Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to host Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith.

Pretoria- International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will host the Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith and his delegation during his working visit to South Africa on 26 January 2010.

The visit comes within the context of strengthening South-South Cooperation. The visit represents another step in the ongoing efforts to enhance and deepen the extremely cordial relations existing between the two countries. He will meet Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and other members of Cabinet.  Discussions will include co-operation in the field of education, climate change, political developments in Southern Africa as well as the promotion of trade and investment.

South Africa and Australia established diplomatic relations in 1947 and enjoy close political and economic ties.  A South Africa – Australian Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) officially came into being in 1997. The JMC was created to provide a framework through which to strengthen the bilateral, and particularly the commercial relationship between South Africa and Australia.

The election of Prime Minister Rudd in November 2007 led to a much closer alignment between South Africa and Australia, with the new Labor Party government displaying a strong commitment to strengthening relations with Asia, Africa and other developing countries.

South Africa and Australia have a history of productive co-operation across a range of issues, including fisheries protection, law enforcement, defence relations and customs cooperation.  Total bilateral trade amounted to R26 billion in 2008, with the balance slightly in favour of Australia. Tourism also constitutes an important contributor to economic relations, with more than 100 000 arrivals from Australia in 2008. 

Environmental matters are an area of increasing co-operation; and South Africa and Australia entered into a Climate Change Partnership in 2006, to promote co-operation in this regard.
Australia has become home to approximately 127 000 South Africans. Most of these have close and sentimental ties with South Africa. They play a significant part in the Australian economy, with many in managerial positions.

Media Programme to be issued out shortly.

For more information contact the Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Mr Saul Kgomotso Molobi, on 082 940 1647.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road

24 January 2010



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