The Saudi Arabian Ambassador to South Africa Sultan Al Angari has highlighted the relationship between the two countries.
The ambassador was speaking at the 92nd Saudi National Day at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria on Thursday, which was attended by dignitaries from various other countries’ embassies, as well as Minister of Police Bheki Cele and Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu.
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Al Angari said Saudi Arabia is currently witnessing great development in all fields in line with the kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030, and fulfilling its vast potential.
Al Angari said as Saudi Arabia celebrates the importance of the Saudi National Day, it also celebrates the continuation of friendly relations between the kingdom and South Africa.
“Through long history, the two countries have witnessed great development in various fields including politics, economy, recreation, culture, information technology among others.”
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“In fact, the Saudi-South African bilateral relations are a model of relations among nations that they have often shared the same values on different international levels,” Al Angari said.
He also highlighted the commencement of construction on the 100 MW Redstone project in the Northern Cape.
At R11.6 billion total investment, the Redstone project is the largest renewable energy investment in South Africa to date.
He said the value of trade exchange between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and South Africa has exceeded R18 billion.
Ramaphosa visit to Saudi Arabia
Al Angari said both countries are also looking forward to the visit by President Cyril Ramaphosa to Saudi Arabia, which was initially postponed due to the deadly KwaZulu-Natal floods.
Representing Ramaphosa, Cele said South Africa and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recognise themselves as prominent members of the respective regions, and are eager to develop a strategic relationship for the purpose of enhancing bilateral trade and economic relations.
Cele said prior to the establishment of formal diplomatic relations with South Africa in 1994, Saudi Arabia took a leading role position in the Arab world in its principled and moral opposition against injustices committed by the apartheid regime.
“We pay tribute to the kingdom for their active engagement in our freedom and liberation and as the ultimate expression of the ultimate will of the South African people.”
As South Africa’s annual Hajj waiting list continues to grow, Cele also thanked King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman for the kingdom’s service to South African pilgrims.
“South Africa expresses its sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of the custodian of the two holy mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman for graciously increasing the quota for South Africa pilgrims, and for the excellent services provided to them throughout the Hajj season.
“We congratulate the Kingdom for the successful Hall season for 2022 and the resumption of international Hajj pilgrims after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We further thank the Kingdom for opening its borders to South African Umrah pilgrims and the increased number of Umrah pilgrims visiting Saudi Arabia,” Cele said.
Cele conveyed South African people’s warmest congratulations, as well as assurances of its solidarity and continued friendship in cooperation, on the Saudi national day to the government of the Kingdom and its people.
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