Remarks by Deputy Minister Marius Fransman on the occasion of the Joint Press Conference following the conclusion of the South Africa-Belarus Inter-Ministerial Political Consultations, Minsk, 13 May 2013

Your Excellency Deputy Minister Elena Kupchina Members of the Media Ladies and gentlemen

On behalf of my delegation, allow me to thank you, the Government and the people of Belarus for the warm reception and hospitality since our arrival here.

The relationship between South Africa and Belarus has continued to develop well since diplomatic relations were established in 1993.

Significant momentum has been added to the growing relationship between our two countries as was evidenced by the Protocol of 2000 establishing the Ministerial Political Consultations and the 2006 Agreement on Establishing the Joint Inter-Governmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ITEC).

South Africa and Belarus share a common vision of a better life for our people. We also share a commitment to the African Agenda, the development agenda of the South and the establishment of a democratic and equitable global governance system.

We believe that the presence of Belarus in South Africa will continue to contribute to our vision of prosperity.

Our discussions and decisions here today, have certainly facilitated the elaboration of a clear bilateral agenda that will move us towards these noble objectives.

Members of the Media,

We have had constructive discussions today on a number of issues. We have reviewed the status of our bilateral relations and have agreed that the strengthening of bilateral relations between our countries is critical in advancing our national development priorities and common multilateral interests. In this regard, we have agreed to pay particular attention to the implementation of priority agreements and the conclusion of outstanding agreements.

We have also agreed that regular engagements between relevant South African and Belarus government stakeholders (including Senior Officials and Ministers), business, science councils, academic institutions, professional organisations, and other relevant non-state actors are critical in facilitating sustainable partnerships on mutually agreed priority areas. These are, amongst others: trade and industry; science and technology; education and skills development (especially vocational and technical training); agriculture; and infrastructure development.

Our meeting today has reinforced our joint commitment to strengthen cooperation and an exchange of views on regional and global peace, security and global governance issues. As members of Non-aligned Movement (NAM), we will continue to work together to champion the development agenda of the South, Africa’s peace and development agenda and the reform of United Nations and other International Financial Institutions.

Allow me a final word of thanks for the wonderful atmosphere in which our discussions have taken place. It has been a great pleasure, dear colleague, to have a fruitful dialogue with you today.

Thank you


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