Item 1448 - State visit by President Mandela to Saudi Arabia : State visit by President Mandela to Saudi Arabia 16- 17 November 1997

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ZA COM MR-S-1448

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State visit by President Mandela to Saudi Arabia : State visit by President Mandela to Saudi Arabia 16- 17 November 1997

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  • 1997-11-13 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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  • English

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TRANSCRIPT

BACKGROUND BRIEFING
The President will be the first South African Head of State to pay a state visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. President Mandela visited Saudi Arabia privately in 1994.
Since the advent of democracy in South Africa, strong relationships are being established on a consistent basis with states in the Gulf region. This visit is aimed at harnessing the potential for expanded co-operation between South Africa and Saudi Arabia which would impact positively on future relations between the Gulf Co-operation Council and the SADC region.
The President will meet King Fahad and the Crown Prince Abdullah and a state banquet will be held in his honour. The President will be accompanied by the Ministers of Defence, Minerals and Energy, Public Enterprises and Trade and Industry who are to pursue further avenues for co-operation in their respective fields.
SAUDI ARABIA
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was created between 1924 and 1932 when Ibn Saud united the territories which he had captured from the Ottoman Empire and remained leader until his death in 1953. All subsequent rulers of Saudi Arabia have been his sons. King Fahad is the current ruler and President of the Council of Ministers. his half brother, Abdullah is crown prince and first Deputy President of the Council of Ministers. His brother, Prince Sultan, is second Deputy President of the Council of Ministers and is Minister of Defence and Aviation. Other sons of Ibn Saud hold key ministerial or governorship positions.
Saudi Arabia is particularly significant for Muslims because it is the birthplace of the Prophet Mohamed. Every year millions of Muslims from around the world go to Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage and millions more visit the country throughout the year.
The Saudi economy, previously based on subsistence agriculture, livestock and the pilgrimage, took a sudden turn when oil was discovered in 1938. This became the chief source of government income and foreign exchange after World War II. The Kingdom possesses the world's largest reserves of oil and substantial reserves of natural gas. Saudi Arabia has used this income to finance an ambitious programme of infrastructural development and modernisation.
Saudi Arabia is a member of the Gulf Co-operation Council, formed in 1981 by six gulf states for military, economic and security co-operation. Saudi Arabia was a founder member of the Arab League and also belongs to OPEC.
Under a co-operation agreement signed in 1974 between the USA and Saudi Arabia, the USA as one of the primary oil consumers agreed to assist Saudi Arabia to diversify and industrialise its economy. Saudi Arabia has important trade and military links with the European Union, especially the UK and France.
The Gulf war imposed great cost on Saudi Arabia contributing to pressures on the government to modify its economic policies by cutting government spending.
Since the Gulf war Saudi Arabia has embarked on expansion of its military power in efforts to build up its own defence against external threats and also to reduce reliance on the USA.
SAUDI ARABIA AND SOUTH AFRICA Diplomatic relations
South Africa and Saudi Arabia established diplomatic relations on 29 October 1994 and diplomatic missions are stationed in both countries.
Economic relations
In December 1996 Deputy President Mbeki paid a successful visit to Saudi Arabia when he announced the formation of a South Africa- Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership which would entail co-operation in a number of fields.
South African exports to Saudi Arabia have doubled since 1994 but there is much room for further development in trade between South Africa and Saudi Arabia especially in oil and defence equipment. In 1996 South Africa imported only 2,3% of its total crude oil requirements from Saudi Arabia. Saudi interest has been expressed in South African military products.
Trade statistics
Year South Africa exports South Africa imports 1994 R215 603 837 R 35 490 536 1995 R326 278
640 8753 715 920 1996 R428 046 743 R932 867 404
These figures do not include the sale of military equipment. The import of oil were included in the trade figures from 1995 onwards, thus the sudden jump in imports from 1995 to 1996.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation. Accessioned on 08/02/2010 by Zintle Bambata

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