President Thabo Mbeki arrives in Belgium ahead of Official Visit, Monday, 15 - Thursday, 18 November 2004

President Thabo Mbeki arrived in Belgium on Monday 15 November ahead of the scheduled official visit to Belgium, Strasbourg and the Netherlands from, today, Monday, 15 - Thursday, 18 November 2004.

President Mbeki is accompanied by Mrs Zanele Mbeki, Ministers Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Mosibudi Mangena, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Mandisi Mpahlwa and Mosiuoa Lekota respectively and Deputy Minister Jabu Moleketi.

President Mbeki's visit to the EU comes in the wake of the enlargement of the Union from 15 to 25 members on 1 May 2004; the concurrent finalisation of the SA-EU Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA) which had been provisionally implemented since 1 January 2000; the election of a new European Parliament; and the taking office of a new European Commission on 1 November 2004.

In this regard, issues on the agenda are expected to include, among others:

  • Support for the consolidation of the African agenda through the operationalisation of the African Union and implementation of NEPAD;
  • EU support in conflict prevention, resolution, management and post-conflict reconstruction in Africa;
  • The continued support of the EU for the TDCA that promotes an open, equitable, rule-based and non-discriminatory multilateral trading;
  • Developments within various other multilateral institutions on which relations between South Africa and the EU are anchored, viz. the Berlin Process (SADC-EU relations), the Cairo Process (Africa-EU relations) and the Cotonou Agreement (Africa/Carribean and Pacific Group of States [ACP]-EU relations)
  • Review of progress in the implementation of the Millenium Development Goals, the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the World Conference against Racism; and
  • The Middle East Peace Process since the EU is a member of the Quartet and developments within Palestine.

Belgium (Monday, 15 - Wednesday, 17 November 2004)

In Belgium, President Mbeki will hold discussions with the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday, 15 November 2004 in Brussels, Belgium.

On Tuesday, 16 November 2004, President Mbeki will meet with King Albert II; Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt; Javier Solana, the High Representative of the EU's Commission on Foreign and Security Policy; and members of the Senate and House of Representatives at the Belgium Parliament.

During the visit to Belgium, President Mbeki will meet also meet with representatives of the African Diaspora and African Ambassadors and captains of trade and industry based in Brussels, and attend a Gala Dinner hosted by the Diamond High Council in Antwerp.

In addition, President Mbeki will receive courtesy calls from Minister-Presidents of the Flemish and Walloon Regions and the German-speaking community, Yves Leterme, Jean Claude van Cauwenberghe, and KH Lambertz respectively.

During the visit, a Joint Declaration by the President of South Africa and the Prime Minister of Belgium; a Declaration of Intent between South Africa and Belgium to establish a Joint Commission; a Statement of Intent between South Africa and the Flemish Government on Co-operation in the field on Gemmology and Ministerial Benefication; and a Declaration of Intent between South Africa and the Flemish Government to enhance co-operation in the Field of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise will be signed.

Strasbourg (Wednesday, 17 November 2004)

On departure from Belgium on Wednesday, 17 November 2004, President Mbeki will travel to Strasbourg where he will hold discussions with President of the European Parliament, Borrell Fontelles and address a sitting of the European Parliament.

The Hague, Netherlands (Wednesday, 17 - Thursday, 18 November 2004)

On arrival in the Netherlands on Wednesday, 17 November 2004, President Mbeki will hold bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, following which President and Mrs Mbeki will meet with Queen Beatrix on Thursday, 18 November 2004.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853.

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

15 November 2004


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