Didier Reynders meets with South African counterpart Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
On 11 June, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders met in Brussels with Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation of the Republic of South Africa. Didier Reynders enquired about the health of President Mandela and told Minister Mashabane that he hoped he gets well soon.
They discussed the bilateral relations and were satisfied with the increased trade between both countries. The ministers were satisfied with the preparations for the economic and trade mission, which will be lead by HRH Prince Philippe in October. They expect that this mission will increase trade between the countries.
The situation in the Great Lakes was also discussed. The two ministers want to support the planned peace efforts laid down in the framework agreement signed in Addis Ababa. They emphasised that a sustainable solution must be found for the conflict in the eastern part of the DRC, a conflict that is causing disastrous amounts of human suffering. The ministers agreed that talks about this issue will continue between Belgium and South Africa, including during the framework agreement monitoring meetings.
Moreover, the ministers insisted on stabilisation in Mali, and they hope that the elections through the entire territory will take place under the best possible conditions. They discussed the situation in Zimbabwe and applauded the success of the referendum and the ratification of the new constitution. This will open up the way for the elections. The ministers were satisfied about the role that the South African Development Community, and especially South Africa, have played in this regard.
Didier Reynders and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane are concerned about the situation in Syria. They are hoping that a political solution can be found during the conference that Washington, D.C., Moscow and the United Nations are organising. Minister Reynders spoke about the Belgian initiative in Geneva, which reiterates the obligations of all parties to respect international humanitarian rights and the access to healthcare.
Finally, the two ministers discussed South Africa’s situation in the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and in IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa). These alliances confirm South Africa’s place among the up-and-coming countries.