Statement by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to the media on the Eleventh Session of the South Africa - Iran Joint Commission, Pretoria, South Africa, 31 October 2013

Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media,

I am pleased to welcome Dr Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, to South Africa for the eleventh session of the Joint Commission between our two countries.

The Joint Commission remains one of South Africa’s longest-serving and most successful structured bilateral mechanisms. We had fruitful discussions this morning on various issues of bilateral and multilateral concern, including on peace and security issues, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.

Iran occupies a special place in our hearts for the role it played in our liberation struggle. Iran as a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement and current Chairman of this august organisation continues to champion the cause of developing countries.  

The Islamic Republic is a critical country in the Middle East Region whose influence needs to be recognised as being essential to the resolutions of the challenges in the region.

South Africa and Iran have common similarities that go beyond the fact that both peoples for a struggle for national liberation. Our two countries share compatible economies that can benefit from greater trade, skills transfer, technology research and development. 

The Joint Commission afforded us an opportunity to give practical expression to these areas of cooperation. In the past two days sub-committees have looked specific areas of cooperation, the outcomes of which can only benefit both economies. At the private sector level, the future indicates greater exchanges on both goods and services of the two countries. 

South Africa welcomes the ongoing negotiations between Islamic Republic and the P5+1. We are hopeful of positive outcomes of these talks, since it will open avenues for the people of Iran to exercise their political, economic and social ingenuity, thus making the world more peaceful and prosperous.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Iran for the support of our candidature to the Human Rights Council. South Africa shall continue to uphold and champion human rights as enshrined in our constitution.

We have today signed a Joint Communiqué which elaborates on the issues discussed and the areas identified for cooperation. I also look forward to our further engagement and the convening of the twelfth session of the Joint Commission for the consolidation of our bilateral relations.

I thank you.

For further information, please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, on 082 884 5974.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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