Opening Remarks by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and her Malian Counterpart, Mr Moctar Ouane at the First Session of the SA-Mali Joint Commission of Co-Operation (JCC), Pretoria, 10 August 2004

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma made the following opening remarks at the JCC this morning, 10 August 2004 in Pretoria:

  • We wish to extend our warm welcome to Minister Moctar Ouane and his delegation, and express our hope that they would consider South Africa as their home away from home;
  • Our two countries are not just linked geographically on the same continent, but Mali was one of the first countries to respond positively to the appeal by the ANC leadership when requested to help in the armed struggle against apartheid. The President of Mali, Amadou Toumani Toure during our recent visit to Mali recounted a story when he was a Colonel in the army and received a call to put military hardware together to assist in the liberation of South Africa;
  • As South Africa celebrates its 10th anniversary, it is as much your celebration as it is ours, considering the role played by the Continent in the matter;
  • South Africa was pleased to recently open a mission in Mali. But former President Alpha Oumar Konare asked us to open a mission and even assisted with recommending an honorary consul in the interim until we succeeded in making the necessary budgetary provision;
  • A lot of work had however been done in absence of the mission especially following President Thabo Mbeki's State Visit in 2001, where it was agreed to establish a JCC. A lot of work was done leading to this first inaugural session of the JCC and co-operation in the various sectors had been continuing;
  • Much co-operation and planning work has been done in the sectors of agriculture; education; energy; trade and industrial development; mining; sport etc. A number of Memoranda of Understanding in some of these areas have also been concluded since 2001 and are being implemented.
  • Our bonds of friendship were further sealed between our two countries in 2002 through our co-operation during Mali's hosting of the African Cup of Nations Tournament and Mali's support of South Africa's bid to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup. We are also aware that Malians celebrated with us when South Africa was awarded the right to host the World Cup;
  • South Africa and Mali have worked well within the African Union and we are therefore grateful for Mali's support for SA to host the new Pan African Parliament;
  • South Africa wishes to specifically salute the positive role Mali has played particularly in the context of efforts by ECOWAS in conflict resolution and management in the West-African sub-region;
  • It is our hope that this session of the Joint Commission of Co-operation will develop a clear programme for implementation of projects agreed to until our next session scheduled for Mali. I know our defence colleagues under Minister Mosuia Lekota, who we are happy to also welcome here, have also been working hard on issues of joint co-operation;
  • We also welcome business representatives and express the hope that important links will be forged and niches identified to strengthen bilateral business relations.
  • Again welcome to South Africa, you arrived indeed on a special day, Monday 09 August, when we were celebrating Women's Day and during a month which we have declared women's month.

COMMENTS BY THE MALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER

The Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Mr Moctar Ouane, in reply made the following opening remarks on behalf of the Malian delegation.

  • The Malian delegation is touched by the welcome and the efforts put in by South Africa for ours stay. We are proud to be here upon one of the oldest civilisations;
  • This special welcome by South Africa is a sign of our friendly and brotherly relations. There is a special relationship between our two countries and our Heads of State and I would like to say that President Toure sends his greetings to his brothers and sisters and friends in South Africa;
  • Mali is grateful for the multi-sectoral assistance from South Africa we have benefited from especially the important trilateral assistance to the health sector;
  • This session takes place in a particular context ie the 10th anniversary of South Africa's democracy and we would like to express our solidarity with this new democracy. Mali is also proud to have contributed to the liberation fight of the ANC. We are also happy that the JCC co-incided with the Woman's Day celebrations in South Africa and we express the gratitude of the women of Mali to the women of South Africa for there struggle;
  • Mali values SA's role in the African Union and we stand together with South Africa for peace, justice and equality on our Continent. We will work together on the issue of human rights and peaceful solutions, both on the Continent and at international level;
  • South Africa's economic development has proven to have helped the economic progress of many of Africa's people. South Africa's political development has also successfully developed into economic development, recognised at continental and international level;
  • Mali will work with South Africa in achieving the African Union's objectives and especially the causes of building unity, peace and social justice on the Continent;
  • The choice of South Africa to head the Peace and Security Organ of the AU, host the PAP and the World Cup in 2010 is commendable;
  • The JCC will provide am opportunity to work together and forge bilateral co-operation at many levels. The question is what does Mali have to offer:

    • Agricultural sector: Mali plays an important part in agriculture in West Africa. The Niger delta has rich soil to be cultivated. South Africa can help Mali to achieve food security especially in the region;
    • Mali has rich mineral resources like gold, phosphate etc. and these who offer important opportunities for SA businessmen to invest;
    • Investment opportunities in the cotton industry also exist;
    • Opportunities for co-operation on our livestock resources are also available;
    • Important focal points for investment are Commerce and Industry and also the Information Technology sectors.

  • Mali however needs the assistance to create the know-how to progress and develop;
  • In conclusion, Mali expresses the hope for positive results from the JCC, characterised by close co-operation.
  • On behalf of the President and peoples of Mali, may we express our gratitude for South Africa's role in assisting in efforts to unify and integrate the people of Africa.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
P/Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

10 August 2004.

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