Media statement by Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim after political consultation with the Belarus Deputy Minister, Sergei Aleinik on Wednesday, 26 October 2011, Parliament, Cape Town

Members of the media, it is worth noting to have my Belarusian counterpart, Deputy Minister Aleinik and his delegation in South Africa.  This is part of our annual political consultations in line with the Protocol on Political Consultations signed in 2000.

During our interactions earlier today we discussed extensively about our bilateral relations established in 1993, which we strongly believe to have a potential for substantial growth in the fields of science and technology, education and skills development, trade and investment especially in the areas of agro-processing, automotives, electrical and electronic engineering, machine manufacturing, tractors and tyres as well as in the tourism industry.

We have taken note of Belarus’ interest in exploring opportunities for tractor and maintenance assembly plant in the IDZ in Port Elizabeth. We will monitor developments in this area.

We also discussed developments in SADC region and the African continent in general.

This has been an excellent opportunity to get an understanding of the Republic of Belarus about the situation in their region and to share our understanding of the SADC region.

We had an excellent opportunity to discuss multilateral issues including the reform of the United Nations and was clear that my colleague, Deputy Minister Aleinik is familiar with the areas of the United Nations as a former permanent representative of Belarus to the United Nations Office in Geneva from 2002 t0 2009.

The Deputy Minister will also co-chair SA-Belarus dti ITEC tomorrow, 27 October in Pretoria.

We also had and will continue to have discussions on the upcoming COP17/CMP7 to be held in Durban towards the end of November to beginning of December 2011.  This is a very important Climate Change Meeting because it will assess the new challenges we face in the environment.

Deputy Minister I thank you for this excellent opportunity to renew our discussions with a hope that your visit will open up other opportunities for political and economic links between our two countries.

Thank you

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