Joint Communiqué: Seventh Annual Consultations between the Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Spain, Pretoria, 2 February 2011

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Marius Fransman, and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Spain, Mr Juan Antonio Yáñez-Barnuevo, led the 7th Session of the South Africa-Spain Annual Consultations held in Pretoria during 1 to 2 February 2011 in Pretoria.

On 2 February Deputy Minister Fransman and Secretary of State Yáñez-Barnuevo held bilateral talks and then co-chaired the political consultations between senior officials of the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

In addition to the political consultations, meetings of senior officials from a number of South African government departments and Spanish ministries took place during the two days.  The other three Working Groups were Economic Affairs, Trade and Investment (including Transport, Energy and the Environment); Home Affairs; and Development Cooperation and Culture.

These meetings were followed by a plenary session, where rapporteurs from the Working Groups presented the main conclusions of their Groups.  Representatives of the defence sectors of the two countries also briefed the plenary session on current developments.

The meeting of the two principals reaffirmed the strategic partnership between South Africa and Spain and the countries’ shared commitment to the values of democracy, a fair and equitable system of global governance, and peace and security and development on the African continent.

The Deputy Minister and Secretary of State reviewed bilateral relations between South Africa and Spain and expressed their satisfaction that these relations continue to be strong and positive in spite of the challenges posed by the global financial and economic crises.  They expressed the strong joint commitment to grow and strengthen relations in all areas, with specific attention to cooperation that will in a practical way promote South Africa’s five national priorities.

Both sides expressed their commitment to make special efforts to increase the level of implementation of the commitments made during this year's Annual Consultations.

On 1 February 2011, prior to the Annual Consultations, Secretary of State Yáñez-Barnuevo also paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim.

Political Relations

Bilateral relations between South Africa and Spain remain excellent, however they could benefit from further high-level visits. In this regard it was noted that the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Spain, Ms Trinidad Jimenez, have extended reciprocal invitations to the other to visit their country.

The parties expressed their satisfaction at the signing on 7 December 2010 of an agreement aimed at enhancing development and governance through building the capacity of prosecutors in selected African countries to effectively prosecute serious, organised, complex, transnational and international crime, which contributes to the development also of the African continent.

The parties reviewed the status of bilateral agreements currently under consideration and expressed the joint commitment to make progress in finalising these as soon as possible. 

The state of economic and trade relations were closely considered and it was agreed that the challenges posed by the global economic and financial crises should not be an insurmountable obstacle to the consolidation and revitalisation of these relations.  As the world begins to move out of these crises the two countries will intensify their cooperation to identify and exploit the opportunities that exist for increased economic exchange.

Deputy Minister Fransman briefed his Spanish counterpart on South Africa’s national priorities of decent employment, education, health services, rural development and fighting crime and corruption.  Spain would be willing to cooperate in projects promoting these where possible. 

Spain briefed South Africa on the status of its Africa Plan which encapsulates Spain’s commitment to the continent and demonstrates many synergies with the objectives of the African Union and its programme for social and economic development, NEPAD.  Deputy Minister Fransman expressed South Africa’s appreciation for Spain’s continued commitment to Africa as also demonstrated by the consistently high levels of Official Development Assistance that the country makes available. Both parties agreed on the need to explore together further opportunities for triangular co-operation in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Deputy Minister Fransman briefed the Secretary of State on the initiative to establish the South African Development Partnership Agency (SADPA). This Agency will rationalise and increase the efficiency of the development cooperation of South Africa on the continent, also in partnership with developed countries such as Spain. 

The parties reiterated the agreement reach at the Consultations held in 2009 to facilitate the flow of information between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain and the Department of International Relations and Co-operation of South Africa, in particular that they will implement an exchange of experts.  Such an exchange should commence in 2011 with South African diplomats being hosted in Madrid and could subsequently be carried out annually, to provide a solid link for the flow of information and collaboration between the two entities.

The parties reviewed the latest political developments and issues of conflict resolution, peace building and post-conflict reconstruction programmes on the African continent, such as Sudan/Darfur, Zimbabwe, developments in the Maghreb, Madagascar and the Ivory Coast.  Both delegations expressed their concern about the political crises in Madagascar and the Ivory Coast, as well as the situation in Zimbabwe and will continue to follow developments closely. Spain expressed its support and appreciation for the active engagement of the South African Government in promoting the stability of the continent. Both parties also commended the active role of the UN and the AU in this regard.

On the subject of Somalia and the fight against piracy both parties expressed their concern at the increasing reach of piracy operation, extending inter alia as far as the Mozambican Channel, and agreed that the root causes on both land and sea should be addressed in order to arrive at a lasting solution.

The parties also had a fruitful exchange on recent developments in the Middle East and prospects for peace and stability in that region and agreed to support international processes in this regard.

Spain and South Africa stressed the importance of effective multilateralism and the indispensable role of the United Nations in solving global challenges.  The parties highlighted as an important and pressing challenge that requires the widest political support the need for the reform of the UN system and its main bodies and organs, including the comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council, with the aim of enhancing the efficiency and transparency of the system as well as the effective and equitable representation of the nations and all regions of the world, including of Africa.
 
The parties agreed that the global financial and economic crises require a global response and that the United Nations plays a critical role in advancing the international development agenda.  Both parties acknowledged the opportunities that the G20 offers to advance in the area of international economic governance and reiterated their support for the different initiatives aimed at ensuring a more equitable and just representation in the different world economic fora. 

