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Opening remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa during official talks, Sahawari State Visit, Union Buildings

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Your Excellency, President Brahim Ghali,
Honourable Ministers,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa I welcome you, Mr President, and your esteemed delegation on this significant visit to South Africa.

We enjoy fraternal bilateral relations anchored not only on our shared history of struggle, but also on our common vision for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

We proudly recall that we signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Diplomatic Consultations in 2013.

Since then, we had regular strategic exchanges focusing on issues of mutual interest at regional, continental and international levels.

Our strategic relationship has ensured that we have been able to cooperate at the African Union on major continental issues, including upholding the Constitutive Act of the African Union.

Your visit to South Africa is a reunion of comrades who share common views and interests, and who together seek to the struggle for freedom, self-determination and territorial integrity.

South Africa stands by its principled position on the right to self-determination for the Saharawi people as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Constitutive Act of the African Union.

We firmly believe that any misinterpretation of the right to freedom and human dignity constitutes a grave betrayal of our own struggle for freedom and our commitment to the UN Charter and the AU Constitutive Act.

We remain concerned about the prolonged suffering of the Saharawi people.

As the African Union works to attain the aspirations for a peaceful, secure, integrated and prosperous Africa, we are reminded that the decolonisation of Africa is incomplete.

The decolonisation of Western Sahara is essential to the achievement of the Africa we want.

We need to intensify international pressure so that the long-delayed referendum on the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara is held.

In this regard, we reiterate our call for both parties to resume direct negotiations in good faith and without preconditions to achieve a mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

We call for an end to human rights abuses against the Saharawi people and for the extension of the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to include the monitoring of human rights.

I am certain that our engagement today will contribute to a strengthening of the existing bilateral relationship and practical actions of solidarity.

Our two nations will continue to exchange views on how to intensify diplomatic pressure in our efforts to achieve the speedy resolution of the question of Western Sahara.

Your Excellency, I once again welcome you and your delegation to South Africa, your home away from home.

I thank you.