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The diplomacy of Singapore, India and Sri Lanka: Bringing ASEAN and SAARC closer

By Srimal Fernando Global Editor of The Diplomatic Society and Megha Gupta

Singapore is powerfully positioned among the Southeast Asian countries. The founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, had set the core foreign policies for the nation which had been taken forward by Singapore’s first foreign minister S. Rajaratnam.

The first foreign minister had believed that Singapore must always maintain good and friendly relations with its neighbors, especially the ones in the Asia Pacific region. India with its current foreign policy of Act East, coincides with the goal of Singapore’s Asia Pacific policy. India’s southern neighbor Sri Lanka has also strengthened its foreign policy with Singapore by improving its political and economic ties with Singapore. The historical links between Singapore, India and Sri Lanka can be drawn from their principles of Non-Alignment and Commonwealth of Nations.


120th Anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence

12 June 2018, Pretoria, South Africa

Message of Ambassador Joseph Gerard B. Angeles on the occasion of the 120th Anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence and 25 Years of Philippines – South Africa Diplomatic Relations

Photo: Ambassador Joseph Gerard B. Angeles of Philippines and South African Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi raising a toast

It has been twelve decades since Philippine revolutionaries declared our country’s independence, and since then our people have cherished the values of freedom, self-determination and democracy. While the sound of revolutionary cannon fire has long been drowned out by the busy noises of rapid industrialization and urbanization in Philippine cities, the Filipino people continue with the same zeal and fervor to obtain the fruits of that freedom – to be free from poverty, inequality, and lack of access to economic opportunity. And I have the honor and pleasure of informing you that through hard work, we are succeeding.


Indonesian Ambassador Al Farisi arrives in South Africa

11 June 2018

On 9 June 2018, the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to South Africa, the Republic of Botswana, Lesotho and the Kingdom of Eswatini Ambassador Salman Al Farisi arrived at O.R Tambo Airport Johannesburg.

Photo (l-r) Chad Jacinto - Consul at Philippines Embassy, Ambassador Vu Van Dzung of Vietnam, Ambassador U Myint Swe of Myanmar, Jabu Msibi from DIRCO, Ambassador Salman Al Farisi of Indonesia, High Commissioner Mohamad Nizan Mohamad of Malaysia, Terence Hong - First Secretary - Singapore High Commission and Paisit Boonparlit - Charge d’ affaires of the Royal Thai Embassy

Following ASEAN tradition in South Africa, the arrival of Ambassador Salman Al Farisi was welcomed by all Ambassadors and representatives of the 6 ASEAN countries in Pretoria, namely Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines and a representative from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa.

In Pretoria, Ambassador Salman Al Farisi took time to break the fast and tarawih prayer with the Indonesian community.


Conference on Opportunities and Challenges of China-Africa Industrial Cooperation

11 June 2018

On June 8th, the seminar on "Opportunities and Challenges of China-Africa Industrial Cooperation" jointly hosted by the Chinese Embassy in South Africa and the Human Science Research Council was successfully held in Pretoria. H.E. Ambassador Lin Songtian of China to South Africa, and Deputy Minister Obed Bapela of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs attended and delivered keynote speeches.

More than 20 distinguished guests spoke at the meeting, including H.E. Ambassador Zhou Yuxiao of the FOCAC Affairs, Chinese experts and scholars from Tsinghua University, Peking University, China Institute of International Studies, Shanghai Institute of International Studies and China-Africa Fund, as well as governments, think tanks and universities, including South African Presidential Office, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Human Science Research Council, Johannesburg University, the University of Abuja in Nigeria, the Central African Studies Commission in Ethiopia, and the Institute for Democratic Governance in Ghana, international organizations such as the United Nations Economic Commission and the University of London in the United Kingdom.


G7 Leaders' summit a success

11 June 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa has concluded his working visit to Canada, where he participated in the G7 Leaders’ Outreach Summit, the Presidency said.

South Africa’s participation in the two-day session, which was held under the theme ‘Healthy, Productive and Resilient Oceans and Seas, Coasts and Communities’, was at the invitation of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

(Photo credit: GCIS)

“President Ramaphosa returns to South Africa greatly encouraged by the commitment by global leaders to harness the potential of our oceans for development and the very strong message from the G7 Outreach Summit to place youth and women in particular at the centre of efforts to make inequality history,” the Presidency said.

The President described the summit as a success and stressed the importance of the strong political signal delivered by the G7 Leaders’ Outreach focus on developing and implementing innovative strategies to leapfrog the global effort to address issues facing the world’s oceans, including stressors such as plastic pollution, building the resilience of coasts and communities, improving the protection of the world’s oceans and ensuring sustainable use of marine resources.


