Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to host Dutch Counterpart Dr Bernard Rudolf Bot for bilateral discussions

Tshwane - South African Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will host her Dutch counterpart, Dr Bernard Rudolf Bot, for bilateral political and economic discussions at the Union Buildings in Tshwane on Tuesday, 11 October 2005.

The visit by Dr Bot comes within the context of South Africa's programme to promote North-South co-operation in support of the African agenda. The Netherlands plays a leading role in international development, and is, for example, one of only a small handful of countries that exceed the 0.7% UN target for Official Development Assistance as a percentage of Gross National Income (actually spending 0,8%).

Issues on the agenda of discussions between Foreign Ministers Drs Dlamini Zuma and Rudolph Bot are expected to include, among others:
· The status of bilateral political and economic relations, including the future focus of co-operation activities;
· Peace and security in Africa including an update of the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Sudan, and trilateral co-operation projects with the Netherlands in supporting emerging democracy in these countries;
· The European Union's proposed Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) legislation, which could have the unintended consequence of harming the mining and other industries in South Africa and the developing world; and
· A briefing by Minister Bot on developments in the European Union.

Upon conclusion of the discussions, Ministers Dlamini Zuma and Bot will sign a Declaration of Intent on a Framework for Co-operation and a Bilateral Commission. With the signing of this agreement, the Dutch government commits itself to aligning its co-operation activities with the priorities and policies of the South African government. South Africa is one of the 36 chosen partner countries of the Dutch development co-operation programme. It is envisaged that a Bilateral Commission will be set up to review progress and manage relations.

While in South Africa, Foreign Minister Dr Rudolf Bot is scheduled to hold discussions with Finance Minister Trevor Manuel during which both will sign an Avoidance of Double Taxation Treaty. The Netherlands is already one of the most important investors in South Africa and South Africa's fifth most important export market, and it is expected that the Treaty will give trade and investment a further boost.

The Netherlands government is active in building peace in Africa, particularly in the Great Lakes region and Sudan, and has declared itself open to proposals for partnering with South Africa to advance peace and security on the continent. Dr Bot will meet with Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota to discuss further opportunities in the strategic partnership between the Netherlands and South Africa in peace-keeping in Africa. Two defence-related agreements will be signed - an Arrangement on Bilateral Military Co-operation and an Arrangement to implement the Dutch pledge announced on 1 June 2005 to contribute €5 million to the SANDF for a joint project to support the military integration process of the armed forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Other recent notable contributions to South Africa to support peace and security in Africa have included:

· €294 000 for SA's contingent in MONUC in the DRC (2002)
· €1 million for SA's contingent in AMIB in Burundi (2003/4)
· €4,5 million for the Burundi Protection Force (2001/2)

The Dutch government established the Stability Fund in late 2003 to "provide rapid and flexible support for activities that foster peace, security and development in countries and regions where violent conflicts are threatening to erupt or have already erupted". The Fund, which is managed by the World Bank, has a 2005 budget of €85 million.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

? Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

9 October 2005

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