Joint Communiqué by the Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Spain, Mr Aziz Pahad and Mr Ramon Gil-Casares on the results of the South African - Spanish Annual Political Consultation in terms of the Memorandum of Understanding on Consultation held in Pretoria on 2-3 February 2004

Mr Ramon Gil-Casares, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Spain paid an official visit to South Africa on invitation of Mr Aziz Pahad, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1-3 February 2004.

Mr Gil-Casares was accompanied by a delegation of senior officials representing the following sectors:
· Foreign Affairs
· Development Cooperation
· Tourism and Environmental Affairs
· Economic Affairs
· Defence
· Home Affairs
· Arts and Culture; and
· Science and Technology.

The official visit formed part of efforts to build and consolidate sound and mutually beneficial relations between the Kingdom of Spain and the Republic of South Africa. The Annual Consultations were preceded by official visits by Deputy President J Zuma to Spain from 22-25 September 2003 as well as official visits by Ministers A Erwin (October 2003), V Moosa (September 2003), L Sisulu (July 2003), B Ngubane (May 2003) and A Pahad (June 2003). The purpose of these visits are to strengthen existing cooperation as well as to identify possible further areas of co-operation.

Mr Gil-Casares also paid a courtesy call on Dr. Essop Pahad, Minister in the Office of the President, on 2 February 2004 and will hold in depth discussions with Ms L Hendricks, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry on the afternoon of 3 February 2004.

Ministers Pahad and Gil-Casares took cognisance of the progress made since 2003 in consolidating existing ties.

During the visit, South Africa and Spain signed an Agreement on Cooperation in the Fields of Arts and Culture, following the signing of the Agreement on Cooperation in the Fields of Science and Technology during 2003. In addition, the Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation is due to be completed soon.

Discussions also paved the way for agreements in the fields of Development Cooperation and Defence.

Annual consultations

A substantial exchange of views took place on a wide range of global and regional issues such as peace and security, terrorism, eradicating poverty, market access, UN Reform, and developments in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

Bilateral ties

It was agreed that substantial progress was made in consolidating bilateral relations in the various priority fields of cooperation.

Spain has just celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Constitution and democratic South Africa will be celebrating the First Ten Years of Freedom in 2004. Both countries will also hold general elections during 2004.

Spain has extended invitations to President Mbeki, Cabinet Ministers as well as representatives from South African civil society to participate in the Barcelona Forum 2004.

The Spanish delegation also informed South Africa of its candidature for the 2008 World Expo. The Spanish city of Zaragoza is expected to be the focal point. The theme would be " Water and Sustainable Development", a theme of mutual interest and importance to both countries. South Africa will consider supporting the candidature of Zaragoza 2008.

Regional issues

Mr Pahad indicated that the world faced many challenges pertaining to underdevelopment and poverty eradication. He briefed Mr Gil-Casares regarding the progress being made with the operationalisation of various institutions of the African Union, notably the Peace and Security Council and the Pan-African Parliament. In the context of NEPAD, he indicated that the first Peer Review Processes are expected to commence soon. The implementation phase of NEPAD programmes and projects through co-operation with international financial institutions was also briefly highlighted. The issue of strengthening the capacity of these institutions and programmes were highlighted.

Mr Gil-Casares briefed the meeting on the enlargement of the European Union by 10 new countries. The new Union will be reinforced politically with the enlargement and it presents partner countries in general and South Africa in particular with new opportunities to further cooperation in the political and economic fields.

Mr Pahad pointed out the need for the European Union to act faster in regard to supporting post-conflict reconstruction phases pertaining to African conflicts, with specific reference to the Great Lakes. While underlining the fact that the European Union is the first contributor to conflict prevention and peace keeping in the region, the Spanish side will undertake to support speedy implementation of the financial instruments from the EU budget.

Discussions also focused on various regional integration processes in the world where both South Africa and Spain shared a vested interest, ie the SA-EU TDCA as well as inter-continental co-operation such as between the EU and Latin America (CARICOM) as well as the AU and Latin America (CARICOM). The South African delegation also provided a briefing on the India, Brazil, and South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum.

