Esteemed Facilitator of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, Sir Ketumile Masire and members of the Facilitation,
Distinguished Congolese delegates,
Your Excellency Chairperson of the OAU and President of the Republic of Zambia, Luke Mwanawasa,
Your Excellency Chairperson of SADC and President of the Republic of Malawi, Bakili Muluzi,
Your Excellency Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar,
Your Excellency Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma,
The Hon Under Secretary of the Peace Keeping force and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, HE Mr J Guehenno,
The Hon Minister Madeira, Special Representative of His Excellency President Joacquim Chissano, Chairperson of the Special Political and Security Organ of SADC,
The Hon Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity, Mr Essey Amara,
The Hon Secretary General of the Southern African Development Community, Dr Prega Ramsamy,
Members of the media,
Comrades and friends
Our government and people are pleased and honoured to welcome to our country and to Sun City, Pilanesberg, this important Inter-Congolese Dialogue and all our brothers and sisters from the Democratic Republic of Congo who have travelled from their country to participate in the process of national dialogue in which you will be engaged during the coming weeks.
We are also privileged that the leadership of the United Nations, the OAU and SADC and other eminent persons were able to join us during this ceremony.
I would also like to thank the Management of Sun City for the great lengths to which they have gone to help ensure that all the logistic requirements for the holding of a successful Dialogue are met.
Nevertheless, we would beg your indulgence if there are any deficiencies in our organisation. We request that you bring these to our attention. We will certainly do everything we can to correct any shortcomings you may identify.
Dear Facilitator and Delegates:
Today the eyes of our Continent and the world are focused on the Inter-Congolese Dialogue. The millions that constitute the population of Africa hope and pray that as a result of the processes in which you will be engaged, the Congo will emerge as a united, peaceful, democratic and prosperous country.
They entertain this vision because they know as well as we do that the Democratic Republic of Congo is central to the achievement of the objective of an African Renaissance.
Through the African Union, the AU, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD, Africa has taken to a new road that will lead to its renewal and the restoration of the dignity of all African men and women.
Clearly this will be a difficult and protracted struggle. Even as we advance, we should also be ready to contend with reverses that we will meet along the way. At all times we will have to be inspired by the spirit that the struggle continues but that victory is certain.
All of us want the Democratic Republic of Congo to occupy the front ranks in that struggle. All of us want the Democratic Republic of Congo to be one of the architects of that victory. None of us want the DRC to be defined as part of the problem. All of us want the DRC to be defined as part of the solution.
The Inter-Congolese Dialogue is therefore about the future of our Continent. The sovereign decisions you will take about your country will help to inform the answer to the question whether we, as Africans, have the will and the capacity to pull our Continent and our peoples out of misery, indignity, poverty and underdevelopment.
What you will do will help to inform the answer to the question whether we, as Africans, have the will and capacity to solve our problems by peaceful means.
At the same time and centrally, your actions will answer the question directly whether you have the will and capacity to extricate the Democratic Republic of Congo out of misery, indignity, poverty and underdevelopment.
I am certain that the decisions you will take will answer these questions in the affirmative. I am convinced that the land that gave birth to the great African patriot, Patrice Lumumba, has the wisdom, the talent and the determination to turn the country of his birth into an African giant of peace, democracy, human rights, prosperity, good neighbourliness and African solidarity.
History has granted you, honoured delegates, the extraordinary privilege and challenge to carry out a veritable act of creation. I know that you will not fail the children of Congo. I know that you will not fail the children of Africa.
Please count us among your partners, your friends and your comrades as you do what has to be done to end the long night of suffering imposed on the Congolese people by slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism and war. You will have to do what has to be done to assert the sovereign right of the Congolese people to independence and self-determination, the right to decide their destiny for themselves, without let or hindrance.
We wait in the wings to salute you with triumphant trumpets whose jubilant melody will reverberate across the globe, when, out of Sun City, you make it possible for the sun to shine brightly throughout the length and breadth of a remarkable African patrimony, your country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We wish you success in your deliberations.