Business Day, South Africa
Posted to the web on: 10 July 2007
DEPUTY Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad and Deputy Finance Minister Jabu Moleketi will hold talks in Cuba this week aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries, the SA Foreign Affairs department said today.
Pahad and the Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez will co-chair a joint consultative session today and tomorrow, said Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa in a statement.
Mamoepa said some of the issues on the agenda of the session would include the status of bilateral political and economic relations between SA and Cuba and updates on the current situation in Cuba and SA.
They would also look at regional developments in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Southern African Development Community and the rest of Africa.
Co-operation between SA and Cuba, peace and security challenges in Africa and the developments within the Non Alignment Movement, of which Cuba is the current chair, would also be discussed.
Mamoepa said the comprehensive reform of the United Nations (UN) and SA’s tenure of the non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council and progress towards the 2008 African union Diaspora Conference to be hosted by SA will also be discussed.
While in Cuba, Pahad will also brief resident Africa and Middle East ambassadors on developments in Africa and the Middle East, said Mamoepa.
Moleketi will meanhwile, hold discussions with his counterpart Alejandro Gil Fernandez, First Deputy Minister of Tourism Alexis Trujillo Morejon and First Deputy President of the National Institute of Sport, Roberto Leon Richard.
"Cuba is one of SA’s most important political partners in Latin America and the Caribbean, with whom it has the strongest bilateral exchanges in a variety of fields of socio-economic activity," Mamoepa said.
SA mainly exports calcium, footwear, platinum and synthetic fibres to Cuba; while Cuba’s main imports to SA are vaccines for human medicines, cigars, other tobacco products and rum.
Pahad and Moleketi will depart from Cuba tomorrow for Panama.