New envoys told to strengthen relations, explore SA

President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday received Letters of Credence from 15 ambassadors and high commissioners-designate.

The countries that handed their credence letters include: Myanmar, Egypt, El Salvador, Tunisia, Romania, Vietnam, Mauritius, Bulgaria, Djibouti, Saharawi, Seychelles, Qatar, New Zealand, Senegal and France.

His message to them was simple: continue strengthening relations that exist between the respective countries and explore South Africa.

Addressing the new envoys at a ceremony held at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse, in Pretoria, President Zuma urged them to explore areas of cooperation despite the difficult global economic conditions.

We are the most sort after investment destination in the continent and indeed a gateway to Africa. We believe that the conducive environment that exists in our country will enable us to attract more investment into our shores and the continent at large.

In this regard, I would like to encourage you to explore more areas of cooperation for mutual benefit, between South Africa and your respective countries.

He assured them that South Africa enjoys a robust and stable democracy defined by a strong Constitution and an abiding rule of law.

With the fourth industrial revolution upon us, President Zuma said this provides numerous opportunities.

We need to mitigate possible negative impacts of this revolution to developing economies. We must ensure that it contributes to the betterment of lives of our people particularly the poor and marginalised and the youth, the President said.

He also encouraged them not only to explore the capital but other provinces.

Explore and enjoy. We have the beautiful Cape Town, Durban as well as many other towns. We have a range of mountains that behave differently in climate, we have good games with the BIG five - please don't leave South Africa without realising that there are actually more than five.

The new envoys, who brought greeting from their respective presidents, committed to strengthening bilateral relations.

French Ambassador-Designate Christophe Farnaud said South Africa and France have strategic relations based on mutual trust friendship. He vowed he will use his tenure to continue on this path.

France supports the transformation process of South Africa; be it political, economic or social. We have a lot of French companies that have already invested here but we now intend to develop more people-to-people initiatives like in sport, he said.

New Zealand like Bulgaria looked forward to blossomed trade relations and deepened cooperation.

Senegal's Ambassador-Designate came bearing thanks from his President Macky Sall for South Africa's support for New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) during the Gambian political crisis.

Senegal has declared 2017 as a year of culture. We have a plan to pair Goree Island and Robben Island. The project is part of efforts to understand the history and culture of Senegal. This is part of our history, the ambassador said, hoping to enforce cultural relations.

President Zuma congratulates US President

Meanwhile, President Zuma used the opportunity to welcome the new administration of the United States of America under President Donald Trump.

We wish President Trump well in his tenure. We hope for more improved relations with international community especially with the developing world. At the same time we trust that former President Barrack Obama's contribution will not be lost to the international community, said President Zuma.

Trump, was sworn in as the 45th US President on Friday with commitment to put "America first as well as to seek "friendship" but cautioned all decisions and all relations would continue to be judged by what is best for Americans, regardless of consequence.

Source: South African Government News Agency