Media Statement

10 October 2021

Deputy Minister Botes to visit Serbia and Bulgaria

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Alvin Botes, is scheduled to visit Serbia and Bulgaria from 11 - 15 October 2021.

In Serbia, Deputy Minister Botes will participate in the High-level Commemorative Meeting to mark the 60th anniversary of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on 11-12 October 2021. The event will be co-hosted by the President of the Republic of Serbia, HE Mr Aleksandar Vučić, together with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, HE Mr Ilham Aliyev, in his capacity as the Chair of the NAM.

The commemorative event will provide an opportunity for NAM member states to reflect on the historical role played by the Movement in the last 60 years in support of international peace and security, to reaffirm the membership’s commitment to the fundamental principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, as well as support to a global order based on multilateralism as a foundation for identifying common responses to numerous and complex challenges affecting the Movement.

The inaugural conference of Non-Aligned Heads of State, at which 25 countries were represented, was convened at Belgrade, Serbia in September 1961. The current membership of the Non-Aligned Movement now stands at 120 member states, including 17 observer states and 10 international observer organisations. The main goals and objectives of the NAM are contained in the Ten Bandung Principles, which outlines, amongst others, the relations among member states, serves as the criteria for membership, and corresponds with the key beliefs of the Charter of the United Nations.

The Non-Aligned Movement played a significant role in the anti-apartheid struggle and for a democratic South Africa, as its core principles are rooted in the promotion of freedom, equality, and justice. South Africa joined the Non-Aligned Movement after the democratic elections of 1994. Soon after, South Africa assumed the Chair of NAM from 1998-2003.

“The NAM, based on its tried and tested principles, remains a progressive force of the South and more than ever relevant in today’s world,” said Deputy Minister Botes.

In Bulgaria, the Deputy Minister will participate in political and economic consultations aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

The purpose of the consultations is to consolidate and further enhance political, economic and people-to-people relations between South Africa and Bulgaria, deepen understanding on regional, multilateral and global issues of mutual concern, promote the African Agenda as a cornerstone of South Africa’s foreign policy, seek to build synergies between South Africa, and Africa–EU partnerships and Bulgaria’s engagement on the continent; and encourage further trade and investment in key drivers of South Africa’s economy to create jobs.

South Africa’s relations with Bulgaria are sound though commercial and official contacts remain modest, with bilateral trade relatively limited.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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