Press Comments by Minister Dlamini Zuma and Minister Taiana on the Conclusion of the Three Day Inaugural Session of the South Africa - Argentina Joint Binational Commission, Wednesday, 28 February 2007, Presidential Guesthouse, Pretoria

Prior to the Press briefing, the following Agreements were signed by South Africa and Argentina on Co-operation in the following fields:

Agreement on Mutual / Legal Assistance in Criminal matters signed by both Ministers (Minister Dlamini Zuma signed on behalf of the Minister of Justice)

Agreement on an Extradition Treaty

Agreement: Binational Co-operation in the Field of Sport and Recreation - signed by Minister Taiana and Minister Stofile.

Comments by Minister Dlamini Zuma

We are very pleased to welcome the delegation from Argentina led by Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana and we have spent three days working very closely together as the two delegations at this inaugural session of the SA - Argentina Joint Binational Commission. We started on Monday, opening a Seminar that was looking at Human Rights issues and the question of memory, and we went to the Exhibition because as you know we share a lot on human rights issues considering our similarities of the difficulties of the past, so we have a lot to share and Hopefully we have a lot to do together in future as well.

We then had Discussions In the various fields looking at trade, investment, tourism, science and technology both in terms of science as it relates to space activities for peaceful use and nuclear activities for peaceful use and also looking at industrial use of Science& Technology. We looked at mining, South Africa is a big mining country, but Argentina is also developing its mining sector. We also looked at agriculture, how to deal with our comparative advantages in agriculture, we also wanting to learn from some of the technologies that Argentinians are using to improve production.

We also looked at co-operation in the field of defence and of course sports, as you have seen the signing of the Agreement in sports, with 2010 in the air, that was a very important agreement. The other agreements were negotiated before, so we were signing on behalf of the Minister of Justice. So, I think, We had a whole range of discussions including looking at our parks, because Argentina is a vast country with lots of parks, but South Africa has developed quite a lot of expertise in the management of such parks and using them for tourism and for the benefit of the population as a whole.

So I think we have actually mapped out a whole lot of work that needs to be done between now and the next meeting. But, I will hand over to my counterpart to just give you a bit of detail on some of the areas that we have discussed. This was just an overview of what we have done. We also discussed political issues, multilateral, bilateral and regional issues, so we really had very intense discussions over the past three days with a bit of entertainment in between.

Thank you!

Comments by Minister Jorge Taiana

First of all I wish to thank the government and people of SA, for their warm hospitality and friendship. We really feel at home and this is very, very important. For Argentinian foreign policy and for Argentinian government this is a very important visit because, the relations between Argentina and South Africa is a priority for Argentinian Foreign Policy and is a priority in the South - South relations and Co-operation. We are neighbours, we just have massive (water) ocean between us. Just a big bond separate us, we are neighbours, we need to think about that because, We at the southern tip of our continent, we shall look to the North as our neighbours, in the continent, but we need not forget that we have neighbours, in the area just on the other side. As you know Cape Town is in the similar location as Buenos Aires, our capital.

We came here and we worked in three or four political areas. We had political consultations between the two countries in bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. We had a very open agenda as you know SA and Argentina share a lot of views in the multilateral issues both in political and economic areas and we work together in the UN, WTO. We share the same principles and values. We share multilateralism as a way to solve the problems of the international community. We share the respect for international law, respect for international human rights, the search for peace and stability in the world, the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the fight against terrorism, that is in the political arena.

In the economic arena, of course we are both developing countries, we share principles and positions that try to let our countries develop fully their possibilities. We work very closely especially in the trade and negotiations arena.

We are great supporters of the INAMA XI GROUP inside the Doha Round Negotiations. We are very, very thankful of South Africa's co-ordination of that INAM XI Group. So, this was part of our Political consultations between the two ministers went.

Secondly, the Seminaron Human Rights -There has been during the previous years a lot of a lot of contact between civil society in the area of human rights between the two countries and now what we are doing is to put together the support of the two governments.

We feel that Human Rights is part of our identity, is part of democracy and it is part of the fight against exclusion. So we have a lot to do there also in shared experiences and in working together in the international arena for the better respect of human rights.

The Third area, was the business mission in Johannesburg and held lots of meetings with counterparts from the South African the business community. We had about more than 40 entrepreneurs from Argentina, here, we still do not have the final report of their meeting, but at least they were very positive about the outcomes, of this meeting and seminar but what is clear is that in the economic trade and investment areas, there is a lot of work to do and lots of possibilities because, what is clear, what is more clear after our discussion, is that we have a special condition. In exports, in per capita expenditure.. We are countries with a lot of similarities in our levels of development. But also it is clearer that we have a lot of possibilities of complementarities in different areas, it's the more important outcome of this exercise. Before the meeting, we thought we had more complementarities, but now we are more sure and convinced about those complementarities. That's about the business seminar and there were lots of possibilities on trade and investment. There has been in the past months, lots of

Of course, we are very happy about the decision of South African Airways to restart flying the route to Buenos Aires in July. This is important because when you have more links between countries people understand better each other and are more open to -co-operate better with each other. This will help our people understand each other more better. More links between the countries help people understand each other more better.

