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Toast remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the State Banquet during the State Visit to the United Kingdom

Your Majesty,
Thank you for your kind remarks and the warm welcome that you and the Queen Consort have extended to me and to the members of the South African delegation.
On behalf of the people of South Africa, I extend warm greetings to Your Majesty and through you to the people of the United Kingdom.
I feel very privileged that I and my country, South Africa, have the distinct honour of being your first guests on a State Visit since you acceded to the throne following the passing of your beloved Mother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whom we honour here this evening.
It is a sign of the goodwill and sincere friendship that our countries enjoy.
South Africa and the United Kingdom have a special historical relationship.
It is a relationship that we value and that we seek to deepen.
Since the advent of democracy in South Africa, the ties between our countries have become stronger and have embraced an expanding range of interests.
We recall with great fondness the first State Visit to the United Kingdom by a democratically elected President of South Africa, in 1996.
The special friendship between President Nelson Mandela and your late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, is legendary.
It provides a very strong foundation upon which we can now further our relations.
Your Majesty,
Distinguished Guests,
In times of uncertainty and instability, a friendship such as ours is particularly important.
We are urged by our common commitment to peace, stability, democracy and shared prosperity to work together to overcome the difficulties of the present and prepare ourselves for the challenges of the future.
It is only through partnership and collaboration that we may answer the crises that confront humanity and improve the lives and prospects of all our people.
It is my sincere wish that through this visit, we will expand the scope and deepen the value of our relationship.
We look forward through this visit to reinforce our cooperation in areas such as investment and trade, in education and skills development, in health and in science and innovation.
We look forward to strengthening the ties between the British and South Africa people through tourism, sport, arts and culture.
For now, it is perhaps best that I steer clear of the upcoming rugby match on Saturday.
Your Majesty,
I wish to compliment you personally on your visionary leadership on environmental issues, especially with respect to conservation and the fight against climate change.
These are critically important areas for my country and we are pleased that the United Kingdom is a partner in the Just Energy Transition Partnership.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Please join me and raise your glasses as I propose a toast to the good health and prosperity of His Majesty, The King and Her Majesty the Queen Consort.
I thank you.