International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim Concludes his Working Visit to the Gulf Region States.

Muharraq, KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN – Today, 5 August 2010, Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim concluded his working visit to the Gulf Region: State of Qatar; State of Kuwait and Kingdom of Bahrain. The purpose of the visit of Deputy Minister Ebrahim was to enhance economic and political relations with the Gulf Region States who, like the Republic of South Africa, are developing nations. Resoundingly, all three countries acknowledged the progress South Africa has made since the dawn of democracy and relayed to Deputy Minister Ebrahim their full support for the South Africa’s candidature for the United Nations Security Council Non-Permanent Member seat for the period 2011 to 2012. 

Qatar

The visit to the Gulf began in the Doha, Qatar on the 31 July, 2010 where the Deputy Minister co-chaired the Second Round of Bilateral Consultations with Mr Saif Mugaddam Al-Buainain, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs. During the consultation Deputy Minister Ebrahim discussed the issue of advancing economic cooperation and to finalise the agreements related to the establishment of a South Africa-Qatar Business Council and co-operation between the respective chambers of commerce. Furthermore, he also discussed the agreement on cooperation of Science and Technology; collaboration in the area of energy; a proposal for a permanent Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at a South African tertiary institution in an effort to enhance understanding of the Middle East among South Africans, to speedily ratify  agreements in Defence Co-operation Agreement;  and sign into force Memoranda of Understanding on Co-operation in the fields of Health; aviation; tourism; agriculture and police.

Kuwait

The Deputy Minister’s visit to Kuwait was to acknowledge the longstanding relationship the two countries have shared since 2000 resulting in a formalised relationship through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. It was also noted that Kuwaiti investment in South Africa continues to be significant. Deputy Minister Ebrahim congratulated Sheikh Ambassador Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al Sabah of the Kuwait Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the People of Kuwait for their efforts inovercoming their hardship and progress towards redeveloping their country. During the visit, Minister Ebrahim and his delegation met with, amongst others, the Acting Prime Minster and the Ministry of Defence, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, and the Kuwait investment Authority.   South Africa and Kuwait trade relations are underlined by total trade between the two countries amounting to R93 468 000 (in 2009). The two countries have entered into six Bilateral Agreements, including a Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Consultation signed and entered into force on 18 July 2000. The Prime Minister of Kuwait is scheduled to visit South Africa in the latter part of 2010 at which time he is expected to meet with the South African Government and business representatives.

Bahrain

In the Kingdom of Bahrain, Deputy Minister Ebrahim met with Mr Abdulla Abdullatif Abdulla, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  During the meeting, Undersecretary Abdulla stated that the Kingdom of Bahrain unequivocally supports the Republic of South Africa candidature for the Non-Permanent Member seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the year 2011-2012, “as issues that are important for South Africa is also important to us” Undersecretary Abdulla said.   Deputy Minister Ebrahim and Undersecretary Abdulla discussed the five agreements that South Africa and Bahrain are currently negotiated, namely a Memorandum of Understanding on Economic, Trade and Technical Cooperation; an Agreement for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments; an Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Tourism; an Agreement for the Establishment of a Partnership Forum; and Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and a  Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between the Johannesburg Camber of Commerce and Industry and Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

For further information please contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Saul Kgomotso Molobi on 082 940 1647/ molobis@dirco.gov.za 

Issued by Department of International Relations and Cooperation
460 Soutpansberg Road
Pretoria
Republic of South Africa
0001

05 August 2010

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