Item 770 - Statement on the visit to Libya, Egypt and Morocco by President Mandela in October 1997

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Statement on the visit to Libya, Egypt and Morocco by President Mandela in October 1997


  • 1997-10-14 (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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South African Government Information website

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Visit by President Mandela to Libya, Egypt

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  • English

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President Nelson Mandela will visit the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and the Arab Republic of Egypt in North Africa, en route to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which will be held in the United Kingdom on 24-27 October 1997. The President will also visit the Kingdom of Morocco immediately after the CHOGM meeting. The President's visits are taking place in response to invitations that he has received from the respective Heads of State. The visits also emphasize the importance of the North African region to South Africa, i.e. the South African ability to provide technology for the exploitation of the resources in the region.

Apart from attending the OAU Summit in Tunis in 1994, this will be the President's first official visit to North Africa since his inauguration in 1994. North Africa is increasingly becoming an important trading partner for South Africa as well as an important partner within the context of the Organisation of African Unity.

The President's decision to visit Libya comes in response to a long-standing invitation from the Libyan Head of State, Colonel Qadhafi. Libya is a country which was very supportive of the South African liberation movements during the struggle against apartheid and is one of the countries that the President has not visited since his inauguration. Relations between South Africa and Libya have been on a sound footing since the democratic election of 1994. Both countries have expressed the wish to expand trade relations. Currently bilateral trade is limited. However, Libya remains a potentially significant trading partner for South Africa.

The President was invited to visit Egypt by Egyptian President Hosni Mohamed Mubarak. The invitation was handed over by Egyptian Foreign Minister Moussa during his recent visit to South Africa from 24 to 26 August 1997, as head of the delegation attending the Second Ministerial Joint bilateral Commission meeting in Pretoria. The Minister's delegation included a strong contingent of prominent Egyptian business people, and many possibilities for future expansion of trade and other economic opportunities were discussed.

Two-way trade with Egypt has growth from R61 million before normalisation in 1994 to R410 million in 1996. There is extensive contact in agriculture, technology, multilateral issues, and exchanges of information. It is expected that President Mandela's visit will focus on economic matters and further strengthen South Africa's relations with Egypt.

The already cordial bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Morocco and South Africa were strengthened by the establishment of a Joint Bilateral Commission in February 1996, thereby diversifying trade exchanges in order to take advantage of the great potential which exists in both countries. The visit by President Mandela to Morocco is expected to further promote existing relations.

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: South African Government Information website. Accessioned on 15/12/06 by Helen Joannides




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