Notes following a Press Briefing by Minsiter Dlamnni Zuma and her Mexican Counterpart, Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa, 19 February 2009, Cape Town.

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the media.

We are very happy to have welcomed our Colleague, the Foreign Secretary of Mexico and the Deputy Foreign Secretary especially because it is the first time that we have the Foreign Minister of Mexico here in South Africa and particularly here in Cape Town although the weather is disappointing us a bit.

We had really good discussions! First of all we were very happy to hear from our Colleagues that Mexico has taken a very conscious decision to cooperate and to work very closely with African countries and South Africa committed itself to working with Mexico and assisting wherever it can in terms of Mexico achieving that objective of working very closely with African countries.

We also had discussions about financial crisis and the consequences thereof and what our various countries are doing and what we are anticipating. We also, of course, had very extensive discussions on climate change and environment and in particular around the conference that is coming towards the end of the year, the Copenhagen  Conference. And we are also thinking very much alike in many areas and we also had some discussions around our cooperation as the G5 countries that tend to be invited for the outreach by the G8 but also that, as we have taken the decision earlier, we should cooperate anyway not that when we are faced with the meeting with the G8. So we have been discussing that even our cooperation in the context of the G20.

So we have had a good discussion and we are going to continue off course our discussion over lunch and we also talked about the domestic situation here. I have had to brief Madam Secretary about our own domestic situation politically and otherwise.  So we had very good discussions but I will allow Minister to give more meat to the discussions.

Secretary Patricia Espinosa

Thanks very Much Minister Dlamini Zuma.  Thanks so much for your kind much and again thank you for your very warm hospitality.

This is my first official visit to South Africa and it is also the first visit I make as Mexico’s Foreign Secretary to a country in the African Continent. I view this as a privilege.

My presence here is the result of the commitment of President Felipe Calderon of establishing a long-term, comprehensive relation between our countries.

This has been a splendid opportunity to highlight the ties of friendship that join my country with the people of South Africa.

This very month Mexico and South Africa celebrate fifteen years since the establishment of their diplomatic relations. Fifteen years in which we have strengthened our relations. Fifteen years of friendship and shared efforts. For us this great country is and will remain an example of strength and vitality and we are very proud of our growing relations.

This morning we had a very productive working meeting with Minister Dlamini-Zuma and her delegation. We reviewed all relevant issues that concern our countries at the bilateral, multilateral and regional levels.

We are building on the strong basis that we have developed over the past 15 years. Let me recall the presidential talks held by our Heads of State in the framework of multilateral fora, such the one held by President Calderon and President Motlanthe in the Economic Forum of Davos, last January.

In 2008 Mexico was honored to receive visits from distinguised South African officials, including the Deputy President of South Africa; the President of the National Assembly; the Minister of Home Affairs; and the Deputy Foreign Minister.

We wish to continue developing stronger ties between our two countries. Mexico and South Africa share a wide agenda that we have agreed to push forward through the Mechanism of Consultations on Issues of Mutual Interest, in which both Ministries introduce and examine relevant international issues as well as actions to develop the economic, trade and cooperation links. The first meeting of this Mechanism was held in Mexico in 2007 and to further deepen our relations, we decided to establish a Bi-National Commission with the signing today of a Memorandum of Understanding.

On the economic front, we agreed to seek a better balance in our bilateral trade. South Africa is the most important trade partner of Mexico in Africa, but there is clearly a great potential to enhance our exchanges. In this regard, both our governments will encourage reciprocal missions of business delegations.

We also examined several prominent issues in the international agenda, such as climate change. President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón, has assumed a leading role in this area by promoting an initiative to establish a World Fund on Climate Change that we call the Green Fund. This aims to increase the available resources for activities devoted to combat climate change so as to create incentives for those countries willing to commit themselves further with this cause.

We spoke about the expectations of the next G-20 Summit, to be held in London next April. In this regard, we agreed to foster communication between our delegations. Dr. Dlamini-Zuma and I agreed on the importance of deepening the participation of developing countries in those fora currently discussing and making decisions on international financial governance. We recalled the need for international financial institutions to have sufficient funds to support global financial stability and mitigate the social effects of the crisis, especially to support anti-cyclic programs in developing countries.

As you know, Mexico and South Africa maintain an ongoing dialogue in the framework of the G-8/G-5 Outreach Dialogue. This morning we agreed to continue our joint efforts to further strengthen this forum. In this regard, let me say that in September 2008, the G-5 members confirmed to mandate Mexico as coordinator of the Group and as speaker before the current G8 Presidency.

I stressed to the South African delegation that Mexico’s foreign policy strategy towards Africa seeks to build a new and much closer relation with this region. Through a wider and more efficient diplomatic presence, the promotion of mutual understanding, the enhancement of cooperation, trade and investments, Mexico wishes to strengthen its links with the African nations.

Since 2005 Mexico has been an Observer in the African Union. In 2007 we opened an Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Last year we established Embassies in Nigeria and in Angola. This year two new Honorary Consuls have been appointed, one in Cape Town and the other in Mauritius.

For three years in a row the Mexican Foreign Ministry has organized a “Week of Africa” in Mexico, in the context of “Africa Day” in May. During the Third Week of Africa held in Mexico City in 2008, the South African under 15 team Orlando Pirates held friendly matches with Mexican teams, leaving many fans among the young Mexicans who had the opportunity to see them play. Considering the excellent support of South Africa to this event, I seized the occasion to renew the invitation to have a substantial South African participation again this coming May.

Our meeting closed, as you know, with the subscription of:

  • The Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Bi-National Commission which I already mentioned, and
  • The Agreement to Avoid Double Taxation and to Prevent Fiscal Evasion.

I am certain that these agreements will enhance the links between Mexico and South Africa and will help us broaden our relations of friendship and cooperation with the African continent as a whole.

Thank you very much.

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