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SA Deputy President champions Gaza peace and economic ties at Saudi-Africa Summit

Standard Lesotho Bank launches groundbreaking M11 million cashback rewards for loyal customers footer
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SA Deputy President champions Gaza peace and economic ties at Saudi-Africa Summit

Tulani Ngwenya

PRETORIA, South Africa – Paul Mashatile, the Deputy President of South Africa, took centre stage at the inaugural Saudi-Africa Summit on Friday, November 10, 2023. Speaking on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa, Mashatile conveyed warm greetings and congratulations to His Majesty, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and the Saudi people.

Opening his speech, Mashatile underscored the profound interconnectedness of the global community, stating, “The world is an interconnected village. The destiny of all human beings is equally connected.” His remarks set the tone for a discourse that would touch on critical global issues.

Expressing deep concern over the conflict in Gaza, Mashatile did not mince words in condemning the Israeli Defence Force’s actions. “Israel’s continued violation of the UN resolution on the implementation of a ceasefire and the creation of a human corridor in Gaza is causing more deaths, exacerbating human suffering, and polarisation throughout the region and beyond,” he declared, shedding light on the urgency of addressing the crisis.

Revealing South Africa’s stance, Mashatile announced, “The Government of South Africa has recalled our diplomats from Tel Aviv for consultations. We call on other governments to do the same to communicate the message that humanity will not permit any state, however powerful, to kill innocent people.”

In a poignant moment, Mashatile invoked the words of President Mandela, stating, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” Urging support for Palestine, he called upon his fellow leaders, saying, “I urge you, Excellencies, that we stress the message of support to the people of Palestine when we adopt the declaration of this summit this afternoon.”

Transitioning to the historical ties between the Arabian Peninsula and Africa, Mashatile praised Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian efforts on the continent. “Saudi Arabia has initiated and led humanitarian efforts in Africa through the Saudi Fund for Development and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre,” he remarked, highlighting the Kingdom’s role in times of crisis, notably in Sudan.

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Delving into the economic realm, Mashatile emphasised, “Saudi Arabia is poised as one of the foremost partners to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which came into force in 2021, and represents a landmark step towards African integration and economic transformation.”

Quoting President Mandela once again, Mashatile reminded the audience, “As President Mandela said after South Africa’s triumph over apartheid, ‘We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.’”

Closing with optimism for the summit’s outcomes, he stated, “Your Majesty, we look forward to fruitful outcomes of the first-ever Saudi Africa summit. Between our sister peoples and our ancient cultures, we have a duty to build a better world, the world we want.”

The impactful speech showcased Mashatile’s unwavering commitment to peace, justice, and the strengthening of Saudi-African relations.

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