Address a a dinner in honour of the
Vice President of Sudan, 17 February 2003
Your Excellency, the Vice President of the Republic
of Sudan and your esteemed delegation,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me extend a warm word of welcome to you Mr Vice
President and your delegation.
It is always a great pleasure to receive members of
the great African family in this Southern tip of the
I am indeed delighted that our two countries are moving
closer together and are strengthening relations at a
bilateral level. We can only gain from deepening these
relations, for the mutual benefit of our two countries
I am pleased that you will be interacting with our
business community tomorrow, as business to business
linkages within the continent is critical, to enable
Africa to do business internally as well, and not only
rely on external trade linkages.
Mr Vice President, it is of particular importance that
we, as Africans, interact more regularly with one another,
given the challenges we face. We can only achieve our
noble objectives of rebuilding this continent if we
work together. I am therefore pleased that we had that
opportunity earlier today.
Given the harsh realities that Africa faces, we need
to unite and implement joint renewal and development
strategies. We fortunately have a strong vehicle for
this in the African Union's development blueprint, the
New Partnership for Africa's Development, (NEPAD).
Your Excellency, Mr Vice President, I would like to
emphasise that the South African people and South Africa
as the current Chair of the African Union, support the
people of the Republic of Sudan in their quest for lasting
The road to peace and reconstruction, and ultimately
development, is not an easy one, but it certainly is
a worthwhile one. It requires inspired and visionary
leadership from all of us. South Africa stands ready
to assist wherever she can, in the pursuit of peace
and stability in the Sudan.
Having walked this road before, we South Africans know
that peace is an attainable goal. We are driven by this
knowledge in our mission to work tirelessly to rid the
continent of conflict, in whatever way we can. We believe
that peace; stability and development will make this
continent take its rightful place among other continents,
as the cradle of humankind, and a bastion of progress.
You therefore have our full support, and we wish the
Sudanese people well in the next round of negotiations.
Mr Vice President, as we speak, a serious and worrying
international security situation is unfolding, in the
form of the United States-led campaign against Iraq.
Our position, which is similar to that of the Non-Aligned
Movement and the majority of the developing world, is
that we want to avoid a war against Iraq as this would
be disastrous for the world in general, and for Africa
We call for a peaceful solution on the basis of the
United Nations resolutions. Africa has managed to push
the continent's reconstruction and development to the
top of the global agenda, and we believe that a war
would take us backwards, and push development to the
Mr Vice President, you would be aware of our involvement
in the Burundi peace process. I will, this weekend travel
to Tanzania at the invitation of President Yoweri Museveni
of Uganda, who chairs the Great Lakes Regional Initiative
on Burundi, to once again play a role to assist our
brothers and sisters in Burundi to move further towards
We believe we have made a lot of progress already and
need to urgently finalise a ceasefire implementation
plan between President Pierre Buyoya who leads the Transitional
Government and the co-signatories, the CNDD-FDD led
by Pierre Nkurunziza.
Mr Vice President, once again, thank you for coming
to these shores. We wish you and the Sudanese people
courage and wisdom, as you continue on the path towards
peace and stability in your country.
We also wish you and your delegation a pleasant stay
for the duration of your visit.
I Thank You