5 June 2018

South Africa: President Cyril Ramaphosa - Working Visit of President Brahim Ghali of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

press release

Opening Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the Working Visit of President Brahim Ghali of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Union Buildings, Pretoria

Your Excellency and Dear Brother, President Brahim Ghali,

Honourable Ministers,

Your Excellency, Mr Bachir Sgair, Ambassador of SADR to South Africa,

Your Excellency, Mr D Dlomo, South African Ambassador to SADR,

Senior officials from our respective Governments,

Members of the Media,

Good morning,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you, Mr President, and your delegation on the occasion of your working visit to South Africa.

We believe that through this visit, the historical and fraternal relations that happily exist between our two governments and peoples will be further strengthened.

Your visit is very special to us as it represents a continuation of our excellent cooperation and the deepening of our diplomatic bilateral relations.

Your visit coincides with the celebration of Youth Month in our country.

In South Africa, the month of June is dedicated to the youth of our country in recognition for their selfless contribution to the freedom and democracy that we enjoy today.

We know that the youth in your country are also engaged in a struggle for freedom and justice.

Mr President, you visit us during a year when we are marking the centenary of the births of two of our iconic elders, the late President Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu.

This year we are celebrating the lives of these two great Africans who believed that the freedom of the South African people could not be separated from the freedom of all people, both on our continent and beyond.

When the people of Western Sahara and South Africa meet it is a gathering of one people.

Our freedom and your freedom are indivisible.

We share a common history of struggle for freedom and justice.

In 1994, South Africa achieved a democratic breakthrough, the people's victory over the heinous system of apartheid.

Yet, the gains of our democracy cannot be complete while the Saharawi people's yearning for freedom and justice is not realised.

Your visit provides us with an opportunity to consolidate relations between South Africa and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, and to engage meaningfully on relevant issues such as regional security and bilateral cooperation.

Your presence allows us to reiterate our support for the struggle of the people of Western Sahara for self-determination and independence.

We wish to use this visit to further discuss how South Africa can contribute to this cause, including through humanitarian assistance to the Saharawi refugee camps.

We would like to assure you of South Africa's continued support for, and solidarity with, the Saharawi people.

We do so not only because of our shared history of struggle, but because of our shared commitment to a better Africa and a better world and our shared hope for a just and prosperous future.

We are hopeful that through your visit, we can contribute to the achievement of the long cherished dream of our brothers and sisters in Western Sahara of self-determination and independence.

Once again, welcome to South Africa, Mr President.

We are certain that your visit will strengthen our relations even further.

I look forward to our discussions.

I thank you.

Issued by: The Presidency

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