South Africa elected to the Non-Permanent Seat in the UN Security Council

Media Remarks by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu following South Africa's Election to the Non-Permanent Seat in the Un Security Council

8 JUNE 2018

We wish to express our sincere appreciation to the Member States of the UN General Assembly for supporting South Africa's candidacy for the non-permanent seat on the Security Council for the period 2019-2020. We are honoured and humbled by this gesture of confidence.

As you will know, this will be South Africa's third term on the UN Security Council, having previously served in 2007-2008 and 2011-2012. Our tenure in the Security Council will be dedicated to the legacy of President Nelson Mandela and his commitment to peace. In marking his centenary this year, a Summit on Peace will be held on the eve of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in September.


President to the Afrikanerbond: “Land shall be shared”

8 June 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa told congregants at the centenary celebrations of the Afrikanerbond that land needs to be shared in order to reduce poverty and unlock its economic value to benefit all South Africans.

The President on Thursday night said the Afrikanerbond should not see the acceleration of land reform as a threat but as an opportunity to build a more equitable society.

He said this when he addressed the 100th anniversary of the Afrikanerbond at the Rhebokskloof wine farm in Paarl in the Western Cape.

He said government’s land reform programme, particularly the resolution for land expropriation without compensation, provides the country with an opportunity to move together with purpose and determination to address one of the most contentious issues in the country’s history.

“I want to emphasise this point, that the land shall be shared.

“The land should never have been and will not be reserved for one group of South Africans.

“Our aim must be to ensure that all those who work the land – and who want to work the land – should be equally able to have such land.

“By the same measure, all those who need land, whether to build a house or to run a business, should be equally able to have title to land in well-located parts of our towns and cities,” he said.



Ministers lay BRICS foundation for July summit

4 June 2018

The five major emerging economies -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) grouping -- ended their meeting on Monday with a common voice on major issues on the international agenda.

From increased BRICS cooperation, security, economic, financial and sustainable development spheres, the grouping’s foreign affairs ministers, who were meeting in Pretoria, came out with a united equal voice.

A communique issued after their second formal meeting, which was chaired by International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, first reflected on the importance of this year marking a decade of BRICS Summits. She said it was a testimony to the fortitude of BRICS cooperation and reiterated the commitment to implement the outcomes and consensus of past BRICS Summits.

“The ministers recalled the BRICS tradition of outreach to extend its cooperation to fellow developing and emerging economies,” read the communique, issued at the end of the meeting, which was attended by Sisulu’s counterparts - China's Wang Yi, Russia’s Sergey Lavrov, India’s Sushma Swaraj and Brazil’s Marcos Galvão.


The South African Embassy in Greece visits Thessaloniki

6 June 2018

On 8 May 2018, the South African Embassy celebrated Freedom Day in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece.

Around 250 high-profile guests including MPs, the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, mayors, businesspeople, journalists and celebrities attended the National Day, which was held in the magnificent garden of Mr Vassilis Takas, South African Honorary Consul in Thessaloniki.  

Earlier in the day Ambassador Marthinus van Schalkwyk (pictured left) addressed a targeted business seminar held at the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industries, making a strong case for business in Northern Greece and the Balkans to invest and trade with South Africa and Africa. 

Three South African movies were also screened during the 7th African Film week held in Thessaloniki that week.


Independence Day of Georgia and 100th Anniversary of the Establishment of Georgia’s First Democratic Republic

5 June 2018

Speech by H.E. Mr. Beka Dvali, Ambassador of Georgia on the occasion of The Independence Day of Georgia and 100th Anniversary of the Establishment of Georgia’s First Democratic Republic

Pretoria, Republic of South Africa
4 June 2018

Photo: Mr Beka Dvali, Ambassador of Georgia addressing guests

I personally and my colleagues from the Georgian Embassy in Pretoria are thrilled and humbled to have so many of our friends celebrating Georgia’s Independence Day and 100th Anniversary of the Establishment of Georgia’s First Democratic Republic with us. Thank you so much for being with us this evening!

And it is such a coincidence that in 2018 South Africa also marks an important Centenary - 100 years from the birthday of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, founding father of a democratic South Africa and its first President. On behalf of Georgia, allow me to congratulate the South African Government, all South Africans and indeed the whole world on this occasion. Mandela has inspired and will continue to inspire generations worldwide by the very character of his example of selfless service to his Nation.



May 2018






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