Remarks at the State Banquet in honour
of The President of the Hellenic Republic, 30 October
President Constantinos Stephanopoulus and distinguished
members of your delegation,
Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa,
Madame Speaker and Madame Chairperson of the National
Council of Provinces,
His Eminence the Patriarch of Alexandria and all-Africa,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Leaders of our political parties,
Premier of the Western Cape,
Mayor of the Metropolitan City of Cape Town,
Your Excellencies, the Ambassadors and members of the
Leaders and members of the Greek community,
Friends, ladies and Gentlemen:
It is with great pleasure that we welcome you, Mr.
President and your delegation to our country. I trust
that you will enjoy your stay among us and see something
of our country. I am certain that Your Excellency's
important visit will further strengthen the good relations
that exist between our countries as well as the relations
from people to people.
As you are aware, Mr President, our country and continent
have made the determination that this first century
of the third millennium should be an African Century.
To achieve this objective, we have spoken of the need
for an African Renaissance.
Among other things, Mr President, this has drawn attention
to the ancient interaction between Africa and Greece
that contributed so much to the evolution and development
of all humanity. Those ancient times also continue to
communicate the message that it is both possible and
necessary for Africa and Europe for the common good.
Inspired by the example handed down to us by our forebears,
we meet here in Cape Town united in our common determination
to respond to the demanding challenge to find new ways
of accelerating the process of achieving a better life
for all, especially the millions of poor people in our
country, our continent and the rest of the world.
In this regard, I am confident that when the Hellenic
Republic assumes the Presidency of the European Union
next year, we will have the important possibility to
give further impetus to the joint actions between Africa
and Europe around the questions of the all-round development
of Africa and the poverty eradication, as represented
for instance, by NEPAD, the New Partnership for Africa's
In this regard, we were very pleased to hear that the
Hellenic Republic will ratify the South Africa-EU Trade,
Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) before
the end of this year. We trust that this action will
encourage all other EU Member Sates to follow in your
Speaking both for our country and the African Union,
we look forward keenly to the Africa-European Union
Summit in Lisbon next April, which will be chaired by
your country, Mr. President, and trust that this important
gathering will add greatly to the deepening of the inter-continental
partnership initiated at the Cairo Summit.
In this regard, I am privileged to express our warm
thanks to you, Mr President, for the inspiring remarks
you made earlier today, when you addressed the Joint
Sitting of our National Houses of Parliament.
I would also like to take advantage of this occasion,
Mr President, to convey our deep appreciation of the
role played by the Greek population of our country to
contribute to the transformation of our country into
a true common home for all our people, regardless of
race, colour, gender or historical origin.
These fellow South Africans also play an important
role in further strengthening the relations between
our countries and peoples.
I am very happy, Mr. President, that while you are
here, you will further encourage our Hellenic community
to continue to play a constructive role in the struggle
for the reconstruction and development of our country.
Your important visit to our country will make a significant
contribution to the further strengthening of our bilateral
relations for the benefit of both our countries and
This also relates to our ever-growing economic relations,
which have the possibility to expand further in all
fields, including trade, investment and technological
cooperation. I am certain that the seminar between the
considerable business delegation accompanying you, Mr
President, and our own business people will spur the
further development of this bilateral economic cooperation.
Your visit has also given us the possibility to continue
our dialogue on international and global matters of
common concern. Because our countries proceed from a
shared value system, as before, we have agreed on the
major matters of the day.
These include the challenge of peace in Africa, the
reunification of Cyprus, the resolution of the conflict
between Israel and Palestine and the need for everybody
to respect the view of the nations of the world that
the issue of Iraq can only be resolved by and through
the United Nations and its Security Council.
The criminal bombing campaign in Gauteng Province last
night confirms the need for our own people and the peoples
of the world to maintain their resolve to act against
terrorism. I would also like to assure you, Mr President,
that the criminals responsible for last night's incidents
will not succeed to undermine or disrupt the peace for
our country and all our people for which many of our
people laid down their lives.
In conclusion I would like to say that we are excited
that in 2004 the Olympic Games will go back to their
original home, the Hellenic Republic. Mr. President,
we will ensure that we send a strong delegation of athletes
so that they help further to deepen the bonds of friendship
among the youth and peoples of the world.
May I request that we all rise and drink a toast to
the health of His Excellency, President Constantinos
Stephanopoulus and friendship between the peoples of
the Hellenic Republic and the Republic of South Africa.