Honourable Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali,
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me, on behalf of the people of South Africa, to extend a warm welcome to you and your delegation.
We are very happy to receive you, and wish you to know that you are among brothers and sisters.
I am advised, Your Excellency, that you regard South Africa as your second home, as you spent your student days at one of our local universities.
We recall with pride and gratitude the historic relations between South Africa and Ethiopia.
We recognise the importance of the military training provided to Nelson Mandela as we embarked on our armed struggle, and deeply appreciate the overall contribution made by the governments and the people of Ethiopia during the struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa.
From previous conversations that we have had, I know that we share a vision of an African continent that is prosperous, peaceful, democratic, non-sexist and united, and which contributes to a world that is just and equitable.
South Africa recognises that development can best take place in a peaceful and stable environment and therefore wish to congratulate you on a host of successful political and social reforms that you have implemented.
These innovative, bold and brave reforms include the promotion of gender equality, the release of political prisoners and journalists, and the commitment to national elections later this year.