Minister Nkoana-Mashabane undertakes Official Visit to the Republic of Bulgaria

Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane is scheduled to undertake an Official Visit to the Republic of Bulgaria from 2 to 3 September 2011 at the invitation of her Bulgarian counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Nickolay Mladenov. The meeting is mandated by the June 1995 Protocol on Consultations between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of South Africa and Bulgaria.

During her visit to Bulgaria, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will also meet with the Bulgarian Minister of Environmental Affairs and Water, Ms Nona Karadjova to exchange notes on the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 17) that South Africa will host in December 2011. The Minister will also pay courtesy call to the Bulgarian President, Mr Georgi Parvanov.

The primary objectives of the visit are:

  • To strengthen political and economic relations between the two countries
  • To strengthen cooperation on skills development
  • To promote the African Agenda
  • To exchange views on multilateral issues of common interest

During their meeting, the two Ministers will review the state of bilateral relations between the two countries, including an assessment of the implementation of signed agreements and decisions of recent high level engagements. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries several agreements have been signed, such as Diplomatic and Political Consultations, Education, Science and Technology, Tourism, Sport, Arts and Culture, Defence, Police Cooperation.

Bulgaria joined the European Union (EU) in January 2007 and is now party to the South Africa-EU Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement (TDCA). The Minister will therefore share notes on how the two countries can utilise the TDCA to strengthen bilateral economic and commercial relations. Furthermore, the Ministers will exchange views on mechanisms to strengthen the mainstreaming of the African Agenda (NEPAD) in the South Africa-EU and Africa-EU partnerships.

The Ministers will review developments on regional and global peace and security issues including current developments in North Africa and the Middle East.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will brief Minister Mladenov on preparations for COP 17 and exchange views on the expected outcomes. Furthermore, the Ministers will discuss other global governance issues such as the reform of the global governance system and share South Africa’s priorities during SA’s current UNSC non-permanent seat.

South Africa established diplomatic relations with Bulgaria in 1992. Bilateral relations between the two countries are sound and constructive. Economic relations show a steady growth from a low base. Recently two major South African companies, Mondi and Automotive Leather Company have made major investments in Bulgaria.

Due to the global economic recession, South African exports to Bulgaria have declined from R 339 million in 2007 to R73 million in 2010, whilst imports from Bulgaria have increased at a slower rate from R100 million in 2007 to R 126 million in 2010.  South Africa is the third largest global exporter of medium to high value wines to the growing Bulgarian wine market.

South Africa’s major exports to Bulgaria are mineral products; textiles and textile articles; vegetable products; machinery and mechanical appliances and electrical equipment; base metals and articles of base metals; and products of the chemical or allied industries.

South Africa’s major imports from Bulgaria include machinery and mechanical appliances and electrical equipment; base metals and articles of base metals; products of the chemical or allied industries; vegetable products; textiles and textile articles.

Enquiries: Clayson Monyela on 082 884 5974.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
Pretoria
www.dirco.gov.za

01 September 2011

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