President Mbeki arrives in Gabon ahead of State Visit

Libreville - South African President and Mrs. Thabo Mbeki, accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, have today Tuesday, 2 August 2005 arrived in Gabon ahead of a State Visit scheduled from Tuesday - Wednesday, 2-3 August 2005.

President Thabo Mbeki's delegation includes Ministers Mandisi Mpahlwa, Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, Dr. Pallo Jordan, Naledi Pandor and Jeff Radebe.

The state visit to Gabon takes place within the context of South Africa's commitment to strengthen bilateral political and economic relations with all countries on the continent.

Pursuant to this objective, President Mbeki will hold bilateral political and economic discussions with his counterpart President El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba to discuss among others:

· The status of bilateral political and economic relations between South Africa and each of the countries with particular reference to trade and industry, health, education, arts, culture and transport;
· Regional peacekeeping and conflict resolution initiatives including the situation in Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tomé and Principé, the Central African Republic and Chad;
· Preparations for Presidential elections to be held in December 2005 in Gabon;
· President Mbeki is expected to brief his counterparts on the outcome of the recently concluded G-8 Summit in Scotland and the implications for the African Agenda;
· And the comprehensive reform of the UN system

During the visit to Gabon, President Mbeki and President Ondimba are expected to officiate at the signing ceremony of the following agreements

· Reciprocal Protection and Promotion of Investments;
· Maritime Matters;
· Cooperation in the Fields of Arts and Culture; and
· Cooperation in the Fields of Education, Training and Higher Education.

Bilateral Economic Relations between South Africa and Gabon

SA exports

2000 R140 909 000
2001 R127 796 000
2002 R212 672 000
2003 R119 925 000
2004 R150 919 000

SA imports

2000 R 24 363 000
2001 R 569 545 000
2002 R1 227 187 000
2003 R 52 925 000
2004 R 164 603 000

(Source: SA DTI 2004)

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853
Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

2 August 2005

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa