Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad concludes Official Visit to Portugal

Lisbon - Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad will today, Tuesday 10 May 2005, conclude a two-day official visit to Portugal.

During the visit Deputy Minister Pahad held political and economic discussions with Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs João Cravinho, Secretary of State for Communities António Braga, Deputy Executive Secretary for the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries Ambassador Tadeu Soares, the Director-General External Policy in the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Fernandes Pereira and Minister of Defence Luis Armado.

Discussions focused on the status of bilateral relations between both countries, peacekeeping initiatives on the African continent, the status of the EU-Africa Summit and multilateral issues of mutual interest including the reformation of the United Nations and the global fight against terrorism.

It was emphasized by both sides that bilateral relations between both countries had not reached its full potential especially considering the historical and current political and cultural links between both countries. In this regard, at least 500 000 Portuguese speaking citizens live in South Africa with many involved in key economic structures making a significant contribution to the South African economy.

Exports to Portugal from January to October 2004 amounted to R573 432m and imports from January to October 2004 amounted to R666 177 with the most important South African exports to Portugal being coal, steel products, frozen fish, fruit juices, fruit, vegetables, wood and granite. Main imports from Portugal are cork, machinery, textile fibres, cables, electronic equipment and articles of sound and image.

Secretary of State for Communities António Braga briefed Deputy Minister Pahad of his scheduled visit to South Africa beginning 17 May 2005. Secretary of State Braga will be accompanied on his visit be a high ranking government and business delegation whose objective it will be to engage with the Portuguese speaking community in South Africa and brief them of the status of relations with the South African government and investigate and explore business opportunities that could benefit both countries.

In this regard, Deputy Minister Pahad reiterated the many syngergies that could be found in the economies of both Portugal and South Africa and once again urged the South African private sector and parastatals to explore ways of further expanding economic relations that could be facilitated through the strong political bilateral relations that exist between both countries.

Deputy Minister Pahad also briefed his Portuguese hosts of the attempts by the South African government to combat crime in a holistic, structured manner.

It was also noted that many countries in Africa and the world still have historical links with Portugal - Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Brazil. These countries currently belong to the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries.

Discussions also focused on current peacekeeping and conflict resolution initiatives undertaken by both Portugal and South Africa in various countries.

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs João Cravinho and Deputy Minister Pahad exchanged views on the current situation in Guinea-Bissau where elections have been scheduled for 19 June 2005, the Great Lakes region, Zimbabwe, the Ivory Coast and Sudan.

Both sides remain committed to the position that there can be no sustained global development without peace, security and stability on the African continent. In this regard, Secretary of State Cravinho reiterated the support for all initiatives to create the conditions for peace, security and stability in Africa within the framework of the European Union.

Regarding the holding of the European Union - Africa Summit, both sides concluded it is vital that such a Summit be held considering the historical links between both continents. It was decided that, subject to all preparations being complete, a Summit would be held in Lisbon in 2006.

Deputy Minister Pahad also mentioned that since this would follow the UN Summit in September 2005 that would review the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, both sides could hold strategic discussions that would support the economic development of Africa.

In this regard Deputy Minister Pahad reiterated that Africa was committed to strategic partnerships in the interests of constructive relationships through the socio-economic programme of NEPAD. Overseas Development Aid should also be contributed to Africa through NEPAD projects that would lead to infrastructure and skills development in Africa through which the quality of life for all Africans can be improved, which is in line with the South African government's strategic objectives.

In addition, Deputy Minister Pahad reaffirmed the African position that Overseas Development Aid to Africa should meet the United Nations target of 0.7% of donor countries GDP.

Regarding multilateral issues of mutual concern, both sides confirmed the position that the United Nations and all its institutions should be transformed in order to respond to current global challenges including underdevelopment and poverty. Both sides noted their support for the reforms proposed by the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and await the outcomes of the September 2005 conference in New York at which the progress in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the way forward for the reform of the United Nations will be discussed and reviewed.

Deputy Minister Pahad will later today conclude discussions with António Guterres, President of the Socialist International and Jose Lello, Head of the International Division of the Socialist Party during which preparations for the Progressive Governance Summit to be hosted by South Africa in October 2005 will be discussed. These meetings are aimed at consolidating party-to-party relations.

On conclusion of discussions, Deputy Minister Pahad will depart for Madrid, Spain where he is scheduled to co-chair, with his Spanish counterpart Leon Gross, the second session of the South Africa - Spain Annual Consultations on Friday, 13 May 2005 in Madrid, and to participate in the Spanish Annual Seminar on Sub-Saharan Africa in Tenerife on Thursday, 12 May 2005 where he will deliver an opening address to the seminar and participate in a discussion entitled, "Africa as a New Political Priority."

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853.

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

10 May 2005



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