Joint Communiqué: Annual Political Consultations between South Africa and Spain, Madrid, 13 May 2005

Mr Aziz Pahad, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Africa paid an official visit to Spain from the 11 to the 13 May 2005, at the invitation of Mr. Bernardino Leon Gross, the Spanish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Latin America.

During the visit, Mr Pahad and Mr Leon, co-chaired the second Annual Political Consultations between South Africa and Spain held in Madrid on 13 May 2005.

The delegations comprised senior officials representing the following Ministries: Foreign Affairs,Trade and Tourism and Culture.

The consultations took place in a constructive and amicable atmosphere. Since the last Annual Consultations were held in 2004, general elections took place in both countries.

Both sides agreed that, this has contributed to an encouraging convergence of views and closer co-operation on foreign policy issues and to an increasing number of official visits enhancing political and economic ties.

The discussions were continued over an official working lunch by Secretary of State Leon during which the various sectoral groups gave feedback on the outcome of their deliberations.

The following are the results of the discussions of the various sectors:

1. Political relations


Both sides agreed that, the current state of bilateral relations were excellent but that, there was further room for expansion particularly in the economic sector.

The positive trend regarding the development of economic ties between the two countries was noted and measures to further strengthen economic ties were discussed. The South African side stated that the increasing interest of Spanish business to explore investment opportunities, was most encouraging. The opportunities and synergies between Spain, Latin America and Africa in the economic sphere was emphasised and needed to be further explored. The importance of NEPAD, as the AU´s economic development programme, as well as opportunities existing for Spanish business in Africa, was stressed.

The need for further high-level visits, particularly on Head of State/ government was emphasised by both sides and will receive due attention.

It was also agreed that a MOU on cooperation between the two countries should be finalised as soon as possible. This would facilitate the cooperation between South Africa and Spain in the sectors identified and agreed upon by both parties and included in the MOU.

The two sides also noted that, progress has been made with cooperation in the defence, science and technology, health and agriculture sectors in the meantime and that, it should be endeavoured to include these sectors in future Annual Consultations.


The two sides held an in depth and wide ranging discussion on the African Agenda. Deputy Minister Pahad briefed the Spanish side on developments in SADC, AU, NEPAD with special reference to regional integration processes, South Africa´ s role in conflict resolution in the DRC, the Great Lake area, Côte d´Ivoire and Sudan. As a member of the AU´s Peace and Security Council, South Africa stressed that, it will do all it can to ensure the effective function of this important instrument of African peace and that South Africa will continue to seek Spanish and EU cooperation and partnership in this regard. In this context the importance of the resumption of the EU/ Africa dialogue at the highest level was stressed.

The Spanish side also briefed the South African side on the Barcelona Euro-Mediterranean process, as well as on their diplomatic endeavours for the parties to reach a negotiated solution on the Western Sahara.

It was agreed that consultation and cooperation on African issues, should be effectively expanded.


Both sides confirmed their unequivocal support for the principle of effective multilateralism.

The Spanish side briefed the South African side on the latest developments, regarding the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative, submitted by Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero at UNGA in 2004. Deputy Minister Pahad reaffirmed South Africa´ s support in principle for this important initiative. Both sides agreed to strengthen their cooperation, to attain common goals regarding the fight against poverty, hunger and under-development. In this context the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals was critical.

In this respect the two sides committed themselves to work towards a successful conclusion of the UN Summit that will take place in New York in September, and a comprehensive reform of the Organization.


A wide ranging exchange on the Middle-East, in particular the Palestine/ Israel crisis was held. Both sides agreed on the need to promote a just, global and lasting peace based on a two state solution.

