Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane departs for the UK to attend the 9th SA-UK Bilateral Forum
Pretoria - Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has today, 08 June 2011, left the country to lead the South African Delegation to the 9th SA-UK Bilateral Forum on 09 June 2011 in London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The visit comes within the context of strengthening political and bilateral relations between the two countries.
Cementing the historic relations between the Republic of South Africa and the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland, the Bilateral Forum was established in 1997 as a structured consultative mechanism between the two governments to develop and enhance mutually beneficial political, cultural and economic relations.
The forthcoming SA-UK Bilateral Forum will be an important milestone in the relations between the two countries as its main thrust will be on implementing the ideals expressed in the Joint Declaration as adopted at the end of President Jacob G. Zuma’s State Visit to the UK in 2010.
It is envisaged that the 9th Bilateral Forum will culminate in the adoption of a Joint Strategy that will henceforth serve as a blueprint for enhancing the relations between our Republic and the UK. On May 04, 2011, in preparation for the forthcoming Bilateral Forum, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation held a meeting with South African Government Departments and the British High Commission to discuss and agree on the Draft Joint Strategy. During the deliberations key South African Departments were identified as critical drivers of the strategy, making it imperative for them to attend the Bilateral Forum scheduled for 09 June 2011, namely: the Department of Finance, the Department of Trade and Industry; the Department of Environmental Affairs; Department of Energy; and the Department of Mineral Resources; Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries; Department of Sports and Recreation; Department of Home Affairs; and Department of Arts and Culture.
These Departments will help achieve the ideals envisioned in the Joint Strategy Framework including: doubling trade by 2015, by fostering strong; sustainable; open; and inclusive economies which promote national economic stability, regional and international growth and bilateral business links between South Africa and the UK.
In addition; it is envisaged that these Departments will be key in driving the process towards realising safe and secure societies which prevent and combat crime, counter terrorism and weapons proliferation, and work to reduce conflict and other threats to human security. Our Departments will also elaborate with their UK counterparts on how best to promote a stronger rules based international system; to create the materialisation of equal societies and support citizens through shared values of justice, democracy, cultural diversity and poverty reduction and eradication.
During the Bilateral Forum Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will hold discussions with her British counterpart, Mr William Hague to deliberate on the following pertinent issues;
- To Deepen Bilateral relations - including the adoption of the Joint Strategy;
- Active promotion of the African Agenda, including support for NEPAD and recent developments on the African continent;
- Multilateral co-operation, especially at the United Nations Security Council; and
- Exchanging views on climate change in the context of COP 17, which will be hosted in Durban in November 2011.
Side events, planned to run parallel to the Bilateral Forum, include: an Entrepreneurs Forum designed to build on the capacity of SA entrepreneurs which are key to economic growth, development and skills; an Agriculture Roundtable, a Business Delegation meeting, and UNSC discussions at official level, led by Ambassador Nhlapo, supported by Ambassador Gumbi and Sanqu.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane is scheduled to return to the Republic of South Africa on Friday, 10 June 2011.
For further 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
460 Soutpansberg Road
08 June 2011