Zuma welcomes commitment shown by Sweden

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma has welcomed the depth and commitment of the Swedish people towards Africa following his meeting with that country's Prime Minister, Frederik Reinfeldt.

"The particular attention which Sweden pays to Africa is greatly appreciated, especially the emphasis on poverty reduction, promotion of democracy, trade, the environment as well as peace and security," he said during a dinner hosted in the Prime Minister's honour.

He said the commitment that Sweden has shown and its willingness to become directly involved in African struggles and causes over the past decades, was proof of its true friendship with the continent.

"Our two countries also share a passion and a vision to make this world a better place for those who are living now and for the generations to come," said Zuma.

He said he hoped the friendship between the two countries would synergise towards a positive outcome and that it would move towards closer cooperation.

Zuma and Reinfeldt had held talks earlier in the day aimed at strengthening relations. They were expected to talk about promoting economic relations, with special emphasis on increased Swedish investment and reviewing and improving institutional framework for development cooperation relations.

Reinfeldt would have also been briefed on the latest outcomes of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Summit which concluded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Tuesday.

Zuma said he looked forward to the 6th meeting of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) early next year, to be co-chaired by our Deputy President and the Swedish Deputy Prime Minister.

"The meeting will play a very important role in finalising the areas in which we wish to steer our relations in future, both on a global and bilateral level. Since the last meeting of the BNC in 2007, the world has been plunged into a global recession. This is one area in which the BNC will consolidate our cooperation," he said.

The President said that the two countries would have to cooperate during the coming United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December.

"We will have to. The deal in Copenhagen will need to balance climate and development, past and future, mitigation and adaptation, action by developed and developing countries, and a shared vision on reducing emissions, with means of implementation."

At the end of his address, President Zuma requested the invited guests to stand and toast to the friendship shared by the two countries.