S Africa, Iran to ‘weather the storm together’: amb. Khumalo

TEHRAN, Apr. 25 (MNA) – South African embassy in Tehran celebrated the country’s Freedom Day on Wed., during which Ambassador Khumalo stressed the two countries’ resolve to continue developing relations in the face of all existing challenges.

South Africa celebrates its national day on April 27, designated as Freedom Day to mark the day in 1994 when the first democratic election was held in the country and ushered in a new era after a long period of colonialism and White minority domination, known as apartheid.

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of their Freedom Day, the South African embassy in Tehran held a ceremony on Wednesday evening, with representatives and diplomats from a number of embassies in Tehran in attendance.

The ceremony was opened by a speech by South African Ambassador to Tehran, V. M. Khumalo, followed by a speech by assistant to Iranian Foreign Minister in African Affairs, Mehdi Agha-Jafari. The two then proceeded to cut a South African flag cake in honor of the country’s Freedom Day.

Addressing the attendees, Ambassador Khumalo said Freedom Day ushered in a new beginning of hope for a transformative future for all South Africans, as everyone for the first time in 25 years finally had the opportunity and freedom to exercise their democratic right to participate in the governance of the country.

He thanked Iran for its contribution and support towards the struggle for freedom in South Africa, noting the visits by former President Mandela to Iran in 1992 and 1999.

“For the past 25 years, Iran has remained an important friend to South Africa. Through the Joint Commission of Cooperation our countries have expanded engagements in a number of sectors such as tourism, trade and investment, science and technology, arts and culture, health, education, to name a few,” he said.

The ambassador then expressed his country’s continued support to Iran, saying the two countries would “weather the storm together.”

A stand displaying South African products 

He also noted the visit of Iranian President Rouhani to South Africa this year, maintaining that the visit would serve to further strengthen the existing bilateral relations and mutual support.

He concluded his speech by offering condolences to the families of the victims of the recent floods that have affected at least 23 of the country’s 31 provinces since heavy downpours began on March 19. According to reports, the floods have taken the lives of at least 67 people and destroyed over 25,000 homes around the country, with Lorestan and Fars provinces having the highest number of casualties.

The ambassador called on everyone to commit to the global efforts to combat climate change and its devastating effects on the environment.

Also speaking at the ceremony was the assistant to Iranian Foreign Minister in African Affairs, Mehdi Agha-Jafari, who highlighted the strong relations between Iran and South Africa, by noting the high number of political talks and exchange of delegations and visits of high-ranking officials between the two sides, as well as the two countries’ cooperation in international areas such as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA), human rights and peace in the Middle East region.

After the South African general elections on May 8, Iran and South Africa will be planning for the 14th round of joint economic commission, as well as technical committee meetings, Agha-Jafari announced.

He also noted the state visit of President Rouhani to South Africa in 2019.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran, as an independent state, remains resolute on its principal positions on promoting multilateralism, committing to JCPOA as a valid international document as long as Iran’s interests are covered, benefiting from nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and supporting the rights of the oppressed people of the world,” he said.

He further voiced confidence that the future of relations between Iran and South Africa is “bright”, and the leaders of both countries are keen on developing cooperation despite the existing challenges and unlawful pressures, such as the imposition of sanctions by the United States.

Reported by: Marjohn Sheikhi

News Code 144511

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