President Thabo Mbeki to Pay a State visit to the Hellenic Republic, Thursday, 24 - Saturday 26 February 2005

Cape Town - South African President Thabo Mbeki, accompanied by Mrs. Zanele Mbeki and Ministers Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Alec Erwin and Deputy Minister Lindiwe Hendricks will depart South Africa today, Wednesday 23 February for a State Visit to the Hellenic Republic from Thursday to Saturday, 24 -26 February 2005.

President Mbeki's State Visit follows an invitation by President Constantinos Stephanopoulos extended during the latter's visit to South Africa from 29 October to 1 November 2002 and is aimed at consolidating existing excellent bilateral political and economic relations between South Africa and the Hellenic Republic.

During the State Visit, both President Mbeki and President Stephanopoulus will have an opportunity to exchange views on wide range of issues including bilateral political and economic relations, regional developments and global multilateral issues.

In this regard, it is expected that the two Presidents will consider among others:

  • The consolidation and expansion of bilateral relations between the two countries;
  • The operationalisation of the African Union (AU) and its institutions;
  • Conflict management, prevention and resolution on the African continent;
  • UN reform and issues relating to global governance, notably pertinent issues on the United National Security Council (UNSC) agenda, as Greece is currently serving as a member of the UNSC;
  • EU reform and enlargement with emphasis on South-Eastern Europe, notably the Balkans;
  • The current situation with regard to Cyprus; and
  • Other matters of mutual interest.

President Mbeki is also scheduled to hold discussions with Prime Minister Constantinos Karamanlis, the Speaker of Parliament, Anna Psarouda-Benaki and leaders of political parties. He will interact with business leaders and deliver an address at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy.

President Mbeki will be bestowed with the Gold Medal of Merit of the City of Athens from the Mayor, Dora Bakoyannis.

Economic relations
South Africa's imports from Greece were valued at R106, 390 million in 2003, while exports to Greece amounted to R435, 811 million.

Greece was the 12th largest foreign investor in South Africa for the period 1999 -2002 with investments valued at R1, 6 billion at that time. Greek investors are active in the financial sector, shipping, and foodstuffs.

Issues by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990-4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
23 February 2005

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