Media Statement

24 July 2022

Deputy Minister Botes concludes Working Visit to Cuba

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Alvin Botes, has concluded his Working Visit to Havana, Cuba, where he co-chaired the 16th Meeting of the Joint Consultative Mechanism (JCM) with the Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr Gerardo Peñalver.

The two leaders exchanged views on matters of bilateral relations and on regional, multilateral and international issues of common interest. The meeting also reaffirmed the sound and excellent bilateral relations between South Africa and Cuba.

During the fraternal and friendly meeting, the South African side reiterated the support of its country to the Cuban resolution on the necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba that is submitted every year at the United Nations General Assembly. South Africa reaffirmed its rejection of this policy that is contrary to the UN Charter and International Law, and which causes huge economic and material losses to the people of Cuba.

The two countries acknowledged the need to expand their mutually beneficial economic and commercial relations to match the level of the existing political and diplomatic relations. In this regard, the contribution of economic and cooperation agreements and joint mechanisms were highlighted. Both countries also agreed to exchange information on trade and investment opportunities within their respective jurisdictions. South Africa and Cuba also agreed to exchange business delegations and to facilitate the participation of the delegations in major trade fairs and exhibitions being held in both countries.

The Deputy Ministers noted with satisfaction the progress made since the 15th Meeting of the JCM held in September 2019 in Pretoria on issues related to the implementation of bilateral cooperation agreements in the fields of Health, Human Settlements, Infrastructure, Water Management, Sanitation and Basic Education. They also agreed to promote collaboration through new agreements in the fields of Agriculture, Sports, Culture, Higher Education, Information and Communication Technologies and Transport.

The achievements of the South Africa-Cuba Agreement on Cooperation in the Fields of Public Health and Medical Sciences were highlighted, including the graduation of hundreds of South African students as medical doctors in Cuba since the inception of the Nelson Mandela-Fidel Castro training program in 1997. The Deputy Ministers welcomed the ongoing medical training of many other South African students in Cuba and the program for the deployment of Cuban health collaborators in South Africa.

The two delegations exchanged views on major developments in their respective regions and discussed multilateral issues of mutual interest. They agreed on the importance of deepening cooperation on regional and multilateral issues through South-South partnerships such as the UN system, NAM and G77 + China in order to promote international peace and security, sustainable development priorities and move towards a peaceful, just and equitable global governance system.

The delegations agreed to continue working to promote, preserve and strengthen multilateralism by adhering to the Charter of the UN and International Law. They had previously deliberated on the great challenges in the global scenario because of a growing resort to unilateral coercive measures that undermine the UN Charter and International Law.

The 16th Meeting of the JCM contributed to further strengthening the historical ties of friendship, solidarity and cooperation between Cuba and South Africa.

It was agreed that the 17th Meeting of the JCM will be held in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa, in 2023.

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

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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