International Issues of Mutual Interest

Middle East

Concerning the situation in the Middle East both Ministers called for the urgent implementation of the Road Map. The Ministers agreed efforts are now needed to break the cycle of terrorism and violence. Spain will continue to work through the European Union and the Quartet, while South Africa will be hosting Spier II, as a further attempt at Strengthening the peace camps on both sides. Both Ministers welcomed the recent discussions in Geneva and reiterated that the accord must work in support of the Road Map, which remains the most viable option.

Global Campaign Against Terrorism

Both the South African and Spanish sides agreed that terrorism is an issue affecting all states without exception, which demands consolidated efforts in the global campaign against terrorism.

The Deputy Ministers further emphasized the central co-ordinating role of the UN, and the primacy of the Security Council in international efforts to combat terrorism. Special mention was made of the activities of the UN Security Council's Counter Terrorism Committee, which Spain chairs.

The South African delegation also raised its concern with regard to the escalation of reporting requirements. This often creates a burden on developing countries as they have limited capacity to meet these stringent requirements. Hence a rationalisation of processes was suggested as well as support for capacity building in this regard.

The Spanish delegation emphasised that terrorism should be seen from the victim's point of view rather than the usual focus on the perpetrator's point of view. In the end, the victim's point of view leads to it becoming clear that all forms of terrorism are the same regardless of the perpetrators.

The South African delegation emphasised the root causes of terrorism, ie under-development and poverty, which are again linked to international crime syndicates.

Technical Areas of Co-operation

The meetings between senior officials representing technical areas of cooperation laid the foundation for greater co-operation between the two countries, covering a wide range of areas via political dialogue, defence and security, economic relations, arts and culture, science and technology, home affairs, tourism and environmental affairs and development cooperation. The following salient issues were highlighted.

Development Cooperation

With the aim of strengthening relations between the Kingdom of Spain and the Republic of South Africa, in particular in the field of development co-operation, the parties agreed to establish a stable framework to define the basis of a closer relationship. This framework will be in the form of a Declaration of Intent, providing for seminars in the areas of health, tourism, environment and fisheries and Diplomacy.

It was further agreed that the principle of partnership would guide the development co-operation relationship. The two countries agreed to work together on a bilateral basis with the possibility of promoting trilateral and regional co-operation.

Tourism and Environmental Affairs

Representatives from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism of the Republic of South Africa and members of the delegation of the Kingdom of Spain held bilateral discussions on tourism cooperation between the two countries.

South African and Spain are currently cooperating in the area of tourism through the South African Tourism Institute (SATI). SATI is a training and capacity building initiative for the tourism sector.

Both parties have agreed to expand the scope of tourism cooperation. The Spanish delegation informed the South African delegation of the availability of a technical assistance programme. The technical assistance programme is an instrument which could be utilized to facilitate the exchange of expertise and information in the tourism field. Potential areas of cooperation include the following:
· Tourism management and development plans
· Local and municipal tourism development and management plans, including twinning arrangements
· National and provincial tourism management and development plans
· Regional tourism management and development plans
· Tourism Statistics
· Tourism product and destination development
· Eco-tourism

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain have undertaken to have further consultation on these potential areas of cooperation.

Bilateral Trade and Investment Relations

The two parties noted the positive growth in trade and reciprocal investment between the two countries since 1994. Spain has become the 4th new largest investor in South Africa. The South African and Spanish Delegations agreed to further promote trade and investment relations between the two countries in areas of mutual interest. Future high level visits between the two countries should be used to afford the business community from both sides the chance to meet and discuss cooperation and joint venture opportunities. (The possible visit to Spain by President Mbeki in 2004 should be used as an opportunity for South African business delegation to visit Spain.)

