Fri Dec 19 09:09:45 CAT 2014

Panama honours Tutu, Fransman

Apr 22, 2012 | ANDILE APRIL |

ARCHBISHOP emeritus Desmond Tutu continues to rake in international recognition.

MORE ACCOLADES: Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu. Picture by Esa Alexander

On Thursday Tutu and International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman were awarded the Order of Vasco Nunes de Balboa, under the Great Cross Degree from the Republic of Panama.

The award - the highest order bestowed on foreign citizens by the Republic of Panama - were granted to Tutu and Fransman for their roles in contributing to community development, human rights, social justice and international diplomacy.

Hosted by Fransman, the award event took place in Cape Town against the backdrop of Panama's first official bilateral visit since 1994.

The visit has seen the conclusion of agreements covering arts and culture and language training in particular, the waiver of visa requirements, maritime cooperation, sports cooperation and cooperation in combating the illicit trafficking in narcotics, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals.

Fransman dedicated the award to, and in recognition of, the "struggles of the people of South Africa, Africa and millions across the world who contributed towards a better, safer, more just and equitable world".

Fransman paid a special tribute to the late OR Tambo whom he described as South Africa's foremost diplomat as well as the late Chris Hani.

Quoting Chris Hani he said: "Our foreign policy must be used to change power relations domestically, continentally and globally in favour of the poor and marginalised communities."

Our foreign policy needs to be demystified among the masses and needs to ensure economic beneficiation for local communities and the poor in particular, Fransman said.

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