L’ambassadeur Mohamed Lamine Laabas prononcé
A l’occasion da la fête nationale du 1er novembre.
Excellency OBED BAPELA, deputy minister in the presidency
Excellency Bene Mpoko the Dean of the diplomatic corps,
Excellency Hassan Badr al Ogab the dean of the Arab
Ambassador Ashraf Suleiman chief directorate North Africa
Excellencies ambassadors and high commissioners,
Members of the diplomatic corps,
Comrades from the ANC
Representatives of Umkhonto We Sizwe
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for joining us today for the celebration of the 58th anniversary of the 1st November 1954 that marks the beginning of the armed struggle by the Algerian people to restore their sovereignty.
This year, we are also celebrating fifty years of our independence which came at a pricey cost, as 1 million and a half Algerian lost their lives for the sake of freedom and independence.
As most newly independent countries have come to realize, the task of building a free and democratic society was a great challenge that needed deep reforms, a whole rethinking and some urgent actions to deal with the colonial legacy of illiteracy, inequality and poverty.
Algeria, which has been recovering from a painful decade of terrorism embarked on a process of national reconstruction and deep political, economic and social reforms and committed itself to the consolidation of the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights.
Throughout this painful episode of its history, the country opted for an inclusive and peaceful reconciliation that was later embodied through the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation, massively adopted through a referendum.
The charter for peace and national reconciliation contributed to close the chapter of terrorism and helped the Algerian society to move forward.
Among the lessons learnt , was that democracy, peace and stability cannot be imposed from abroad, nor can it be reached without the full implication of the whole society, it can only be achieved through inclusive and constructive dialogue and the common will for a prosperous future.
As democracy is a process and not finality in itself, and in order to respond to the expectations of the Algerian people, the country embarked ten years ago on a wide range of political, economic and social reforms that went hand in hand with growth and development plans aiming at national reconstruction and development among which:
On the political level:
In the process of strengthening the path of democracy and the rule of law launched ten years ago, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika invited the Algerian people, on the 15th of April 2011, to an open and constructive dialogue about further constitutional, political and social reforms.
This initiative led to fundamental reforms, which among others, provided that a quota of 1/3 of the members of the parliament is to be reserved to the women together with the widening of the space for private TVs, radios and other Medias, currently under implementation.
On the socio-economic level:
The second growth and development plan 2010-2014 dedicates 286 million dollars to the realization of infrastructure projects.
40 percent of this amount is dedicated to foster human development through education, training, and building of infrastructures (hospitals, universities, and housing)
Moreover, the growth and development plan focuses on youth and their aspirations of education, training and employment.
50 million US dollars are dedicated to job creation and professional insertion.
Furthermore; Algeria has refunded its foreign debt of 16 billion dollars with anticipation from 2004-2006, paving the way for a stronger financial management of its economy at the national level and bolstering the country’s position on the global financial arena.
Algeria is highly concerned with the situation that prevails in its region and strongly believes that peace and stability in its neighboring countries is critical to peace and stability in Africa and to international peace as a whole. Algeria has reiterated its commitment to peace and stability, and is of the view that these objectives should be achieved through the respect of international legality and national sovereignty.
Algeria strongly believes in political dialogue to help settle conflict and consider military intervention as the last solution when all other possibilities have been explored.
Concerning our bilateral relations with the republic of South Africa, it is to be recalled that the common history of the struggle for freedom led by the Algerian and South African people has been the foundation of the deeply rooted relations between our two countries and our people
Even before its independence, Algeria committed itself to support all independence movements in Africa, and particularly South Africa, by offering support and assistance to the ANC and the hosting of many of its leaders such as struggle icon Nelson Mandela who fifty years ago, the 7th November 1962, was convicted and sentenced to five years prison which in fact was the beginning of a long detention, twenty seven and half years, until his release on February, 11th, 1990.
Algeria played a key role in the international arena and particularly the United Nations in lobbying for the South African struggle.
Today, we are delighted of the strategic and flourishing relations existing between Algeria and South Africa on all fields of activities.
In this context, the 5th session of the joint binational commission was held in Algiers under the auspices of president Abdelaziz bouteflika and President Jacob Zuma and led to the conclusion of 26 agreements in the flagship sectors of energy, science and technology, labour and trade.
Progress is underway to convene the 6th session of this commission.
Moreover, Algeria and South Africa, key actors on the African continent, share the same vision and aspirations for the African continent and have been working tirelessly through the AU, the NEPAD and the regional bodies to place the continent on the path of modernity, prosperity and development and to promote the principle of African solutions to African problems.
Allow me to conclude with the words of .Mme. Maite Nkoana, Mashabane expressed during the opening of the 5th high binational commission held in Algiers and I quote“it’s a partnership of exception, based on the blood of our elders and we have to honor it”.
Finally, it is my great honor and pleasure to propose a toast to the health and well being of our two presidents and to the progress and prosperity of our two people.
Long live the south African- Algerian friendship.
EMBASSY OF ALGERIA SOUTH AFRICA