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Source: Department of Foreign Affairs
Title: Mbeki: Reply to the toast by the King of Malaysia
REPLY OF THE PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA, THABO MBEKI, TO THE TOAST
BY HIS MAJESTY, YAND DI-PERTUAN AGONG, Istana Negara: Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia, 2 September 2003
Your Majesty, Yang di-Pertuan Agong,
Your Majesty, Raja Permausuri Agong,
Your Excellency, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad,
Your Excellency, Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali,
Your Excellencies, Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Ladies and gentlemen:
My wife, our delegation and I are truly delighted to be back in
this beautiful country, Malaysia, and thank Your Majesties for you
invitation to us to come on and official visit. We also bring the
warmest greetings of the government and the people of South Africa
to Your Majesties, to the Prime Minister, the government and the
people of Malaysia. We are please to congratulate you on your
recent celebrations of the 46th Merdeka Day anniversary.
We are here once more to thank Your Majesties, the government and
people of Malaysia for everything you have done for the liberation
and upliftment of you people. You stood side by side with us during
the difficult struggle against apartheid. Your own independence
became a firm foundation for our own advance to freedom and
democracy. For this, we owe you a permanent debt of
Since our liberation, nine years ago, our countries and peoples
have grown even closer together, through increased trade,
investment and co-operation in other fields, including the
important area of human resource development.
In this regard, I would like to pay special tribute to His
Excellency, the Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who paid
particular attention to the development and expansion of this
co-operation. Among other things, this has placed Malaysia as one
of the largest foreign investors in South Africa in the period
We have also been privileged to draw on your valuable experience in
the implementation of your Bumiputera programme. This is of
critical importance to the success of our own efforts targeted at
black economic empowerment, to address the racial and gender
imbalances that resulted from many centuries of colonialism and
Both the scale and nature of the co-operation we have achieved,
thanks to the focus of Prime Minister Maharthir on this matter, has
given concrete expression to the objective to which both our
countries are committed - the objective of South-South
Malaysia and South Africa share many objectives. One of these is
the development of our countries as stable, peaceful and prosperous
This requires that we intensify our efforts to increase our
political, economic, social and cultural co-operation. In this
regard, the agreement and the memorandum of understanding on
economic, scientific, technical and cultural co-operation that we
signed today lays a strong foundation to achieve these objectives.
We will ensure that all outstanding agreements, inter alia, the
protection and promotion of investments and double taxation are
finalised as soon as possible.
A further challenge is the development of the countries of the
South to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty and
underdevelopment. This includes the restructuring of the relations
between North and South and the strengthening of the United Nations
as a democratic institution that represents and responds to the
interests of all countries, both large and small.
Among other things, we have an obligation to increase our
co-operation as the countries of the South to transform the United
Nations as well the Bretton Woods institutions, the Non-Aligned
Movement and the Commonwealth.
In a few weeks' time the international community will gather in
Cancun, Mexico, for the WTO ministerial meeting. Through our
co-operation we must seek to ensure that this meeting advances the
interests of the developing countries.
Further, through our active co-operation we must give concrete
expression to our vision of Afro-Asian solidarity. The 50th
anniversary of the Bandung conference in 2005 provides and
opportunity to achieve this objective.
In this regard, we should continue to strengthen the relations
between SEAN and the African Union and together find ways to
collaborate in the important process of the regeneration of the
African continent, through the AU's programme, the New Partnership
for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
We are also interested to see our common globe evolve in conditions
of peace. Accordingly, we are committed to act together to confront
the challenge of terrorism. Similarly, we are keenly interested to
the critically important objective of peace in the Middle East,
including Palestine, Israel and Iraq.
The fact that we share these and other objectives makes it both
possible and necessary that we further deepen our co-operation to
contribute to their accomplishment in as short a time as possible.
The discussions we held earlier today with the Prime Minister and
the government of Malaysia confirmed our continuing common resolve
to act together on all these matter as resolutely as
Once more, we would like to salute His Excellency, the Prime
Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, for the enormous contribution he has
made to the strengthening of friendly relations of co-operation and
solidarity between our two countries and peoples, as well as
advancing the course of the developing countries. We wish him
continuing good health and success in his future endeavours after
he leaves office.
We thank their Majesties for giving us the possibility once more to
visit Malaysia. We would be most honoured if their Majesties found
time to visit South Africa, which they should consider as their
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:
Please rise and join me in a toast to the good health of their
Majesties and friendship between the people of Malaysia and South
Issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, 2 September 2003