The Deputy Minister and Secretary of State exchanged views on the fundamental challenges posed by climate change and the need for these to be addressed through an urgent and unified international effort.  Both parties expressed their hope and optimism for the success of the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The parties also exchanged views on the UN Conference on Sustainable Development “Earth Summit” that will take place in 2012.

Economic Affairs, Trade and Investment (including Transport, Energy and the Environment)

Both sides acknowledged the improvements in the global economy which have been led by the Newly Industrialised Economies, resulting in increased international trade and investment flows.

Both parties acknowledged the recovery in bilateral trade after a slowdown in 2009 as the result of the international crisis. South Africa noted that despite its recovery, the country continues to face challenges of unemployment and poverty, amongst other things, and shared with its Spanish counterparts the need to engage in new joint investment initiatives to help address this situation. In this regard, the Parties noted the positive contributions made through minerals beneficiation initiatives by Spanish companies, especially, in the steel sector. Both sides undertook to work together to attract more Spanish company investments to add value to South Africa’s mineral resources.

It was also noted that Spanish companies have been participating in local tenders and have continued to visit South Africa for business purposes. On the other hand, South African companies have paid visits to their Spanish counterparts, with increased South African participation in international trade fairs in that country. Moreover, both sides exchanged information on upcoming trade fairs and committed to cooperate where possible in the trade and investment promotion activities. The meeting also obtained a report from South Africa’s Department of Tourism on the current status of the ongoing collaborative work with Spain targeting projects in South Africa and neighbouring countries.

Special attention was paid to the potential for cooperation existing in certain priority sectors such as Renewable Energy, Agriculture, Transport Infrastructure, Skills Development and Technology Cooperation. With regards to Technology Cooperation, both sides noted the South African - Spain Innovation programme (SASI) signed in April 2010 and expressed the hope it would result in new mutually beneficial joint-ventures.

In the area of environment, South Africa views Spain as a strategic partner for cooperation. As a consequence a framework agreement is being prepared to promote joint activities regarding climate change. Both sides identified the potential to explore cooperation on a number of other environmental issues including desertification and land degradation, air pollution and waste management. It is envisaged that these potential areas of cooperation will be on the basis of exchange of technical information, training of technical experts and bilateral consultation.

South Africa will be hosting the UNFCCC COP17 in Durban in December 2011. The Department of Environmental Affairs has established a unit focussing on the comprehensive preparations for hosting the COP17 and will invite Spain to participate in the preparations.

Development Cooperation and Culture

Development cooperation between South Africa and Spain started in 1995 and has matured into a meaningful partnership.

South Africa and Spain are satisfied with the agreement that was recently signed aimed at enhancing development and governance through capacity building of prosecutors in selected countries to effectively prosecute serious, organised, complex, transnational and international crimes. The objective set at the last annual consultations between South Africa and Spain in Madrid in 2009 has thus been achieved. The project involves the National Prosecuting Agency of South Africa, National Treasury, the Institute for Security Studies and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development, which will provide 1 million Euro over 3 years.  This project is based on a triangular cooperation model that would guide future cooperation between South Africa and Spain in African countries. In this regard, the first steering committee met on 1 February 2011 and agreed on the relevant work plan for the first year.

Both countries agreed to work on multilateral and regional initiatives on the African continent with the aim of strengthening bilateral relations between South Africa and Spain in the field of development cooperation in terms of the African Union and its development programme NEPAD, the African World Heritage Fund and the Regional Economic Communities.

Regarding cultural relations the parties are pleased to announce that the Programme of Cooperation for the Implementation of the 2004 Agreement in the Field of Arts and Culture has been agreed, subject to final and internal verification procedures.  The parties acknowledged the urgency of signing the agreement in the coming weeks, by April at the latest. The parties also emphasised the need to activate the Joint Binational Committee meetings on Arts and Culture for the purposes of planning, implementing and monitoring progress in terms of the Programme of Cooperation.

A Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Sports is under negotiation and would be signed at the next Annual Consultations.

Home Affairs

Consensus has been reached on the scope of the waiver of visa requirements for diplomatic passport holders, and both parties wish to continue working towards the signing of the agreement.  South Africa is willing to extend such waiver scheme to include official passport holders at a later stage.  South Africa is willing to provide information on the processes and procedures followed in the issuance of official passports to achieve this objective.

The two governments undertook to pursue cooperation and the possible negotiation of a framework agreement on Combating Crime and Police Cooperation.

Therefore, a meeting proposed by the Spanish delegation is to take place by the 3rd week of February 2011. The meeting will be hosted by the Spanish Embassy officials to prepare the ground for the work to be carried out when a delegation from the Spanish Ministry of Interior will be visiting South Africa, if needed.  DIRCO will invite officials from the South African Police Services, State Security Agency, and the Department of Home Affairs to the preparatory meeting.

Defence

In the communiqué following the Sixth South Africa-Spain Annual Consultations that took place in Madrid in November 2009, it was stated that:  “Observing the outreach and quality of the bilateral cooperation between the Ministries of Defence of both countries and the hope of contributing to the improvement of the results obtained until now and conscious of the necessity to strengthen more the existing cooperation in the area of Security and Defence and in the light of the complexity developed in the environment of international security in recent times, both countries agreed to increase the bilateral relations in the ambit of defence in virtue of the dispositions of the existing agreements between the Kingdom of Spain and the Republic of South Africa that will be translated in the meeting of the second Bilateral Consultation in Madrid in 2010.”

Both sides expressed the need to continue to cooperate and to maintain the existing close cooperation between them under the auspices of the RSA - Kingdom of Spain Defence Committee.


For more information, please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO, on 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building
Private Bag X152
Pretoria, 0001

03 February 2011


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