Joint Declaration by South Africa and Chile, 8 August 2014

Bilateral discussions between President Jacob Zuma and President Michelle Bachelet and their respective delegations took place at the Union Buildings, Pretoria on 8 August 2014, at the start of President Bachelet’s official State Visit to South Africa from 8-10 August 2014.

The following issues were discussed:

  • Recent developments in South Africa and in Chile;
  • Regional developments in Africa and Latin America;
  • Inter-regional issues;
  • Multilateral issues; and
  • Bilateral relations in various sectors.

The two Presidents noted with appreciation the broad scope of bilateral relations and potential opportunities which includes energy, defence, science and technology, trade and investment, mineral resources, social development and environmental issues. 

The global and regional agenda

In the global arena, South Africa and Chile are like-minded countries in terms of their mutual positions on international issues of reform of multilateral institutions, climate change, human rights, and the challenges of sustainable economic and social development in the midst of global recession.

Chile indicated unconditional support for South Africa’s candidature for the 2011/2012 non-permanent UNSC seat, and South Africa supported Chile’s successful bid for re-election to the Human Rights Council for the period 2011- 2014.

Chile has indicated that its focus is on promoting African interests during its current Non-Permanent membership (regional candidacy) of the UNSC for 2014/2015.

The Presidents expressed concern with developments in the Israel-Palestine conflict and called on all parties to commit to an immediate ceasefire and to work towards a peaceful settlement.

The Presidents noted the discontinuation of the South Africa Airways direct route to Buenos Aires in March 2014 with regret and encouraged engagement between the competent authorities of both countries towards improving connectivity between the regions. The Presidents proposed that the matter be elevated to the Africa-South America agenda in an effort to find an intercontinental commitment to promoting transport links between the two continents.

Gender issues

The protection of women’s rights remains a serious global challenge, especially in view of developments such as the April 2014 kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls.

President Zuma noted that the invitation from the Nelson Mandela Foundation for President Bachelet to deliver the 12th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in Cape Town on 9 August, which is National Women’s Day in South Africa, is based on President Bachelet’s recognised international work on the promotion of social justice and human rights.  

President Bachelet was the immediate predecessor of former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as Head of UN Women.

Therefore her visit to South Africa at this time is very apt.

Energy

Both countries face similar challenges in terms of maintaining the balance between continued economic growth and the development of sustainable and renewable sources of energy.

There are numerous opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in the areas of pollution and emissions control; and alternative clean energy sources such as nuclear power, natural gas, thermoelectric and hydroelectric energy.

Chile has expressed an interest in South Africa’s Master Energy Plan

The Presidents agreed that a dialogue between the relevant Ministries should be created to investigate ways to enhance cooperation in this regard.

Science and Technology

South Africa and Chile are leading countries in the field of astronomy, both countries hosting technologically-advanced observatories such as SALT and Meerkat (South Africa) and the European Southern Observatory – ESO (Chile). There is significant potential for research and development co-operation between the two countries in this regard.

In fact, South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology has identified Chile as a best practice model for astronomy in light of South Africa’s hosting of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA).  In this regard, it is noted that Chile, known as the “astronomy capital of the world”, hosts close to 80% of state-of-the-art telescopes south of the equator.

Defence

In view of both countries’ experience in peacekeeping and conflict resolution operations in their respective regions, an exchange of expertise could prove to be considerably beneficial for current and future peacekeeping efforts under the umbrella of the United Nations. The Presidents acknowledge Chile’s significant role as provider of UN peacekeeping troops. Chile is the 4th largest contributor of troops in the Latin American region.

In addition, there are opportunities for cooperation between Navies, given that the two countries share similar interests in maritime affairs, both having extensive coastlines, and the attendant challenges such as piracy, drug and human trafficking. There is significant scope for cooperation in exchanges of training opportunities.

South Africa participates in the biannual FIDAE exhibition in Chile, the major aerospace, defence and security trade fair in the Latin America region.

Mining

South Africa is a major investor in the Chilean mining sector and there is huge potential for exchange of technologies to promote a safer mining environment as Chile moves from open pit to underground mining.

The Presidents called on South African and Chilean authorities to finalise the proposed bilateral agreement on cooperation in the field of Mineral Resources.

Trade and Investment

The Presidents agreed that the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of a Joint Trade and Investment Commission, which was signed between the two Governments in July 2012, should be implemented as soon as possible, preferably before the next Joint Consultative Mechanism meeting. In this regard, both presidents agreed that bilateral economic relations should be strengthened and that the Joint Commission on Trade and Investment will meet in Santiago of Chile before end 2014 in order to finalise a short, medium and long term plan of action.

The Joint Consultative Mechanism (JCM)

The Presidents agreed that the 5th meeting of the South Africa/Chile Joint Consultative Mechanism (JCM) at Deputy Ministerial level would take place in Chile by the last quarter of 2014-15, possibly in October or November 2014.

Bilateral cooperation

The Presidents noted the potential for bilateral cooperation in other sectors such as social development, poverty alleviation, environmental affairs (National Parks), education and inter-parliamentary cooperation.

PRETORIA
8 AUGUST 2014

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
Pretoria
0084




 

 

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