Remarks by Deputy Minister Marius Fransman following the 9th South Africa-Spain Annual Consultations, Pretoria, 11 July 2013
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have just had the successful Annual Bilateral Consultations with my counterpart from Spain, State Secretary Mr Gonzalo De Benito.
We have reviewed the state of bilateral relations between our two countries. We have affirmed our strategic partnership and have agreed to continue to work together in strengthening our cooperation.
Our economic relations are growing. Many Spanish companies have invested in our country creating jobs. Recently companies in Spain have acquired interests in our renewable energy sector. We are looking forward to our cooperation in energy resulting in the transfer of skills and technology. We appreciate Spain’s commitment to working with South Africa in expanding our manufacturing base.
We have also discussed developments in our Continent. I have briefed my counterpart on the ongoing efforts by the African Union to facilitate the resolution of conflicts in the continent. We both welcomed the African Union’s determination and concrete actions to develop Africa’s capacity to respond to conflict situations. In this regard we are looking forward to collaborating with our partners outside the continent as we revitalise Africa’s Peace and Security Architecture. I indicated that in line with the AU’s decision the establishment of the African Standby Force remains our priority. However, in the interim, we have also instituted measures like the Intervention Brigade for the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
We have reflected on developments in Western Sahara, Mali, Guinea Bissau, Zimbabwe, Sudan and South Sudan, Somalia, Madagascar and Central African Republic amongst others.
Similarly we exchanged views on matters of global concern. We have underscored the need to reform the United Nations Security Council in order to enable it to better respond to current challenges. We have compared notes of the post 2015 Development Agenda.
We have also shared perspectives on the Middle East Peace Process as well as the situation in Syria and Iran.
In order to continuously engage on human rights issues we have established a Sub Working Group on human Rights. In this context we have discussed the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in the context of following up on the Durban Declaration and Progamme of Action. We have also discussed Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity as well as efforts towards the universal abolition of the death penalty.
We have indeed had a fruitful engagement and we are looking forward to our next meeting in Spain next year.
May I invite State Secretary De Benito to address.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION