Rasool credentials statement
11 Aug 2010
Your Excellency, President Obama
Members of the diplomatic corps and the press
Ladies and gentlemen
It is a great honour to be here as President Jacob Zuma's representative to the United States of America. I have a simple task: to deepen and consolidate the relationship between South Africa and the United States of America (USA) into a cooperative partnership.
Mr President, I arrive in your country at a time when the FIFA World Cup has focused the eyes of the world on South Africa. I dare say that South Africa's ability to surprise and delight continues, for, despite our many challenges the world found a continent bursting with potential, a country determined to develop and a nation warm and inviting. The World Cup does not represent the achievement of our aspirations, but the platform for the many things that still need to be done.
We have the benefit of a warm relationship that permeates from our respective Presidents and Ministers, and shaped by your excellent choice of Donald Gips as Ambassador to South Africa.
Ke Nako - the time is now for the strategic dialogue to realise our mutual priorities for good governance and democracy; for human rights and dignity; for peace and stability; for growth and development; for combating climate change; and for creating a society free of pandemics like HIV and AIDS, afflictions like violence and conditions like poverty.
Our cooperative partnership must be founded on the commitment to economic development as the most sustainable path to all our goals, including the urgent goal of an enduring peace and stability in the world. This is the lesson we learn in pursuit of the consolidation of the African Agenda. We are pleased that there is a convergence in our respective foreign policies of preventing and mitigating armed conflict, supporting economic growth in Africa and recognising Africa as, in your words, Mr President, “a fundamental part of our interconnected world." This agenda can be advanced if, amongst others, the USA supports the African Union’s endorsement earlier this year of South Africa’s candidature for the United Nation Security Council.
Our cooperative partnership has a firm foundation in the role that the USA is already playing through PEPFAR, through AGOA, through military and security cooperation, in the education sector, and in the expansion of trade and investment links between us.
Mr President, I have four years to realise the mandate that President Zuma has set for me. Four years from now I would like to look back on our cooperative partnership and say:
- That the Bilateral Energy Dialogue has begun to realise the benefits of our search for new sources and approaches to energy
- That we have given impetus to the United States - South Africa Partnership for Skills Development and that, truly, education is becoming the antidote to the legacy of apartheid
- That PEPFAR, and the Global Health Initiative have driven down HIV and AIDS mortality, and that our research programmes are continuing to bring new tools to the fight against this disease
- That, most importantly, in pursuit of economic growth and development we have not only maintained, but strengthened AGOA, that we have negotiated a viable TIDCA, that we have significantly increased mutual trade, tourism and investment, and that all of this is resulting in achieving the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).
Mr President, in 2006 I had the pleasure of hosting a certain Senator from Illinois in Cape Town. While discussing the joys of an inclusive, cosmopolitan world, and the blight of fundamentalist extremism, I had no idea that he would become the next president of the USA. I gave him an artwork of the first speech that Nelson Mandela delivered after 27 years in prison.
I hope that gift continues to inspire you, especially on days like 4 August. Maybe next year you should celebrate your birthday in South Africa. I will personally arrange that our streets be lined with vuvuzelas welcoming you.
Mr President, in this era of cooperative partnership and unprecedented goodwill between our nations, may I please present my letter of credence to you and the letter of recall from my predecessor.
Issued by: Department of International Relations and Cooperation
11 Aug 2010
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