Opening Remarks by Deputy Minister Marius Fransman during the South Africa – Ukraine Bilateral Consultations Tuesday, 9 October 2012, Cape Town
Your Excellency, Ambassador Mayko, On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of South Africa, it is my sincere pleasure and great honour to welcome you and your delegation to South Africa on the occasion of the Second Ministerial Political Consultations (MPC). The successful Senior Officials’ Political Consultations which were held on 16 May 2012 in Kyiv presented a good opportunity to review the status of bilateral relations and set the agenda for improvement of bilateral relations for the benefit of both countries.
These Consultations create an opportunity for both sides to examine the scope of our relations over a wide range of issues. The political, economic, social and development cooperation issues are reviewed holistically, so that our relations can develop to the mutual benefit of both Peoples.
Ukraine is viewed as a true friend of South Africa and we share some common values of democracy, respect for human rights and social justice. We also continue to build our good relationship on these principles. We are aware of the good historical relations of solidarity between South Africa and Ukraine.
Your Excellency, The issue of education and job creation, especially amongst South African youth is a growing concern for the South African Government and I would like to see the conclusion of the Outstanding Agreements and skills transfer for the tangible benefits deriving from our bilateral cooperation and its positive impact on South Africa’s key national priorities, especially in the field of education, the creation of employment, skills development and vocational training.
South Africa has also taken note of progress in two Draft Bilateral Agreements which are at an advanced stage of finalisation. These are:
- Draft Agreement on Abolishment of Visa Requirements for Holders of Diplomatic and Official Passports; and
- Draft Merchant Shipping Agreement and Other Related Matters
In this regard, it is important to note that the conclusion of these Agreements will further enhance bilateral relations between our countries.
The latest trade statistics between SA and Ukraine do not reflect the potential of both countries. With both our economies showing economic resilience and good growth prospects, the potential for increased bilateral trade remains strong. We have also noted the developing cooperation between Pamodzi Aviation of South African and Antonov from Ukraine and we are looking forward to positive outcomes flowing from this relationship.
Excellency, as you are aware, the African continent is central to South Africa’s foreign policy directives. In this regard South Africa has sought to play a partner role in addressing the challenges confronting our continent and we are therefore encouraged by the positive developments on the continent. South Africa remains seized with the political impasse in Madagascar and through our work in the African Union we remain dedicated to assisting the Peoples of both North and South Sudan in realising lasting peace.
South Africa is committed to multilateralism and the need for countries to work together to find solutions to pressing international issues. South Africa thus calls on Ukraine for continued engagements on issues of multilateral concern, especially pertaining to the reform of the United Nations and in particular the United Nations Security Council, reform of the Bretton Woods institutions, climate change, proliferation and the advancement of an inclusive international human rights culture. SA attaches importance to the strengthening of mutually beneficial relations between our countries and peoples in order to strengthen our democracies enhance the development and competitiveness of economies and eradicate the scourge of poverty. I am confident that our discussions and decisions here today, will facilitate the elaboration of a clear bilateral agenda that will move us towards these noble objectives.
I thank you.
Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
460 Soutpansberg Road