September 23, 2010

Government and EU eye stronger ties

South Africa and the European Union are set to strengthen relations and address shared bilateral, regional and global interests at the upcoming SA-EU Summit. A top South African delegation - lead by President Jacob Zuma - will discuss relations and address issues of mutual interest with the EU when they meet on 28 September. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson, Saul Molobi, said some of the issues on the agenda include education, rural development, job creation and combating crime. Ongoing negotiations on the Southern African Development Community-EU Economic Partnership Agreements, the global financial crisis, climate change, and peace and security in Africa and rest of the world will also be discussed.

The EU Summit will be followed by an official visit to Belgium on 29 September, which Molobi said is within the context of strengthening relations with strategic formations of the North. He said the aim of the visit is to consolidate and enhance political relations, while strengthening of economic and commercial relations. During the visit, President Zuma will also engage the Belgian Prime Minister and business community to enhance economic co-operation between the two countries. Zuma will also concentrate on building trilateral co-operation to promote peace and stability on the African continent. Generally, the two countries share close bilateral relations. Belgium has remained among South Africa's top ten trading partners and the eighth fastest growing export destination. Main export products from South Africa to Belgium include rough diamonds, iron, fresh fruit, bituminous coal, and manganese dioxide. The President will be accompanied by the Ministers of International Relations and Co-operation, of Basic Education, Science and Technology, Trade and Industry, Defence, Home Affairs and Water and Environment Affairs. (Bua News)

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