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Reem Al Hashimy underscores the importance of UAE-Republic of South Africa 1st Joint Committee meeting

posted on 01/09/2015: 1062 views



Minister of State Reem Al Hashimy has said that hosting of the first Joint Committee meeting of the UAE and South Africa in Abu Dhabi is a great honour for the UAE and it confirms its keen interest to develop and strengthen the distinguished relations between the two countries. It also symbolises the fulfilment of the ambitions and guidance that the leadership of the two friendly countries have given in the service of common interests and objectives that aim at developing them in all dimensions: politically, economically, defence, and all other key sectors.

In her speech at the UAE-Republic of South Africa 1st Joint Committee meeting she said, that the relationship between the UAE and South Africa that span more than 20 years are continuously growing and are built on a solid foundation of shared values and mutual respect of the history and achievements of our peoples.

Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa attended the meeting.

Here is the full text of her speech.

Esteemed members of the Joint Committee, A warm welcome to you, Your Excellency, and to the esteemed members of your delegation; wishing you a pleasant stay in the UAE.

It is a great honour to host the first Joint Committee meeting, which confirms our keen interest to develop and strengthen the distinguished relations between our countries. It also symbolises the fulfilment of the ambitions and guidance that the leadership of our friendly countries have given in the service of our common interests and objectives that aim at developing them in all dimensions: politically, economically, defence, and all other key sectors.

The relationship between the UAE and South Africa that span more than 20 years are continuously growing and are built on a solid foundation of shared values and mutual respect of the history and achievements of our peoples.

Maybe more importantly, our relations are anchored on a common vision of the challenges that we face regionally and internationally.

Perhaps, Your Excellency, you would agree with me that with such a strong foundation upon which our relations stand, we should strive to be even more ambitious. The UAE, the second largest Arab economy, and South Africa the second largest African economy, possess tremendous resources and have significant potential. When synergised, such resources can speed development in our countries at a much faster pace in the service of our peoples' wellbeing and of future generation.

And if we look at the size of non-oil trade between our countries, estimated at 1.94 Billion US Dollars, the bulk of which is in South Africa's favour, we might be satisfied. But when we learn that South Africa was in 2009 our largest African trading partner and today it is the third, we have to search for more ways and means to support one another in order to protect gains and achievements and never to accept the status quo.

We agree, Your Excellency, that the private sector in our countries play a critical role in building our economic relationship. We have more than 200 South African companies working in the UAE and some 174 South African trademarks registered with our Ministry of Economy. The number of UAE companies working in South Africa is also growing. So it falls upon us as governments to provide them with the appropriate environment and remove all obstacles that they may be facing in order to reach the levels of trade and investments commensurate with our ambitions.

This means we need to finalise the agreements on Double Taxation, Customs, the MoU between our Chambers of Commerce and establish the Business Councils; it also means promoting investments through exhibitions and trade delegations, among many other endeavours. We have a lot of work ahead of us and today is just the beginning.

Your Excellency, the challenges that we face today in a fast changing world, often emanating from non-traditional sources, are not restricted to the economic realm but extend, and perhaps in a more threatening way, to politics and security. Trans- border terrorism and crime, internal conflicts that are spilling over to neighbouring countries, and other challenges require, more than ever, for the forces of good and peace to unite to safeguard international peace and security.

We in the United Arab Emirates highly appreciate the active and critical role that the Republic of South Africa plays in security and stability, not only in Africa, but globally. We look forward to South Africa exercising, as we have always known it to do, a positive role in supporting stability in the Arab world and to support its just causes.

To deepen cooperation in the political and security fields, we look forward to fruitful results of our Joint Committee deliberations to achieve progress in the defence and military industries, identify the cooperation framework in international security, re-activating the MoU on law enforcement cooperation, and finalise all outstanding agreements related to the justice sector before the end of the year.

At the diplomatic level, we hope to deepen coordination between our countries in international fora, not as leading countries of the South, but as countries acutely aware of the importance of influencing the international discourse on key issues that affect the future of humanity. In this spirit, I wish to extend our sincere appreciation to the Republic of South Africa for confirming its support for the re-election of the UAE to the UN Human Rights Council (2016-2018), which represents a wonderful example of our cooperation in multilateral institutions that we hope to continue to develop.

Undoubtedly, Your Excellency, the exchange of visits and political consultations at the highest level are of significant importance to unify visions on the issues and challenges that we jointly face. We remember with great pride and honour the historical visit of the late leader President Nelson Mandela, and the visits of His Excellency President Thabo Mbeki and His Excellency Jacob Zuma that had a tremendous impact on advancing our bilateral relations. We hope that such visits continue.

A warm welcome, again. My colleagues on the UAE delegation and I look forward to exchanging views with you in all frankness and to explore potential for cooperation in all matters of mutual interest. We hope to provide recommendations and practical solutions and to identify new joint projects that would be mutually beneficial and contribute to serving the interests of our friendly countries.

Before concluding, I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to the heads and members of the preparatory committees for the efforts exerted to ensure the success of this meeting and I look forward to our next Joint Committee meeting in Pretoria. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395284867069.html

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