Your Excellency, Minister Jorge Diaz de Biassi – the Charge D’ Affaires, of the Argentine Republic
Your Excellency, Ambassador Bene M’Poko, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps
Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Esteemed members of the Diplomatic Corps
Good afternoon/ evening
On this day, two hundred years ago, Argentina declared independence in the Congress of Tucuman and I am honoured to represent the Government and people of South Africa in the celebration of this auspicious event. We, South Africa, as a young democracy attach great appreciation to the long-term stable democracies such as yours. We are mindful that ours is work in progress, and we are fully aware that we have a long road to travel on this democratic path.
Ours is a democracy that is informed by our experience of international solidarity, values and principles for which so many of our heroes paid the ultimate price. In this road to entrench democracy, we have a legion of visionaries whose preoccupation is to build a truly non-racial, non-sexist and a prosperous nation at peace with itself. Our long term vision is to truly have a nation that is completely free from the yoke of oppression, segregation and discrimination of any kind.
It is on a road paved by unspeakable human rights abuses that South Africa and Argentina choose to lay the foundations for its respective democracies. Our two countries have built a strong foundation for the culture of human rights to prosper. We envision that we will remain in the foreseeable future to be seen as an oasis of democracy, peace and freedom. Ladies and Gentlemen, strengthening democracy and exporting our values of human rights is the cornerstone of our valuable relations with Argentina.
Our countries, under President Zuma and President Macri, respectively, continue to pursue good governance, human rights and universal suffrage.
Argentina’s biggest contribution in the field of human rights continue to be in the field of forensic anthropology, through pioneering work of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) which have, through painful but necessary investigations, assisted a number of families to find closure re loved ones that were forcibly disappeared. South Africa, is but one of numerous countries around the globe that benefit from their expertise.
The primary bilateral vehicle through which relations between South Africa and Argentina are conducted, namely the Bi-national Commission, has been adjusted to align the National Strategic Priorities of both countries fully to the work of the BNC.
What makes the South Africa-Argentina relationship strategic is historical and other commonalities, notably geographical isolation and long distances from central markets, both countries are strong leaders within their respective regions- Argentina in MERCOSUR/L and South Africa in the SADC. The two countries have similar economies, resources and challenges relating to the adding of value to industrial output.
At the multilateral level, South Africa and Argentina share very similar positions and objectives in a number of areas: these are the following:
- Strong support for the development agenda of the South;
- Commitment to nuclear disarmament;
- Strong belief in the centrality and importance of multilateralism and the United Nations system; and finally,
- A firm conviction of the necessity of the reform of the global economic governance and trading systems.
For these reasons, the two countries share membership of a number of multilateral forums, most notably the G20, the G77 and China, the Zone of Peace and Co-operation in the South Atlantic (ZPCSA) and the CAIRNS Group.
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
The two countries’ bilateral relationship is further guided by the regular Africa-South America Summit framework. Argentina is supportive of the African regional integration process, supports the New Partnership of Africa’s Development (NEPAD), as well the consolidation of the African Agenda and under President Macri is in the process of drafting an “Argentina Plan for Technical Cooperation with Africa 2016-2019”, which it is envisaged will be launched in September 2016. Let relations between our countries continue to prosper
On this occasion, please join me as I wish the Government and People of Argentina another 200 years of democracy, peace and freedom. Let freedom reign!
I thank you.