Press release

15 September 2012

Deputy Minister Fransman concludes visit to Cuba

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman concluded his visit to Cuba on Friday, 14 September 2012. The visit to Cuba was preceded by a visit to the Republic of Panama.

The objectives of the two-nation visit were to follow-up on bilateral agreements and further enhance relations on the political and economic front.

During his visit to Cuba, Deputy Minister Fransman visited the Park of the African Heroes in Havana, where a wreath was laid at the bust of Oliver Tambo. This ceremony was in honour of the commemoration of the ANC Centenary and the upcoming International Solidarity Movement Conference, scheduled to take place later this year in South Africa.

The Deputy Minister toured the Che Guevara Studies Centre in Havana, where he also paid a courtesy call on Mrs Aleida Guevara, the Head of the Centre and widow of Ernesto Che Guevara.

Deputy Minister Fransman visited LABIOFAM, a scientific institution at the forefront of research in and production of veterinary products, natural products and bio pesticides, amongst others. LABIOFAM's projects include controlling endemic diseases such as Malaria, design of industrial plants, technical consultancy and technology transfers. Possible joint projects in the area of health were discussed.

Deputy Minister Fransman concluded his trip to Cuba with a series of bilateral consultations with Government Ministries. The Deputy Minister met with Mr Hernandez Guillen, Vice Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment; Mr Oscar Martinez Cordoves, Deputy Chief of the International Relations Department of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party; and Mr Rogelio Sierra Diaz, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.

During these bilateral consultations, the on-going efforts of both countries to elevate bilateral trade and commercial relations were noted. In this regard, ratification of the Cuban Economic Assistance Package Agreement, signed earlier this year by South Africa and Cuba, was discussed.

The renewal of the SA-Cuba Health Cooperation Agreement in July this year was also raised. Consequently, South Africa will from September/October 2012 begin to train 1000 students in medical science at Cuban universities.

Enhancing trilateral cooperation, especially in the area of health and humanitarian disasters, was raised. Deputy Minister Fransman highlighted the fact that establishment of the South African Development Partnership Agency (SADPA) will contribute to the effective coordination of development and humanitarian assistance through partnership. South Africa and Cuba proposed to hold a workshop on this issue, which would include relevant stakeholders and regional institutions.

With regard to diplomatic and political relations, upcoming events such as the International Solidarity Movement Conference were discussed. Accelerating the agreements of the newly-appointed Ambassadors-designate to South Africa and Cuba, respectively, was proposed so as to ensure the speedy implementation of bilateral agreements.

Relations between South Africa and Cuba remain excellent. The Governments of both countries share similar interests in relation to addressing the socio-economic needs and aspirations of the peoples of South Africa and Cuba.

Cuba is an established key partner of South Africa in Latin America and the Caribbean.

On the economic front, authorities of both countries have in the past few years increased efforts to enhance bilateral trade and commercial relations.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, +27 82 884 5974.

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road





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