Remarks With South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
September 16, 2015

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. I’m really pleased to be able to welcome for a series of meetings today in our Strategic Dialogue the Foreign Minister of South Africa Nkoana-Mashabane. And it’s my pleasure to report that South Africa is playing an increasingly important global role, a very important leadership role on the continent of Africa, and, we are pleased to say, an important cooperative role together with the United States.

Our bilateral trade relationship is a $20 billion-a-year trade relationship and growing. South Africa has made an important democratic transition, which is vital as an example to the world, stands up for human rights, has made a very important commitment on the health sector, and will be the first country in all of Africa to have taken over total management of the HIV/AIDS program, PEPFAR, which is an important transition that we’ve been working on together. And we continue to work on security issues, on leadership issues within the continent and elsewhere, as well as a particular commitment on the energy sector.

So with the Climate Change Conference coming up in Paris and renewable energy, a commitment South Africa has made, again, that’s an important role that South Africa can play in the days ahead. So very happy to welcome my friend here today, and we look forward to a very fruitful Strategic Dialogue.

FOREIGN MINISTER NKOANA-MASHABANE: Well, Secretary Kerry, it’s indeed an honor for us to be received by yourself here. Can I say our in-law? Because your wife was born in Mozambique.

SECRETARY KERRY: That’s right, and educated in South Africa.

FOREIGN MINISTER NKOANA-MASHABANE: And educated in South Africa. So it is a great honor for us to come here and continue with this very, very important dialogue forum with the United States of America and the leadership of the State Secretary, to also confirm that we are friends, we have very strong bilateral ties, we have values and principles of democracy, good governance, and defense for human rights, but South Africa indeed has transited and gave birth to a democracy, and we’ve been maintaining the (inaudible) of that for the past 21 years.

Our economy is growing and the economic cooperation between our two countries. Indeed, the United States of America’s investors in South Africa – 600 companies are very comfortable in South Africa and the number is growing, and the U.S. has become the biggest foreign direct investor, the third trading partner, and this we see growing. More than 15,000 new jobs have been created through this partnership. We’re very happy with PEPFAR, the health cooperation program. We are finalizing the final details of our AGOA, and we’re going to take this opportunity to thank the U.S. Government for having kept South Africa in the AGOA Forum for the next coming 10 years. We’ll continue to work together, indeed, for issues of peace and security, particularly cooperation in line with Resolution 2033 of the United Nations Security Council, that we will cooperate with permanent members of the Security Council and the Security Council at large on issues of peace and security on our continent. And during our dialogue forum, we’ll also be looking at specific areas that need our immediate attention.

Always a pleasure, and we’re looking forward to growing these very important ties between the two democracies.