Opening Remarks by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, on the occasion of the Working Visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Highness Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud, to South Africa on Monday
Your Highness, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,
Ambassador Sultal al Angati, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of South Africa,
Senior officials and guests,
I wish to welcome the honourable minister to South Africa and to our ministry and department at the OR Tambo Building. This is the minister’s first official visit to South Africa and I certainly hope the first of many. I believe today marks the start of a further strengthening of the strong bilateral relations which exist between our countries.
We had an occasion to meet virtually during the lockdown period and exchanged open views on several contemporary issues. I hope this positive interaction will continue into the future and contribute to building strong mutually beneficial relations.
This year has been a tumultuous year for all humanity. We are all grappling with the challenge of COVID-19 and with continuing to sustain international cooperation in a context of reduced opportunity for direct physical contact.
We are most grateful for the support many of our global partners provided to Africa during our most challenging moments. Saudi Arabia has played a critical role in ensuring global responsiveness due to its leadership of the G20.
South Africa has played a key role in developing a coordinated African response to the pandemic from the health and economic perspectives. Saudi Arabia’s support for Africa’s call for debt relief and debt standstill agreement has been invaluable.
The Kingdom occupies a very strategic role in the Middle East and I believe that our cooperation could see both our countries playing a central role in helping to achieve peace, justice, stability and development in our regions.
Your Highness there are many challenges and opportunities confronting the new normal of this COVID-19 reality. I hope our deliberations will lay a firm foundation for assisting our countries to achieve their development objectives and priorities.
South Africa has been most appreciative of the ready support the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has given to President Ramaphosa’s investment drive. The Foreign direct investment by Saudi Arabia will make a sterling contribution to our ambition to grow our economy and create employment.
Minister welcome once more, I sincerely look forward to our discussions today.