Joint Communiqué on the occasion of the Second Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) between South Africa and Zimbabwe in Pretoria
1. At the invitation of His Excellency, Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency, Mr Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe visited the Republic of South Africa on the 3rd of October 2017 on the occasion of the Second Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Zimbabwe.
2. The meeting of the two Heads of State was preceded by a Ministerial Meeting which took place on the 2nd of October 2017 and a Senior Officials’ Meeting held from the 28th to the 29th of September 2017.
3. During the official talks, the two Heads of State exchanged views on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.
4. The two Presidents reviewed bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction with the state of those relations. They agreed that the implementation of the Agreement on the Bi-National Commission signed by both countries on the 8th of April 2015 was the most effective way of enhancing cooperation between the two countries. They also reaffirmed the strategic importance of the BNC mechanism in promoting political, economic, social, security, cultural, scientific and technical cooperation.
5. The two Heads of State received a progress report from the Ministers on the implementation of agreements signed and commitments made as well as decisions adopted at the 1st Session of the Bi-National Commission. The two Heads of State expressed their satisfaction with progress so far achieved.
6. Having noted the developments on the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) at Beitbridge, they welcomed the establishment of a Joint Technical Committee whose mandate, among other things, will be to develop the necessary legal framework for the Project. The two Heads of State reaffirmed the strategic importance of the OSBP and directed the relevant Ministers to fast-track its operationalisation.
7. The two Heads of State noted the existence of more than forty (40) bilateral Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between the two countries and directed that these Agreements be fully implemented. They further emphasised the need to finalise all outstanding Agreements and MoUs.
8. The two Heads of State welcomed the signing of five (5) Agreements in the areas of Energy, Environment, Information Communications Technologies and Sports and Recreation during the Bi-National Commission.
9. The two Heads of State reiterated their commitment to improving and strengthening the economic relations between the two countries by facilitating trade and removing impediments constraining bilateral trade and investments.
10. The two Heads of State exchanged views on the political and security situation in the region. They further reaffirmed their commitment to working together in pursuit of sustainable peace, stability and economic development of the region.
11. His Excellency, President Mugabe further congratulated His Excellency President Zuma for his election as the Chair of Southern African Development Community (SADC) and reassured him of Zimbabwe’s support during South Africa’s tenure as Chair of the regional organisation.
12. The two Presidents reaffirmed their commitment to SADC and underscored the importance of having member states participate at the appropriate level during SADC Summits.
13. The two Presidents welcomed the admission of Comoros into the SADC family.
14. The two Presidents congratulated the people of the Republic of Angola for conducting peaceful, fair and credible elections. They further congratulated His Excellency President João Lourenço on his election as President of Angola and committed themselves to working with him in pursuit of peace, stability and economic integration of the region.
15. The two Presidents reviewed developments in the region, in particular the situation in Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They further urged the two countries to implement the relevant SADC decisions and recommendations.
16. The two Presidents reaffirmed their commitment to the continental integration processes and called for the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and its Action Plan.
17. The two Heads of State reviewed the political developments on the continent and expressed their concern on the ongoing instability in some parts of the continent. In this regard, they reaffirmed their commitment to work together in pursuit of sustainable peace and stability.
18. The two Presidents reaffirmed the two countries’ long standing solidarity with the peoples of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and Palestine. With regards to the SADR, the two Heads of State reaffirmed the need for SADC to convene a solidarity conference with the people of Western Sahara.
19. The two Presidents reaffirmed their support and commitment to Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations in 2015. They reiterated the call for the reform of the multilateral system and in particular the UN Security Council.
20. His Excellency, President Mugabe expressed his gratitude for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to him and his delegation. He extended an invitation to His Excellency President Zuma to a working visit in Zimbabwe in 2018 for the 3rd session of the BNC, on a date to be mutually agreed upon through diplomatic channels.
Done at Pretoria, Republic of South Africa, 3 October 2017.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road