Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa at a media briefing on the occasion of a State Visit to the Republic of Senegal
Your Excellency Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal,
Honorable Cabinet Secretaries,
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have just concluded a successful official visit to the Republic of Senegal and I wish to thank you once more Your Excellency for hosting us.
I want to also use this opportunity to thank the government and people of Senegal for their enduring friendship and solidarity.
Our delegation was warmly received in Dakar at a time when a number of countries have imposed travel bans on South Africa in response to our detection of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
As African countries we reject what the UN Secretary-General has rightly described as travel apartheid.
Countries should not advance their interests at the expense of others. This is a global pandemic and it warrants cooperation, not the isolation and punishment of certain countries. So once again, Your Excellency, thank you.
South Africa and Senegal enjoy cordial bilateral political, economic and social relations.
They are underpinned by strong historical ties.
During apartheid it was luminaries like President Abdou Diouf who paved the way for negotiating parties on both sides to meet in Dakar, at a time when the liberation movements were still banned.
The Dakar Talks were a milestone in the process towards a negotiated settlement between the African National Congress and the apartheid regime.
We are indebted to the Senegalese government and people for standing with us, and for making our struggle their struggle.
The objective of this visit was to consolidate the bilateral relations between Senegal and South Africa and also to reflect on the progress that we have made.
We have signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding as well as Agreements.
They include an MOU on Political and Diplomatic Consultations, an Agreement on a Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation, and an Agreement on Scientific, Technical and Economic Cooperation in the Field of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
This visit has been an opportunity to explore deepening relations across the spectrum of our respective national priorities.
Yesterday I participated in the 7th International Dakar Forum for Peace and Security in Africa, where I shared South Africa’s perspective on challenges to Africa’s emergence in a post COVID-19 world.
Later today we will be visiting Goree Island and I am looking forward to visiting this site that has such great meaning for not only Senegal but for the entire continent and its diaspora.
South Africa looks forward to the finalization of the process that will see Goree Island twinned with Robben Island in South Africa, where many of the leaders of our liberation struggle were imprisoned, including President Nelson Mandela.
In conclusion it is our joint expectation that the outcomes of this visit translate to enhanced cooperation between our two countries.
I thank you.