Item 1470 - Joint Statement on State visit of President Bongo : State visit of President Bongo of Gabon to South Africa 20- 22 November 1996

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ZA COM MR-S-1470


Joint Statement on State visit of President Bongo : State visit of President Bongo of Gabon to South Africa 20- 22 November 1996


  • 1996-11-22 (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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Visit by President Bongo of Gabon

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  • English

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At the invitation of the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Mr Nelson Mandela, the President of the Republic of Gabon, His Excellency El Hadj Omar Bongo, undertook a state visit to South Africa from 20 to 22 November 1996.
The visit afforded the two Heads of State the opportunity to review bilateral cooperation between Gabon and South Africa, as well as the present situation in Africa and the world.

President Nelson Mandela paid tribute to President Omar Bongo for the major role he has played in the decolonisation of Africa, his support for the liberation movements and encouragement of the democratisation process in South Africa, as well as his role in the mediation of conflict situations on the African continent. President Mandela also expressed South Africa's sincere appreciation for the influential role that President Bongo, the doyen of the Francophone African Heads of State, is playing in the search for peaceful solutions through dialogue, and for his efforts directed at the lessening of the financial burdens that Africa must bear.

For his part, President Omar Bongo, on behalf of his wife and the delegation which accompanied them, expressed his sincere gratitude to President Nelson Mandela and the people of South Africa for their warm and spontaneous welcome, as well as for the hospitality extended to them during their stay in South Africa. President Omar Bongo also conveyed to President Mandela and to the people of South Africa, the feelings of friendship and admiration of the fraternal people of Gabon.

The Gabonese Head of State saluted the courage, perseverance and wisdom with which President Mandela led the South African people to the miracle of a peaceful, non-racial democracy, and for the insight and dedication, with which he is making his very important contribution to the strengthening of unity and solidarity in Africa.

The two Heads of State reviewed the current conflicts on the African continent, particularly that in the Great Lakes region. They agreed that everything possible should be done, within the framework of the OAU and the United Nations, to rapidly find lasting solutions to these conflicts and to the human tragedy associated therewith. They reaffirmed their strong support for the mechanism of the OAU for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, with special reference to the early prevention of conflicts by means of an Early Warning System.

President Mandela and President Bongo noted with satisfaction the growing cooperation between Gabon and South Africa, as well as the increasing economic interaction between the two countries. The two Heads of State signed a Declaration of Intent pertaining to a number of accords being negotiated between Gabon and South Africa, such as on the Reciprocal Protection of Investments, the Elimination of Double Taxation and a Maritime Agreement. The rapid progress made in cementing relations in the sphere of national defence, encompassing the servicing of aircraft and ships, training of staff and high-level visits, was also noted with satisfaction.

Presidents Bongo and Mandela signalled their pleasure at the considerable increase in the volume of trade registered during the past four years. They noted with satisfaction South African investment in Gabon, such as the acquisition of a shareholding in the Comilog manganese mine by South African interests.

President Bongo appealed to South African businessmen to continue to invest in Gabon, especially with regard to the fulfilment of the Poubara II project which will improve the electrification of the country.

The two Presidents welcomed the growing interaction in the medical field between the two countries.

Both Heads of State underlined their commitment to increasing inter-African trade, through the promotion of open markets and the elimination of non-tariff barriers. They furthermore expressed their support for initiatives aimed at the strengthening of ties between the important Gulf of Guinea and Southern African regional economies.

The two Presidents agreed to entrust the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) with the task of finalising the establishment of a Stock Exchange in Gabon.

The two Heads of State expressed the hope that this state visit would contribute to the further strengthening of the excellent relations of friendship and co-operation which exist between the Governments and people of Gabon and South Africa.

President Bongo extended an invitation to President Mandela, which he accepted, to pay a State Visit to Gabon at a date to be determined through diplomatic channels.

Issued at Pretoria, this twenty second day of November 1996.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation. Accessioned on 09/02/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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