Press Conference Remarks by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, at the conclusion of Official Discussions between President Zuma and President Guebuza, Maputo, Mozambique, 13 December 2011

Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mr Oldemiro Baloi,
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers present here,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Members of the Media,

Good afternoon,

Let me start by expressing our profound gratitude to HE President Guebuza and his Government for the hospitality extended to HE President Zuma and his delegation since our arrival in this beautiful country. We are humbled by the kind generosity accorded to us. We certainly feel at home. And indeed, we are home when we are in Mozambique.

To many South Africans, Mozambique is a second home because this is where they spent many years during the days of our liberation struggle against apartheid. As a consequence, South Africa and Mozambique enjoy special strategic relations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I fully agree with the comments of my brother, Minister Baloi. Presidents Zuma and Guebuza, supported by Ministerial delegations, have just concluded fruitful and productive discussions on the state of bilateral relations between South Africa and Mozambique. The two Presidents reviewed progress in bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

The two Presidents noted with great appreciation the noticeable progress that has been achieved in strengthening bilateral political and economic cooperation between the two sister Republics. Of particular importance, the Presidents have taken note that to date, the two countries have signed over 60 bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding covering a wide range of sectors.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You will agree with us that the signing of so many agreements not only demonstrates the extent and depth of bilateral relations but also demonstrates the collective resolve and determination of the two countries to concretise their cooperation and partnership.

The Presidents also noted the increased economic cooperation between the two countries. South Africa has emerged in recent years as the main trading partner for Mozambique and its main source of foreign direct investment. We believe that the South African investments contribute significantly to the economy of Mozambique. In terms of trade cooperation, Mozambique forms part of the top five of South Africa’s trading partners on the Continent.

The two Heads of State also agreed that more still needs to be done to increase economic cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two countries. In this regard, the Presidents noted that initiatives like the Business Forum, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow, 14 December, will not only contribute towards economic cooperation but will also lead to increased trade and investment between our sister countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At this juncture, we can inform you that President Zuma, in his desire to increase economic cooperation between South Africa and Mozambique, is accompanied by over 80 businessmen and businesswomen representing various sectors of our economy.  The two Presidents will have the opportunity to address the Business Forum tomorrow morning. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

During the discussions, Presidents Zuma and Guebuza emphasised the importance of strengthening bilateral cooperation in other strategic areas, including agriculture; arts and culture; communications, energy, security, mining, tourism, science and technology just to mention a few.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Heads of State noted with appreciation the joint efforts between our two countries to deal with cross-border crime, maritime piracy, poaching as well as human trafficking. In this regard, they directed the relevant ministries to double their collective efforts to eradicate these challenges which affect our respective countries and the region.

As my colleague, Minister Baloi, has indicated, we have just witnessed the signing of the following agreements and memoranda of understanding, adding to the 60 we already signed.

  1. Agreement on the Establishment of the South Africa-Mozambique Bi-National Commission (BNC)
  2. Agreement on Regular Diplomatic Consultations
  3. Agreement on Forestry Based Industries 
  4. Programme of Co-operation in the Field of Arts & Culture for 2012 – 14
  5. Memorandum of Understanding on Communications
  6. Agreement on Co-ordination of Frequency Bands
  7. MoU between the Governments of Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania on Maritime Security Cooperation

Ladies and Gentlemen,

While appreciating and recognizing this as a great achievement, the two Heads of State have emphasized the need to expedite the implementation of all signed agreements and memoranda of understanding. The Presidents have also directed Ministers whose Departments/Ministries still have outstanding agreements to work towards finalization of such agreements before the first session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC).

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Of great importance today was the signing of the Agreement that establishes the BNC. This is a sequel to a decision which the two Heads of State took at their last Heads of State Economic Bilateral Meeting held on 29 October 2010 in Pretoria. The BNC will be presided over by the Heads of State and will be coordinated by the Ministers responsible for International Relations and Cooperation/Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. This mechanism will essentially broaden the areas of focus as opposed to the current Heads of State Economic Bilateral (HOSEB) which only focused on economic cooperation. With the signing of this Agreement, we have taken our structured bilateral cooperation to a higher level.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The two Heads of State also exchanged views on the latest political developments in the region, the continent and globally. Paying particular attention to developments in the region, the Presidents noted the recent presidential and legislative elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo whose outcome was announced on Saturday, 09 December. In this regard, the two Presidents have congratulated the declared winner of the presidential election, HE President Joseph Kabila Kabanga. At the same time, the Presidents have urged political leaders in that country to act responsibly and refrain from making statements that would lead to violence.  

President Zuma thanked President Guebuza and the Government of Mozambique for supporting South Africa's candidature for the chairpersonship of the African Union Commission. 

In furthering their commitment beyond the bilateral relations, the two Presidents committed themselves to working together in pursuit of a rules-based international system. This requires concerted efforts from all United Nations member states to work towards reforming multilateral institutions, including the United Nations Security Council and the Bretton Woods Institutions, to better represent the interests of the developing world.

 Ladies and Gentlemen,

 In conclusion, President Zuma took the opportunity to invite his friend and brother, President Guebuza, to join him on the 08th of January 2012 when South Africa will be celebrating the Centenary of the oldest liberation movement on the Continent, the African National Congress (ANC).

My dear brother, Minister Baloi, let me once more reiterate our sincere gratitude to your Government for the kind welcome and hospitality extended to us. We are very pleased with the outcomes of our discussions as they confirm our long standing relationships that continue to define our oneness. 

Muito Obrigada

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Pretoria

13 December 2011

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