President Zuma concludes Angolan visit

Monday, August 24, 2009

Luanda - President Jacob Zuma on Friday concluded his first-ever state visit to Angola, cementing ties of friendship between the two countries.

The two-day excursion, which was the President's first state visit to a foreign country since his inauguration, was at the invitation of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Accompanied by eleven Cabinet Ministers, senior government officials and business representatives, the President discussed the development of bilateral relations and issues related the Regional and International Political Agenda with his counterpart.

In a communiqu, on Saturday, the two expressed their unshakeable desire to strengthen the ties of political, economic, technical-scientific, and cultural cooperation, so as to elevate them to a level that corresponds to the primary interests of the Angolan and South African governments.

The two Heads of State also emphasized the role of the private sector in this process.

Various cooperation agreements were signed, namely in the fields of Regular Political Consultations, infrastructure, industry, trade, sport and recreation, air services and human settlements.

President Zuma said the agreements were instruments that would make sure that Southern Africa improves.

He said the enthusiasm shown by the Joint Angola-South Africa Business Forum should be used to integrate business operations between the two countries.

As such, the two Heads of State agreed to maintain a permanent and regular dialogue in an effort to harmonise their position on issues of bilateral and sub-regional interest in the field of energy, taking into account the interests of both Angola and South Africa, as producer and consumer countries respectively.

President Zuma viewed the visit as significant between the two countries, saying that diplomatic engagement with the government was paramount to ensure the socio -economic development of the two countries.

The Heads of State expressed concern with persistent conflicts and with the emergence of new sources of conflict in the region and the consequences of these on the development and well-being of peoples.

They also highlighted the need to strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, primarily in peacekeeping and security.

On the first day of his state visit, President Zuma paid tribute to the sacrifices waged by the Angolan people by laying wreaths at the monument of Former President Agostinho Neto, as well as at the Monument of Unknown Soldier.

He also addressed an Extraordinary Session of the National Assembly and made an emotional pilgrimage to Pango Camp in Bengo Province, a former Umkhonto WeSizwe military base.

Speaking about the experience at Pango, President Zuma said that this was to remind us of where we come from and encouraged people to work harder for the goals for which many lost their lives.

President Zuma has invited President dos Santos to undertake an official visit to South Africa.