By Julie Lee
Cote d'Ivoire Ambassador to South Korea Sylvestre Kouassi Bile and his spouse Mrs. Sarah Bile hosted a dinner reception at Lotte Hotel in Seoul on August 7, 2014 on the occasion of its 54th Independence Day.
Cote d'Ivoire, or Ivory Coast in English, gained its independence from France in 1960 and the people of Cote d'Ivoire celebrate this day as their national day.
A number of both Korean and international guests were invited to the dinner reception. Among them were scores of top foreign envoys and their spouses serving on Seoul’s diplomatic stage.
The VIP Korean guests included Ambassador Choi Sung-Joo for International Security Affairs and Lawmaker Shim Jae-Kwon of the main opposition Democratic Party. The two delivered congratulatory speeches following Ambassador Bile’s welcoming speech.
In his welcoming speech the Cote d'Ivoire envoy stressed the 53 years of fraternal mutual ties and strong cooperation between the African nation and South Korea.
In particular he pointed out the impressive economic growth of Cote d'Ivoire.
Relations between Cote d'Ivoire and South Korea
Cote d' Ivoire and South Korea established the former diplomatic relations on July 23, 1961. Cote d' Ivoire formed the official ties with North Korea on Jan. 19, 1985.
Both Cote d' Ivoire and South Korea opened the diplomatic mission at each other’s capital in February of 1966. The Embassy of Cote d' Ivoire in Seoul was opened in February of 1997.
Since the establishment of the diplomatic ties a number of high-level government officials from both nations have visited each other’s country.
In August of 1986 South Korean Foreign Minister Lee Won-Kyung visited Cote d' Ivoire.
In January of 1999 South Korean Foreign Minister Hong Soon-Young also visited Cote d' Ivoire.
In June of 2002 Sports Minister Bro Grebe of Cote d' Ivoire visited South Korea to participate in the opening ceremony of the 2002 World Cup held in Seoul.
Two years later public health minister of Cote d' Ivoire was invited to South Korea. And one year later its transportation minister also visited Seoul. In 2006 its foreign minister also visited South Korea.
From 1968 through 1999 numerous bilateral agreements were signed between South Korea and the African nation.
They included an agreement on medical technology, a cultural agreement, and an economic and trade agreement.
In 2011 the bilateral trade volume stood at 103,717,000 US dollars. Cote d' Ivoire suffers severe trade imbalance.
LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, and Daewoo Electronics were active in Cote d' Ivoire but they withdrew their companies from the African country in 2002 when military coup took place.
Currently, such South Korean companies as Hyundai Heavy Industries, SK Holdings, and Jewon are operating for oil exploration and various construction projects in the African nation.
Full text of Welcoming Speech by Côte d’Ivoire Ambassador
Address by His Excellency Ambassador
Sylvestre KOUASSI BILE
on the occasion of the 54th anniversary of the
independence of Côte d’Ivoire
SEOUL, August 7th, 2014
Your Excellency Mr. CHOI Sung-joo,
Ambassador for International Security Affairs,
Representing the Korean Government;
Honorable Dr. Shim Jae-Kwon,
President of Korea/Cote d’Ivoire Parliamentary Friendship Association;
Excellencies Ambassadors, Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you all on this auspicious occasion of the 54th anniversary of Côte d'Ivoire's Independence Day.
I would like to thank you all sincerely for accepting to take part in this meaningful celebration, which also honors the 53rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Republic of Korea and Côte d’Ivoire, on July 23rd 1961.
On this important day for my country and on behalf of His Excellency President Alassane OUATTARA, the Ivorian Government and people, I would like, once again, to express my sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to the Government and the people of the Republic of Korea, as well as the families of the victims of the Ferry Sewol disaster.
I truly hope that the people of the Republic of Korea, led by Her Excellency President Park Geun-hye, will find the strength to overcome this terrible loss and continue its triumphant walk towards progress.
Dear friends of Côte d’Ivoire,
The memory of the independence of Côte d'Ivoire recalls for us Ivorians, a solemn time of gathering around the strong values of the Republic. It reminds our collective memory, the lasting ties which underpin our joint commitment to living together and grasping our destiny with both hands, by showing responsibility and a strong sense of solidarity.
For the Ivorian Government, this historic occasion is the continuation of a new start since His Excellency President Alassane OUATTARA took the helm of Côte d'Ivoire.
Ladies and gentlemen,
While Côte d’Ivoire continues its effort to consolidate its repositioning on the international level, the Ivorian Authorities have set as a matter of priority the following areas:
-Peace and security;
-Reconstruction and economic revival.
Our efforts, with the assistance of the international community, to restore security, led to promising results. Relevant examples of this include the return of almost all Embassies, International Organizations, several foreign companies, as well as the African Development Bank (ADB), which have relocated in 2003, due to the crisis.
Building on important structural and sectoral reforms implemented by the Government, Côte d’Ivoire approaches this change with confidence, with a growth rate of 9% in 2013, and estimates of double-digit rates for 2014/2015.
Reconstruction and economic revival projects are undertaken to make Côte d’Ivoire a modern and emerging country by 2020, in line with the vision of the President of the Republic. To do so, the Ivorian Government can count on the support of all friendly countries, among which the Republic of Korea holds a key position.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The history of the Republic of Korea has taught us that hard-working, determined and courageous men and women can change the future of a country. In over 50 years of reforms, the Republic of Korea has gone from the status of a developing country to that of a developed country.
African countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, fully appreciate this exemplary performance and wish to share this rich experience.
In this respect, the Ivorian Government continues to believe that the Republic of Korea, a country which know-how and expertise are self-evident and benefits from a dynamic private sector, will accompany our country towards a social and economic development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Indeed, over the past 53 years, Côte d’Ivoire and the Republic of Korea continually worked with confidence and determination towards the expansion of fraternal ties, the strengthening of their cooperation.
The dynamic nature of this cooperation is illustrated by the exchanges of high-level delegations, trade exchanges with a value of 140 million of US dollars in 2013, scholarship, donations, training and capacity building. The visit in Côte d’Ivoire by the KOICA's President, last January and the reopening, this month, of KOICA’s office in Abidjan, contributed to this cooperation.
Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to express the great acknowledgement of the Ivorian Government to the Korean Government and nation for the ongoing support to Côte d’Ivoire.
I would like to point out that the Ivorian Government has launched major viable projects in the fields of agro-industry, mining, energy, tourism, housing, health and economic infrastructures, likely to concern Korean economic operators.
I am absolutely convinced that with good decisions on both sides, our relationship would be more fruitful for an economic development mutually beneficial to our two countries, bringing our two people much closer.
Long live friendship and cooperation between the Republic of Korea and Cote d’Ivoire.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Full text of Congratulatory Remarks by South Korean Ambassador Choi Sung-Joo
Your Excellency Ambassador Sylvestre Kouassi Bile(실베스트르 쿠아시 빌레),
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On the occasion of the 54th anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, it is a great pleasure for me to convey to you and the people of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire my heartfelt congratulations on behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of Korea. I am very much honoured to join you today.
After the end of the civil war, Côte d'Ivoire has become a leading country in Western Africa with its rapid economic growth of 8 to 9 percent per annum, thanks to the political stability achieved under the great leadership of His Excellency Alassane Dramane Ouattara (알라산 드라만 와타라), President of Côte d'Ivoire. Over the past two years, Côte d'Ivoire has also contributed to the stabilization of regional conflicts as the chair of ECOWAS, establishing itself as the political, economic hub of Western Africa. Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend my best wishes for the everlasting prosperity of Côte d'Ivoire.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1961, Korea and Côte d'Ivoire have been working together to build strong bilateral ties. For the past 50 years, we have made much progress despite the geographical distance.
Our two countries that had experienced colonization and wars overcame them to achieve economic growth and democratization. Today, we are expanding our scope of cooperation to a wide range of areas, including politics, economy, and culture.
In particular, cooperation in culture and sports is very crucial in promoting mutual understanding and friendship between our peoples. I heard that, in Côte d'Ivoire, soccer and Taekwondo are very popular.
Last November, for the first time in Africa, the World Cup Taekwondo Team Championship was held in Abidjan. For this event, Kukkiwon demonstration team from Korea gave a performance. I am very delighted that Taekwondo is loved by so many people in Côte d'Ivoire and that sports are facilitating more active people-to-people exchange. I hope that Korea and Côte d'Ivoire will be able to further strengthen bilateral cooperation through sports.
The future of our economic cooperation is also very bright as numerous Korean companies are participating in such important projects as power plant and bridge construction in Côte d'Ivoire. Korea will readily share its experiences to contribute to national development of Côte d'Ivoire.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to His Excellency Ambassador Sylvestre Kouassi Bile for his great contribution to the development of bilateral relations. He came to Korea in 1997 to open Côte d'Ivoire's embassy in Seoul and has worked at the embassy for seven years. Appointed as Ambassador to Korea in 2012, he has spared no effort in promoting friendship and cooperation between our two countries.
Now, I will conclude my remarks with final words in French.
Je tiens à réitèrer mes sincères félicitations pour ce 54ème anniversaire de l'Indépendance de la Côte d'Ivoire. Je voudrais exprimer mes meilleurs vœux pour l'épanouissement de nos relations bilatérales ainsi que l'amitié éternelle entre nos deux pays.
Vive la Côte d'Ivoire!
Vive la Corée!
Vive l'amitié coréano-ivoirienne!
Je vous remercie. /Fin/
Full text of Congratulatory Remarks by South Korean Lawmaker Shim Jae-Kwon
Ambassador Bile and Mrs. Bile, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
May I first say that I am delighted to be here this evening with you to celebrate the 54th anniversary of independence of Cote d’Ivoire.
Since Cote d’Ivoire gained independence from France in 1960, Cote d’Ivoire has shined as the world’s largest exporter of Cocoa beans and the largest economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union.
There is a saying, “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Looking back at the journey Korea and Cote d’Ivoire took together over the past 53 years, this proverb may well reflect the relations between our two nations as well. Although the distance of 13 thousand kilometers places us apart, we have nurtured our valued friendship over the half century as friends who sharpen the countenance of each other. And from now on we will dream together the common bright future of peace and prosperity.
Ambassador Bile, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me congratulate once again the 54th anniversary of independence of Cote d’Ivoire. Let us join together in a toast for the good health of Ambassador Bile, and for the Peace and Prosperity of Cote d’Ivoire.
Cheers to Peace and Prosperity of Cote d’Ivoire!
For details or inquiries contact the Embassy of Cote d'Ivoire in Seoul at 02-3785-0561/2.
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