our common and respective challenges.
If we are to bridge the growing divides between nations, between regions and between the Global North and South then we must begin with dialogue.
We must work to create a peaceful and prosperous world by building mutually beneficial partnerships that support the aspirations of all our peoples.
As you would be aware, South Africa was part of a delegation from seven African countries that recently returned from meetings with President Zelenskyy and President Putin.
Among other things, we called for a de-escalation of fighting and for negotiations to commence with urgency; for the release of prisoners of war and return of children; for greater humanitarian support; and for reconstruction efforts to be prioritised.
We used the meetings to highlight the damaging effect that this conflict is having on African countries and economies, contributing to food shortages and a rise in the cost of living.
We believe that our mission was successful in registering the willingness of African leaders to contribute to a negotiated peace and to highlight the broader effects of the conflict. We hope that it will contribute in some way towards international peace efforts.
As South Africa, we are grateful to count Denmark and the Netherlands as longstanding partners in our progress and development.
We look forward to today’s deliberations.
I invite you now, Prime Minister Rutte, to deliver your opening statement.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency