The following article by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle was published in the “Pretoria News, 7 May 2012, on the occasion of the 7th Session of the German-South African Binational Commission (BNC), 7-8 May, 2012 in Berlin, Germany
South Africa and Germany – Working Together to Build Prosperity for All
South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, and several cabinet ministers, will visit Germany today. I am looking forward to this important visit and I am delighted to co-chair the German-South African Binational Commission together with him. This occasion marks the seventh time our two countries meet at the highest level to promote our bilateral agenda as well as issues of global importance: peace and security, labour and social issues, a rules-based economy and financial sector, environmental and development cooperation, education, science and technology.
Our Binational Commission is a cornerstone of the strong partnership between our two nations. It is a recipe for success: our governments and societies enjoy a trustful and broad relationship as major trading partners, pioneers of green technology and growth, and close partners in international and foreign policy issues.
South Africa and Germany share similar experiences in overcoming the shadows of the past. Twenty-two years ago, a peaceful revolution in Germany brought down the Berlin Wall, which separated our people and Europe for decades and caused great suffering. Almost at the same time, the South African people embarked upon their own historic change, their miraculous walk to freedom, by replacing the apartheid regime with a strong and vibrant democracy. Both our countries emerged stronger from these profound historic events.
Germany and South Africa work closely and productively in the UN Security Council as non-permanent members, as well as in the G20 forum. We joined forces to turn the COP17 Climate Conference, which South Africa skilfully and generously hosted in Durban last year, into a success. Perhaps most important of all, our societies are more and more closely interlinked – through tourism, academic exchange, business and labour relations and in the fields of science, technology, sports and culture. I am honoured and delighted to be the patron of the partnership between the South African organisation “Music Is a Great Investment” (MIAGI) and the Young Euro Classic Festival in Berlin, which will see a joint German – South African youth orchestra tour South Africa next year.
Together we can create a sustainable future and contribute to prosperity for all. This is why I am truly delighted to host the South African delegation at the Binational Commission in Berlin in the coming days. I bid them a warm welcome to Germany!