Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to host the 8th Session of the South Africa / Egypt Joint Bilateral Commission, 19 March 2010, Pretoria

The International Relations and Cooperation Minister Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will hold the 8th Session of the Joint Bilateral Commission with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mr Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit on 19 March 2010 in Pretoria.

The Joint Bilateral Commission takes place within the context of South-South cooperation and the consolidation of the African Agenda. The Joint Commission was established on 29 March 1995 and provision is made for annual meetings at the level of Ministers. The Ministerial Session will be preceded by a meeting of senior officials on 17 and 18 March.

Bilateral relations between South Africa and Egypt were first established in 1942 when South Africa opened an Embassy in Egypt. In 1957 the Embassy was closed as a result of apartheid policies of the South African government and the support of the Egyptian government for the liberation movements. In 1988 contact between the two governments was re-established and in 1993 relations were normalised when representative offices were opened in Cairo and Pretoria respectively. In 1994 after the first democratic elections, the two governments announced the upgrading of their respective representative offices to that of Embassies.

Since the normalisation of diplomatic ties in 1994, South Africa and Egypt have witnessed numerous high-profile visits. Former President Nelson Mandela visited Egypt on several occasions before and after 1994. Former President Thabo Mbeki visited Cairo for the EU-Africa Summit in April 2000 and again for the African Union Summit in June 2008 and President Jacob Zuma attended the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in July 2009. Former Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has also undertaken several visits to Egypt. In July 2008 President Hosni Mubarak paid a historic State Visit to South Africa.

South Africa is the only African country in Sub-Sahara Africa with which Egypt convenes regular Joint Bilateral Commissions (JBC). Seven sessions of the JBC have already taken place since the establishment of the JBC in 1995. The 8th session is scheduled to take place in South Africa from 17 to 19 March 2010.

South Africa and Egypt have entered into more than 20 bilateral agreements so far. A Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Civil Service was signed by the Minister of Public Service and Administration on 15 October 2008 and a Memorandum of Understanding on Economic Cooperation was signed by the Minister of Trade and Industry on 2 August 2009. The Joint Bilateral Commission aims to review implementation of the existing agreements and to hold discussions on draft agreements under consideration.

Although trade figures  increased in 2008 due to a higher than normal export of minerals in the form of oil and petroleum products from Egypt, there has been a recent decline in the trade volume possibly due to the financial crisis. The Department of Trade and Industry plans to send a high level delegation to Egypt during the second quarter of 2010 in order to consolidate the relationship and boost trade between the two countries.

Accordingly, the Joint Bilateral Commission will consider amongst others the following:

  • Finalise dates for a State Visit to Egypt during the second semester of 2010;
  • Promotion of economic relations as well as trade and investment links through regular exchange of business delegations
  • Discuss the situation in the Middle East
  • Discuss the situation in Sudan, including mediation efforts by former President Mbeki.
  • Discuss the outcomes of the recent African Union Summit.
  • Discuss Egypt’s objectives as Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Ministerial Committee on Science and Technology (AMCOST) and as Co-Chair of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
  • Discuss the implementation of existing agreements Finalisation and possible signature of  draft agreements

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mr Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit will depart South Africa on 19 March 2010.

Media Programme

09:15 Media to arrive ahead of the Egyptian Foreign Minister Mr Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit

10:00 Arrival of Minister Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit

Photo Opportunity

10:05-10:25 Têtê-á-tête between Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and Minister Aboul Gheit

Venue: Minister’s Office
460 Soutpansberg Road

Contact/RSVP: Thembela Ngculu on 082 387 5611

10:30-12:50 Opening and Welcome Remarks by Minister Nkoana-Mashabane

Remarks by Minister Aboul Gheit

Venue: Conference Centre, Ground Floor

Media takes leave

12:55 Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and Minister Aboul Gheit are conducted to the Media Centre

Media in attendance

13:00-13:15 Signing of Agreements, Agreed Minutes and Conclusion of JBC 

13:15-13:30 Press Conference

 Order of Proceedings:

Remarks by Minister Nkoana-Mashabane
Remarks by Minister Aboul Gheit
Questions and Answers

End of Media Programme

For more info please contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy Kgomotso Saul Molobi on 082 940 1647.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152

17 March 2010


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