Press Release

11 June 2013

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane concludes working visit to Belgium, proceeds to Finland

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has concluded a successful visit to Brussels, Belgium on Tuesday, 11 June 2013.

On Monday, 10 June, 2013, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane met with Baroness Catherine Ashton, the European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who is also the Vice-President of the European Commission, for the 12th SA-EU Ministerial Political Dialogue (MPD).

The Ministerial Political Dialogue is a structured engagement that takes place annually as part of the SA-EU Strategic Relationship.  It also serves as a preparatory meeting for the annual SA-EU Summit, which will take place in South Africa on 18 July 2013.

During the Ministerial Dialogue, both parties welcomed the continued deepening of the EU-South Africa Strategic Partnership and noted the value of on-going Development Cooperation.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and Baroness Ashton encouraged all those engaged in other areas of cooperation, including migration, energy, employment and trade to press forward with their existing work programmes to deliver progress, including in advance of the upcoming EU-South Africa Summit in South Africa. In this regard, it was proposed that the Summit focus on the theme of job creation, economic growth, investment and skills.

The two parties also discussed closer EU-South Africa cooperation on Africa, including international issues of common interest such as building peace, security and good governance.

Both sides welcomed the growing role of emerging economies in global affairs and South Africa was congratulated on the successful BRICS Summit hosted in Durban on 26 – 27 March 2013 and the developing dialogue between these countries and Africa.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane also held bilateral discussions with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Mr Didier Reynders. During the meeting, the state of bilateral relations between South Africa and Belgium was discussed and views were exchanged on regional and international developments.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane is proceeding to Helsinki, Finland where she will lead the South African delegation to the 13th African and Nordic Foreign Ministers Meeting, scheduled for 15-16 June 2013.

The meeting is expected to address three issues, namely: (1) How do macro-economic challenges affect the Nordic Welfare model? (2) Africa on the rise - how to make economic growth inclusive? and (3) Seeking solutions to African conflicts – the role of regional and global actors.

South Africa attaches great importance to its Nordic partners and believes that this engagement will serve as a platform to further consolidate and strengthen the already cordial relations with the Nordics.

For further information, please contact Mr. Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, on 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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