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Opening remarks by Deputy President Paul Mashatile at the Official Talks during the Official Visit by Mrs Francia Elena Márquez, Vice President of the Republic of Colombia

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Your Excellency, Mrs Francia Elena Márquez, Vice President of the Republic of Colombia,
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Senior Officials,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Morning, 

Firstly, I would like to once again extend my warm greetings to you, Your Excellency Vice President Márquez and the Distinguished Delegation you have brought from the Republic of Colombia.  

I wish to express my distinct honour and delight to welcome you to South Africa. I am confident that you will enjoy your short stay in our beautiful country – South Africa.  

We consider your visit significant in many ways, especially as we begin to reactivate our bilateral relations following the election of the administration of H. E. President Gustav Francisco Petro in Colombia in 2022.

We offer our warm congratulations and best wishes to President Petro and his government.

I am particularly pleased that my first Official Visit as the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa is with you Vice President and that in your Africa tour, you chose South Africa as the first country to visit.

Your Excellency,

Our meeting today is historical, as there has not been this kind of high-level engagement between our two countries since the establishment of our diplomatic relations. Even more so, for us, to host the first Afro-descendent and female Vice President of the Republic of Colombia.  

Indeed, we are very much honoured, Your Excellency and welcome this progress in our endeavour to have more women leaders.

This meeting also represents a significant milestone, as we meet today to lay the foundation and roadmap for bilateral and multilateral cooperation between our two countries. Our countries share similar values of democracy, peaceful resolution of conflicts, sustainable development, the rule of law, and the reform of multilateral institutions.

These shared values provided a good basis for building strong, results-oriented and mutually beneficial relations that will contribute to addressing our national development priorities.

To this end, I look forward to our discussions on ways to achieve a pragmatic roadmap for bilateral cooperation in number of areas such as agribusiness; defence; environment; mining; energy; science and innovation; sports, arts and culture; trade and economic relations; tourism and transport.

Your Excellency,

It is imperative that South Africa and Colombia, as progressive countries of the South and other like-minded partners, should strengthen our resolve to advance the development agenda of the South and global governance reforms with a view of renewing and pursuing our collective global commitment to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  

I am particularly pleased with the government of Colombia’s policy to re-activate relations with the African Continent.  

South Africa further welcomes your commitment to contributing to the success of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, as our Continent is advancing peace, security and development in Africa and in particular, to achieving the goal of an African continent free from war and conflict, but rather thrives and develops.   

Once more, I would like to reiterate my profound appreciation to you and your Delegation for visiting our country to map a path of bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

I now invite you, Madam Vice President, to make your opening remarks.

I thank you.