Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ambassador Sheila Sealy Monteith, has described the bond between Jamaica and South Africa as a natural, yet significant one.
“Jamaica and South Africa have a shared vision and commitment to advancing relations, and both have a strong desire to ensure that our frameworks for engagement are maximised in areas of cooperation that redound to the benefit of our peoples. Jamaica has always had a natural, yet significant bond with South Africa,” the Ambassador said.
She was speaking at Tuesday’s (June 28) inaugural political consultation between the two countries, at the Ministry’s offices in downtown Kingston.
South Africa was represented by Deputy Director General, Americas and Europe, Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Ambassador Maud Dhlomo, and High
Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa to Jamaica, Her Excellency Lunka Yengeni, among other officials.
Several bilateral issues were identified for discussion, such as cooperation in entertainment, arts, culture and the creative industries, sport, science and technology, health, agriculture, and tourism.
The discourse is expected to result in the finalisation of a joint communique and promote dialogue and cooperation to further strengthen the bonds of friendship between the countries.
Highlighting the rich history between the nations, Ambassador Monteith recalled Jamaica’s support for South Africa throughout the period of apartheid, and expressed admiration for some of the country’s leaders, such as the late former President, Nelson Mandela, and late Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
She said the inaugural consultation “is a testament to the strong bonds that have been engendered over these years, and especially since [the] formalisation of diplomatic relations.”
Jamaica and South Africa established diplomatic relations on September 9, 1994, five months following the historic free and democratic elections.
Tuesday’s consultation is in fulfillment of a memorandum of understanding signed in 2015.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Dhlomo said the consultation represents “a key milestone in our bilateral relations.”
“Our meeting today presents us an opportunity to map out a path for the development and strengthening of bilateral cooperation for the mutual benefit of our countries,” she added.
Ambassador Dhlomo also wished Jamaica great success in its preparations for the upcoming Independence Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Other members of the Jamaican delegation included representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology; Ministry of Transport and Mining; Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; Ministry of Tourism; Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce; African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica; Jamaica Memory Bank; Jamaica National Heritage Trust; Institute of Jamaica; Jamaica Promotions Corporation; Planning Institute of Jamaica; and Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority.