Opening statement by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane at the opening of 1st South Africa-Mexico Binational Commission, 19 April 2010.

Your Excellency, Patricia Espinosa, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the United Mexican States
Ambassador Mbete,
Ambassador Cabrera,
Senior Officials from our respective Governments
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure and I am indeed honoured and humbled by the warm reception which the Government and the people of Mexico have displayed in welcoming my delegation. I would like to thank the government of Mexico for hosting the inaugural Binational Commission, a direct result of your visit Madame Secretary, to our country in February 2009.

The Binational Commission is an important mechanism for constructive engagement and dialogue between our two countries, both at a political, socio economic bilateral as well as multilateral co-operation level.  The establishment of the BNC underscores the significance of the maturing relations between Mexico and South Africa.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
While this is the inaugural BNC, much work has been done to enhance our relations since 1994 when Mexico and a democratic SA established diplomatic relations. Therefore, this BNC provides us with an opportunity to take stock of our achievements and reflect on the challenges hindering our progress in some areas of our bilateral cooperation. Thus, we will be able to forge our way forward in cementing the excellent relations that exist between our countries and peoples.
This session will also help to reinforce the existing projects and pursue new areas of cooperation that will be mutually beneficial, especially in the area of trade.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,
At an international level, Mexico and South Africa enjoy each other’s support on important multilateral issues.   SA served as a non permanent member of the UNSC in 2007-2008 while Mexico currently serves on the council. SA has declared an interest to, once again, serve in 2011-2012 and there are various areas of cooperation on matters of common concern for both countries.  South Africa’s candidature has also been endorsed by the African Union (AU). In the area of Climate Change, Mexico will host the COP16 Summit in 2010, followed by COP17 in SA in 2011.  We must work together as Mexico prepares for COP16. 

Madame Secretary,
I am aware that the various Commissions have already been hard at work and I look forward to their reports.  I am confident that these reports will direct us to a more enhanced and solid way forward in our relations.

On 11 June 2010 South Africa will host the FIFA World Cup, the first time ever that this event takes place on the African Continent.  South Africa as the host country together with all African Countries are indeed looking forward to welcome the rest of the world to share this event with us.
May I also extend my congratulations to Mexico as you celebrates the bicentennial of independence and 100 years of the Revolution.

Madame Secretary,
Allow me to reiterate, South Africa’s commitment to working with the people of Mexico in addressing the challenges that face the countries of the South.
You will find us a dependable partner.

I thank you.


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