Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim holds meetings in Damascus, Syria, 26 April 2010.

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim today, Monday 26 April 2010, held meetings with Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Walid Al-Moallem, Vice-Foreign Minister, Dr Faysal Mikdad and Minister of Information, Mr. Mohsen Bilal within the context of bilateral relations and the Middle East peace process.

While bilateral relations between South Africa and Syria remain sound and cordial Deputy Minister Ebrahim agreed with the senior Syrian officials that there is a need to review the bilateral cooperation and explore possible areas of cooperation between the two countries. In this regard it was agreed that monitoring mechanisms should be put in place to ensure the implementation of possible agreements in various sectors that could be negotiated and signed in future.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim agreed with his Syrian counterpart, Dr Faysal Mikdad that increased bilateral trade between the two countries has the potential to lessen dependence on the dominant world economies and stands to advance and deepen South – South cooperation.

South Africa indicated its willingness to share its expertise in the infrastructure development programme that the Syrian government has embarked on. In this regard arrangements for contact between the business communities in both countries will be made to ensure increased economic cooperation and increased trade between South African and Syria.

Both Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Al Moallem and Vice-Foreign Minister, Dr Mikdad expressed appreciation at the role South Africa is playing both on the African continent and on the global stage. South Africa and Syria worked very closely with the Syrian Government during its tenure as the member of the United Nation Security Council government and the Syrian Vice Foreign Minister expressed satisfaction with the positions that South Africa took on a range of international debates during its term in the Security Council.   

Deputy Minister Ebrahim also received a briefing on the Middle East political situation and the Syrian Government policy on the Middle East peace process. South Africa considers Syria as one of the important role-players in the Middle East peace process and therefore the importance of its views cannot be overemphasized.

On his part Deputy Minister Ebrahim reiterated the South African Government view that the only viable option is to find a negotiated settlement in order to ensure a two-state solution, with the creation of a sovereign, democratic, independent, Palestinian State existing side-by-side in peace with Israel, within secure and internationally recognized borders.
The South African Government remains convinced that negotiations are the only way to end the conflict and to bring about an end to the occupation of Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian territories.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim is expected deliver a key message at the South African National Day Celebrations on 27 April 2010, organized by the South African Embassy in Damascus.

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

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152
Pretoria, 0001

26 April 2010.


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