Your Excellency, Mr Nadif Al-turk, Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,
His Excellency, Mr Bene M’Poko, the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps
Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of South Africa, it is my honour to extend to the Government and the people of Jordan, our congratulations as they celebrate the 69th anniversary of the independence of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan's significance results partly from its strategic location at the crossroads of what Christians, Jews and Muslims call the Holy Land. It is not only strategically placed in the Middle-East, but it is a politically stable country in a volatile region and it pursues effective diplomatic relations with all the region’s countries, due to its moderate and measured foreign policy.
Jordan is also very active in the international relations sphere, as illustrated by Jordan’s current membership of the United Nations Security Council. This further illustrates Jordan’s significance in the region and its importance as a partner to South Africa and other countries internationally.
The Kingdom of Jordan continues to play a positive role in one of the most complex international political challenges, the pursuit of peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours. South Africa and Jordan share the same desire for a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict and therefore welcomes efforts underway to unite all sections of the Palestinian community.
South Africa acknowledges and supports the important role that Jordan is playing. It has previously hosted reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah. Moreover, Jordan is home to a large number of Palestinian refugees and it is therefore in its interest to find a durable solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
These efforts undertaken by Jordan will indeed go a long way in enhancing the cordial bilateral relations between South Africa and Jordan as our two countries share the same vision in this regard and should therefore exchange ideas and work together more closely on the issue.
Ladies and Gentlemen, regarding the continuing conflict and deteriorating human rights situation characterising large parts of the Levant region, South Africa fully supports the current efforts by the United Nations to resolve conflict peacefully through dialogue. South Africa believes that political solutions that are fully inclusive, sovereign, for-the -people and by-the-people and supported by a united, cohesive international effort is the only viable way to resolve conflict.
Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen
Diplomatic relations between South Africa and Jordan are excellent. Jordan was the first Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with South Africa in 1993. The Embassy of South Africa was established in Amman in December 1993, whilst the Jordanian Embassy was opened in South Africa in June 1994. Our brothers and sisters from Jordan have thus been with us from our first steps as a democratic country.
South Africa hopes and believes that the bilateral relations between our countries have the potential to develop significantly and will grow from strength to strength in the future, with the emphasis on the trade and investment sphere, regardless of the challenging international environment that is prevailing.
South Africa and Jordan is therefore currently working towards the concluding of the Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Consultations with Jordan. The MoU recognizes the importance of a formalised and constructive dialogue concerning bilateral relations between the two countries, as well as the fact that there are regional and international issues of common interest between the two countries.
There is much scope for the improvement of economic relations between South Africa and Jordan. Jordan’s economy is relatively well diversified. Trade and finance combined account for nearly one-third of GDP; transportation and communication, public utilities, and construction account for one-fifth, and mining and manufacturing constitute nearly that proportion. South Africa and Jordan is therefore working towards identifying areas for trade promotion to deepen economic and trade ties between the two countries.
The country has a modern financial and banking system, good financial legislation and a pro-business environment. Jordan’s strategic position in the Middle East provides many opportunities for South African companies to engage in joint ventures with Jordanian partners, e.g. Group 5 is already involved in projects in Jordan and the Paramount Group has signed a joint venture agreement with a Jordanian company for the manufacturing of South African-designed military equipment in Jordan.
In this regard I can also mention that the World Economic Forum’s Middle East and North Africa Meeting 2015 was successfully hosted in the Dead Sea from 21 to 23 May on the theme: “Creating a New Regional Framework for Prosperity and Peace through Public-private Cooperation”. The meeting convened over 800 key leaders from government, business and civil society to support a comprehensive and forward looking vision for peace and prosperity, and is a further demonstration of Jordan’s economic leadership in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Once again, Your Excellency, on behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of South Africa, I wish to extend to His Majesty, King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein and the people of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, our warmest congratulations and best wishes for prosperity and progress, as we join you in celebrating the 69th Anniversary of the National Day of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
I thank you