Media statement by President Jacob Zuma at the conclusion of official talks with President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, Union Buildings, Pretoria, 08 August 2014
Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
We have just concluded successful official talks with Her Excellency President Michelle Bachelet of Chile.
We are very happy to host President Bachelet for this important state visit, which will surely further enhance relations between our two countries.
Our discussions have reaffirmed the existing areas of cooperation, while also exploring further areas with great potential.
We want to explore cooperation in many areas, particularly energy, defence, science and technology, trade and investment, mineral resources, social development, agriculture and environmental issues.
Chile has expressed an interest in South Africa’s Master Energy Plan and we have agreed that dialogue between the relevant Ministries should take place to discuss cooperation.
South Africa and Chile are leading countries in the field of astronomy. The two countries host technologically-advanced observatories such as Meerkat in the case of South Africa and the European Southern Observatory, in the case of Chile.
There is significant potential for research and development co-operation between the two countries in this regard.
Chile plays a significant role as provider of UN peacekeeping troops, being the 4th largest contributor of troops in the Latin American region. We would also like to cooperate with Chile on Defence matters, utilizing their experience in this regard.
We also envisage cooperation amongst the Navies of the two countries, given the extensive coastlines and challenges such as piracy, drug and human trafficking.
South Africa is a major investor in the Chilean mining sector and there is huge potential for exchange of technologies to promote a safer mining environment as Chile moves from open pit to underground mining.
We have directed the relevant departments to finalise the proposed bilateral agreement on cooperation in the field of Mineral Resources.
To further expand trade and investment, we have agreed that the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of a Joint Trade and Investment Commission, which was signed between the two Governments in July 2012, should be implemented without delay.
We agreed that the Joint Commission on Trade and Investment will meet in Chile before the end of 2014 in order to finalise a short, medium and long term plan of action.
There is also a significant scope for cooperation in exchanges of training opportunities.
Internationally, South Africa and Chile are like-minded countries and we share common positions on various issues including the reform of the United Nations and other multilateral institutions.
We share the same views on climate change, human rights, and the challenges of sustainable economic and social development in the midst of global recession.
We also share concern about developments in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. As South Africa we reiterate our call on all parties to commit to an immediate ceasefire and to work towards a peaceful settlement, leading to the internationally recognized two state solution.
Tomorrow President Bachelet will deliver the 12th Nelson Mandela lecture.
This is significant given the President’s strong track record in human rights and justice.
This State Visit takes place during a significant period in our country in which we recognize and celebrate the contribution of women to the struggle for liberation.
The President was the founding Executive Director of UN Women, and her track record in promoting a better world for women is inspirational. Therefore, the visit of President Bachelet is most timely.
We are very happy about this visit and look forward to further deepening cooperation between the two countries.
I thank you.
Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974
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