Press Release

07 September 2013

Deputy Minister Fransman concludes visit to Ecuador, arrives in Cuba

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman concluded his working visit to Ecuador on 06 September 2013. The Deputy Minister is currently on a four-nation visit to Latin America comprising Peru, Ecuador, Cuba and Colombia.

Deputy Minister Fransman's visit to Ecuador was utilised to strengthen political, social and economic bilateral relations and to discuss areas of cooperation and mutual interest. The two countries also reaffirmed mutual support in multilateral and regional forums.

While in Ecuador, Deputy Minister Fransman paid a courtesy visit on the Minister of Foreign Relations and Human Movement, Mr Ricardo Patiño. The meeting facilitated the elaboration of a clear bilateral agenda and it was agreed that both countries would continue working on key areas identified during the discussions.

Deputy Minister Fransman held constructive bilateral consultations with his counterpart, Ecuador's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mario Albuja. Both sides agreed that the strengthening of bilateral relations between their two countries was critical in advancing their national development priorities and common multilateral interests. In this regard, the Deputy Ministers paid particular attention to the implementation of priority agreements and the conclusion of outstanding agreements.

Both sides have also agreed to create a regulatory framework at the economic, social and cultural level with a view to strengthen cooperation between South African and Ecuadorian government and civil society stakeholders on mutually agreed priority areas such as: trade and investment; mining and mineral beneficiation; science and technology; arts and culture; and education and skills development.

The two Deputy Ministers also exchanged views on regional and global peace, security and governance issues. Both sides reaffirmed that international solidarity, sovereignty, regional and domestic integrity, and respect for multilateral institutions remain paramount in international politics. The Deputy Ministers stated that they would continue to work together to champion the development agenda of the South. In this regard, South Africa welcomed Ecuador's hosting of the 4th Africa-South America Summit in 2016.

The bilateral consultations culminated in the release of a joint declaration which called for the formalisation of bilateral cooperation at the economic, social and cultural level. The declaration also outlined South Africa and Ecuador's common position on the situation in Syria.

Deputy Minister Fransman had a fruitful meeting with the President of the National Assembly, Ms Gabriella Ribadeneira. Also present at the meeting was the Chairperson of the Foreign Relations Portfolio Committee of Ecuador, Mr R. Bustamante. Both sides agreed that South Africa and Ecuador's Parliaments should create a platform for dialogue on issues of mutual interest. It was further agreed that South Africa and Ecuador should meet on the sidelines of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, scheduled to take place in Geneva during October.

Following his successful visit to Ecuador, Deputy Minister Marius Fransman has arrived in Havana, Cuba on 06 September 2013 for a Working Visit.

While in Cuba, Deputy Minister Fransman will co-chair the 10th SA-Cuba Joint Consultative Mechanism (JCM) with 1st Deputy Minister Mr Marcelino Medina.

The JCM, established in 2001 to coordinate cooperation between the two countries, convenes annually and is co-chaired by the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa and the 1st Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba. The JCM will focus on all aspects of bilateral political relations.

 South Africa and Cuba enjoy solid bilateral and fraternal ties that go beyond the formal establishment of diplomatic ties in May 1994. Following the successful cooperation in the field of health- a collaboration that involves 250 Cuban doctors and medical professors working in South Africa, and over 1400 medical students studying in Cuba- various projects are being pursued in areas such as arts and culture, sports, trade, agriculture, education, housing and water affairs.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, 082 884 5974.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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