President receives new ambassadors, high commissioners

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pretoria - The arrival of newly appointed ambassadors and high commissioners is expected to advance relations between their respective countries and South Africa.

"We have confidence that your presence here will greatly strengthen relations between our two countries," President Motlanthe told New Zealand's High Commissioner-designate GJ Randal on Wednesday.

The President was on Tuesday introduced to newly appointed representatives from New Zealand, Jamaica, Portugal, Vietnam, and Singapore.

Vietnam's Ambassador-designate Nguyen Manh Hung said South Africa and his country had enjoyed a friendly relationship for some time now, which began when the people of Vietnam supported South Africa in its struggle against colonialism and apartheid.

Singapore's High-Commissioner Bernard Baker alluded to the importance of Africa-Asia relations, saying that he would do his best to take them to new heights.

"Singapore and South Africa enjoy many shared values and I am confident that our countries can work together to ensure that our government, academic institutions and respective private sectors forge new and stronger relationships to mutual benefit."

Ambassador-designate from Portugal, JN Ramos-Pinto, highlighted that both South Africa and Portugal had the same vision when it came to peace, security and stability on the continent.

"Portugal committed itself to make the European Union-Africa Summit a success and believes that it helped lay the foundations for a strategic partnership between our two continents.

"Portugal is an active member of the EU in support of a reinforced dialogue between Europe and Africa...and we share South Africa's views on promotion of peace, security and stability," Mr Ramos-Pinto said.

Stressing the importance of broadening and diversifying trade with South Africa, especially during the current economic crisis, Jamaican High Commissioner Audley Rodriques told President Motlanthe that South-South cooperation must be enhanced.

South Africa and the wider African continent represent a major plank in the government of Jamaica's efforts to diversify its network of bilateral partners to forge new relationships with emerging markets.

"In the true spirit of South-South cooperation, we are particularly convinced of the need for Jamaica and South Africa to work harder at seizing the opportunities to develop trade and investment linkages," Mr Rodriques highlighted.