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Date: 03 May 2012
Title: SA, Kazakhstan to boost relations
Pretoria - International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim arrived in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday for a working visit where he is expected to co-chair a second round of political consultations with his counterpart in Kazakhstan, Kairat Sarybay.
According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, the working visit takes place within the context of promoting bilateral and multilateral relations with the government of Kazakhstan and also encouraging close economic and investment cooperation.
The deputy ministers are expected to discuss, amongst other things, bilateral political and economic issues, multilateral cooperation in the framework of international organisations and urgent international issues of mutual interest.
Ebrahim, who is accompanied by senior officials from his department and the Department of Trade and Industry, is expected to pay a courtesy call to Kazakhstan Minister of Foreign Affairs Erzhan Kazykhanov and meet with other senior government officials and a business delegation.
Meanwhile, Ebrahim has just concluded a working visit to Saudi Arabia where he attended the fourth session of the South Africa-Saudi Arabia Joint Economic Commission (JEC).
The JEC resolved to increase total trade between the two countries to a targeted R60 billion within the next five years.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies co-chaired the commission with his counterpart Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah.
South Africa and Saudi Arabia agreed that the level of investment was far below potential and undertook to work together to explore several initiatives to address the situation.
The two countries committed themselves to strengthening relations through closer and focused cooperation in areas such as infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and energy, tourism, arts and culture, transportation, environment, standards, amongst others.
"To this end, the launch of the South African - Saudi Arabia Holdings as an investment holding company has been welcomed, as it will accelerate the development of investment opportunities in the identified sectors to the amount of R10 billion.
"This joint venture is a creative and practical mechanism by the private sector to look at large scale projects in agriculture, mining and infrastructure," Ebrahim said.
On the sidelines of the JEC, Ebrahim met with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Abdul-Aziz bin Abdullah, to discuss issues of mutual cooperation between the two regions and also to strengthen the already sound bilateral relations between the two countries.
He also paid a courtesy call on Prince Salman bin Abdulaz Al-Saud, Minister of Defence; the Governor of Riyadh, Prince Sattam; Speaker of the Shourah Council; and held a meeting with the IOC Secretary General, Professor Ekmel Elddin Oglu. - BuaNews