Fourth area, was the Binational Commission It was the first meeting of its nature. I think it was a successful meeting. We came with an important group of representatives from Argentina.

We came with various agencies from Argentine, space, nuclear, tourism, defence, agriculture, sports, so there are important representatives, we have now lots of opportunities in the different areas, not just one road, there is a lot of work ahead,. I think this was a really successful visit. This visit proved the importance of South - South relations. This is not an end, but a new step an important step which will be followed up by a high level official delegation from South Africa to Argentine in a couple of moths. I hope that Minister Dlamini Zuma will honour the invitation to visit Argentina before the end of the year. I hope that she can comply with this issue.

So, Let me say thanks again, we have a great opportunity to strengthen our relations. Why? Because the two countries have stable democracies and going through processes of stable economic growth…. Thank you to the Minister, my friend, thank you to all the officials of South Africa thank you to the people of South Africa for the warm hospitality they

Questions by Journalists - Tshepo Ikaneng (South African Broadcasting Co-operation)

The conclusion of the two agreements on mutual/ legal agreement criminal matter Does this suggest that there are still challenges with crime, suspects held in either South Africa or Argentina? How much of a problem are crime syndicates for the two countries?

A: Minister. Taiana - There are no special reasons, it's just to close the gap in the co-operation, maybe you are right, the absence of this convention was part of the past, but because now we have agreed to co-operate closer, this will assist.

A. Min. Dlamini Zuma - Yes, we are not signing because we are targeting any special people certain, it is a framework of Co-operation that is necessary, should situations arise, this framework should be in place?

Q:JJ Cornish - Radio 702 : Agreements signed today - does that fill the gamut of the framework for proper relations, in terms of trade and political relations. Are there any big ones still outstanding? What should we look for in the future?

A. There are agreements in place, but there are a few gaps where we are sill negotiating agreements. So that we can at least have a complete framework. But also in particular in the areas you have mentioned There will be other agreements that will still come, be it in Science and Technology& T, Culture, so the are still agreements to be concluded…but we hope they will be concluded soon to facilitate the work, for instance SAA will be flying there - we will see whether it is possible to negotiate some Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation for SAA as they start flying there. There are few agreements like that that will complete the framework

(Addition by Minister Taiana - For example, In the case of nuclear, space or defence, there are agreements to work more on the details. There are identified areas for co-operation, some levels of detail are still needed, but they need a special agreement same as in space. In the case of defence, the timeframe has been set for July for an agreement, in the area of Science and Technology, there will be a Minister from SA visiting Buenos Aires. In trade and in the area of animal health, we still have a lot of work to do, between the agencies, there is still a lot of work to do.

To both Ministers again, On the SACU - MERCOSUR Trade Agreements - Any positive outcomes from that? Are there any obstacles still outstanding? To Minister Stofile, to kindly expand on the details of the Agreement, what are we looking forward to?

A. Minister Taiana -This is a pending negotiation, but is very close to the end. In the case of MERCOSUR - SACU Agreement, We are awaiting for the final presentation of SACU List of Products. We are trying to obtain some resolution on this, because I think it's time

B. Min. DZ - Of course when it is implemented there will be lots of benefits…still need to tie the knots, the loose ends… Well, Trade negotiations tend to be long, but I can't guarantee it.

Min. Stofile; We must not forget that Argentina is one of the top football - playing countries in the whole world. But, what many people do not realize is that it is also one of the top playing countries in rugby in the whole world. Thanks to the contribution of the SA Rugby Union We believe now the time has arrived for Argentinian to pay back in the building of their rugby and contribute to the building of our football and other sporting codes. They are strong in basketball, hockey, polo, things that we are not strong on. We believe our football can also benefit from the structural rearrangement that we should be able to learn from Argentina. -One of the Nemesis of SA football is the absence of a structured development programme of our youngsters. One of the Areas of Agreement is the development of football amongst the youth and we think we should be able to have co-operation and participation from school level, right up to the junior national team. We are not focusing so much on the national squad right now they are in the purview of the national coach .We are trying to develop future players and the catchment, so that those future players come from the catchment areas.

Min. Taiana - Strengthening the structure of youth only on one condition that SA should support the Argentinian Team in 2010, and of course the outcome of this co-operation will be that SA and Argentina play together in the final showing the strength of South - South Co-operation

Min. Stofile - We are willing to support the Argentinian Team and assist the Argentinian Team to qualify for 2010 because that is the first hurdle they must still overcome, which we have overcome

Mr Ronnie Mamoepa, the Programe Director for the Press Briefing thanked Minister Dlamini Zuma, Minister Taiana and Minister Stofile for their contributions.

For more information, contact Nomfanelo Kota on + 27 82 459 3787 or e.mail queries to

Issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag x 152

28 February 2007

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