SA/EU Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement: Progress

The South African side reported progress in terms of market access into the EU since the coming into effect of the SA/EU TDCA. Of particular importance is the growth in value added manufactured exports to the EU. There has also been an increase in imports and investment from the EU into South Africa. Both sides expressed their hope that the automotive sector negotiations will be concluded before the end of 2004. Both sides expressed their satisfaction in progress within the Wines and Spirits Agreement negotiations. The Spanish side noted South Africa's concerns about the new EU labeling regulation of 2002 and the EU's stance on geographical indications.

EU Enlargement

Both sides welcomed the coming integration of 10 new member countries to the EU on the 1st of May 2004. The Spanish side offered technical assistance regarding research into the possible impact of EU enlargement on South Africa.


Both the South African Department of Defence and the Spanish Ministry of Defence have reached consensus on the signing of a Defence Co-operation agreement. Once concluded, such an agreement will formalise and further enhance the bilateral cooperation between the two countries. The agreement will focus inter alia on the following aspects:
· Exchange of students for purposes of defence education and training;
· Reciprocal visits by high-ranking representatives from the respective armed Forces;
· Cooperation in military health matters; and
· Co-operation in other areas as mutually agreed to.

Home Affairs

The following areas were identified for cooperation and information sharing:
· Training on requirements of official documentation of both countries;
· Exchange of information on the identification of third country nationals;
· Smuggling routes; and
· Marriages of convenience.
· National contact points for immigration.

A short briefing was provided by the Spanish side on the operation of the Schengen visa system.

The issue of Visa reciprocity was discussed and South Africa will take up the matter with the European Commission.

Arts and Culture

Both sides acknowledged the existing amicable ties between the two countries and concluded that the signing of the Agreement on cooperation in the fields of Arts and Culture would further enhance and cement relations. Both sides acknowledged that past undertakings and participation in future planned activities would enhance relations further.

The South African side alluded to the visit by Minister Ben Ngubane to Spain in 2003, the participation of South African artist and crafters at the Bilbao Expo in 2003, the participation of Spain at the CITRA Conference in 2003 and the preparation for sending an exhibition of South African Art works to the Guggenheim Gallery in 2004/5.

The Spanish side referred to the invitation to President Mbeki to visit Spain later this year, the possible participation of South Africa at the Universal Forum for Cultures to be held in Barcelona and to the nomination of Saragossa as a candidate to host the International Expo in 2008.

Both sides agreed that the Joint Bilateral Committee referred to in Article V of the agreement will meet in Spain as soon as the Agreement will come into force where a Programme of activities for the next two to three years will be finalised.

Programmes on digitization of archival material, restoration of Art works as well as Film and Video tapes, Language development methodology and the teaching of languages, oral tradition, exhibitions and exchanges in dance and other performing and visual arts , will focus on:
· Human Capital Development and training.
· Skills transfer
· Creating awareness of each culture through exchange programmes
· Promoting cooperation between institutions in both countries

Both sides agreed that objectives would be achieved through sharing of experiences, exchange programmes, participation in events in each others country and accepting, where possible, reciprocity as a founding pillar for co-operation.

Although specific exchange areas were identified and briefly discussed, both sides agreed that detail should be left to the JBC later this year. The South African acknowledged the expertise of Spain in Archiving, restoration and digitization of archival and Film and Video tapes.

Science and Technology

The science and technology group discussed the future coordination of joint science and technological activities.

A Spanish delegation intends to visit South Africa later this year to assess opportunities for research and development projects of mutual interest.

The scientific areas to be explored include marine research, biodiversity and biotechnology, ICT, water management, astronomy and astrophysics.

At the same time opportunities to work together in projects of the European Union under the VI Framework Programme has been identified as an additional modality of cooperation between both countries.

During the closing address both Ministers expressed their satisfaction with the Consultations and with the growth in bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Spain and the Republic of South Africa.

Hope was expressed that during the next Consultations scheduled to be held in Spain during 2005, an even broader range of issues will be discussed including the participation of the private sector.

Issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

3 February 2004

Quick Links

Disclaimer | Contact Us | HomeLast Updated: 03/02/2004
This site is best viewed using 800 x 600 resolution with Internet Explorer 5.0, Netscape Communicator 4.5 or higher.
2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa