2 February 2012
South Africa will showcase its abundant artistic talent to the people of Palestine during South African Week later this year, following the signing of a cultural agreement between the two countries in Pretoria on Wednesday.
“We welcome with both hands the opportunity to visit Palestine later this year to be part of the South African Week celebrations,” Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said after signing the agreement with Palestinian Minister of Culture Siham Mohammad Abdel Salam.
“Our ultimate objective of participating in South African Week is to further strengthen people-to-people contact and to build new bridges of friendship and solidarity with the people of Palestine.”
Mashatile said the government would continue to make arts, culture and heritage important tools of bringing people together and working towards a shared future.
The signed agreement would promote mutual understanding of the two countries’ diverse cultures, create opportunities to access cultural markets in both South Africa and Palestine, and facilitate training and development in areas of common interests.
“Our cooperation will also cover areas such as languages development, heritage preservation, exchanges of literature as well as exhibitions to showcase both our countries’ artistic talent.”
Mashatile said South Africa counted the people of Palestine among those patriots who stood with the masses in the struggle for national liberation. “For that, we are indebted to you.”
In line with the Non-Aligned Movement and the international community in general, he said, South Africa would continue to support efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
“In our view, the best option for the resolution of the Palestine-Israeli conflict is premised on a two-state solution, with Palestine and Israel existing peacefully side-by-side as two independent states.”