2. Trade, Economic and Financial Cooperation.

  • The two sides noted the very positive growth experienced in trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.
  • In particular, as far as trade relations are concerned, both sides agreed on the importance of South Africa market and the wide opportunities it offers to Spanish companies also as a gateway or platform to other Southern African Countries. Both sides agreed to further promote trade, and the Spanish side noted its desire to reach a higher equilibrium in trade relations. Both sides stressed out the importance in this context of the SA/EU agreement on Trade, Development and Cooperation to enhance trade relations and expressed their interest on the conclusion as soon as possible of the negotiations for the liberalization of the automotive sector with a satisfactory result for both parties.
  • As far as investments relations are concerned both parts agreed on the huge possibilities offered by SA to attract Spanish investors. In this regard, a large discussion was developed on the potential sectors to increase co-operation between companies of both countries in areas such as infrastructure, tourism, telecommunications, automotive, mining, financing, etc. Both parties exchanged information on main projects in course participated by Spanish companies. A special reference was made to the Gautrain project where the Gauliwe Consortium participated by two Spanish companies has submitted an offer.
  • In the context of the South-South co-operation developed by South Africa, India and Brazil both sides stressed their interest in exploring new collaboration possibilities between Spanish and South African companies.
  • Both sides agreed on the importance of promotion activities like the investment seminar celebrated this week where the participation of Spanish companies has been very important and recognized the interest of fostering these kind of events in order to enhance the co-operation of both business communities.
  • Both sides exchanged information concerning the situation of the Agreement on Double Taxation and expressed their desire to conclude, as soon as possible, the signing and enter into force of this Agreement in order to reinforce the framework of the economic bilateral co-operation.

3. Cultural cooperation

The two sides highlighted the signing of the Cooperation Agreement in the area of Art and Culture between the two countries on 3 February 2004, that paved the way for this meeting to take place. The items dealt with in the meeting were as follows:

  • A report was given on the visits made by the South African delegation (Prado Museum, Cervantes Institute, National Historical Archives).
  • Both parties agreed to arrange a meeting during the visit of the Spanish delegation to the World Heritage Committee in Durban in July.
  • Cooperation will be set up between the Cervantes Institute, the Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture, PANSALAB, UNED and the AECI Sub-Directorate for Internships and Assistantships, especially on technology transfer issue. In this respect, mention was made to the ongoing cooperation agreement between UNISA and UNED.
  • The ongoing cooperation over the last decade through the AECI´s assistantship and scholarship programme was mentioned including the three existing assistantships in South Africa and the possibility of a fourth assistantship in a university to be proposed by the South African delegation. Also, the main areas within the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation´s Master Plan were mentioned.
  • A request was made for help with regard to the assistantship at Wits University.
  • Possible areas of cooperation were examined in the fields of Museums and Restoration techniques (paintings, manuscripts, sculpture, etc.)
  • In the area of Archives, the possibility of organising a visit to Spain of South African professionals was discussed, so that they could become familiar with Spanish Archives, especially the Simancas, Crown of Aragón and Indies Archives.
  • The South African delegation expressed interest in having access to any documentation on African history available in Spain.
  • A possible collaboration on heritage issues between young people from the two countries was discussed. This will not be possible during the events to be held to mark the Youth Month in June this year but will be borne in mind for next year.
  • The possibilities offered by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture through its three programmes were also examined: conversation assistants, visiting lectures and language sections.
  • The South African delegation was provided with a first draft of the Minutes for the forthcoming meeting of the Joint Committee on Education and Culture. A date for that meeting will be set shortly.


Deputy Minister Pahad and Secretary of State Leon in conclusion expressed their satisfaction with the constructive and positive outcome of the deliberations and agreed that the next round of Annual Consultations will take place in South Africa in the first half of 2006.

Prior to the consultations in Madrid, Deputy Minister Pahad paid a visit to the Canary Islands to participate in an important Seminar on "Sub-Saharan Africa/Spanish relations" that was held in Santa Cruz de Tenerife from the 11 to the 12 of May.

Mr Pahad participated, together with the Spanish Secretary of State, Mr León, in the panel discussion entitled "Africa as a New Political Priority". Deputy Minister Pahad gave a comprehensive overview of positive and hopeful developments taking place in Africa and the need for Spain, the European Union and the international community to expand their engagement on that continent.

Deputy Minister Pahad also stated that Africa was encouraged by the constructive and positive approach towards the challenges facing Africa and the developing world, as enunciated by President Zapatero and the Spanish government and that Africa stands ready to partner with Spain to ensure that the 21st century is indeed an African century.

During his visit to Madrid, Deputy Minister Pahad also officially opened an economic seminar on "Economic opportunities in South Africa", which was hosted by The Spanish Confederation of Employers´ Organizations (CEOE) in Madrid and which was attended by 60 Spanish companies. The interest shown in investment opportunities by Spanish Business was most encouraging and a number of concrete enquiries were received.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs

Private Bag X152

13 May 2005


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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa