PRESS COMMUNIQUE ON PRES MBEKI'S VISIT TO ALGERIA, 26 September 2000
At the invitation of His Excellency, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, His Excellency, Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa, accompanied by an important delegation of several members of his Government, senior officials, experts and businessmen paid a working and friendship visit to Algeria from 22-24 September 2000.
The visit which coincided with the holding of the first Session of the Binational Commission for Co-operation is part of the tradition of permanent consultation and dialogue between leaders of the two countries and must be considered as an additional opportunity for the reinforcement of relations of brotherhood, friendship, and co-operation between Algeria and South Africa.
His Excellency, Abdelaziz Bouteflika and His Excellency, Thabo Mbeki, presided over the proceedings of the first Session of the Binational Commission for Co-operation. In their opening address, the two Heads of State expressed their satisfaction about this significant achievement which reflects the political will of the leaders of the two countries to enhance and promote dialogue and consultation and broaden bilateral co-operation in order to create conditions for a large and fruitful partnership based on complimentaries and the potential of the two countries.
The two Heads of State held talks on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of common interest.
The proceedings of the First Session of the Binational Commission for Co-operation focused on the reinforcement of the legal framework of co-operation and the enhancement of relations of exchange, co-operation and partnership. In this context, the two Heads of State discussed approaches likely to consolidate the ties between the two countries, through the promotion of commercial exchange and the flow of investments, which do not reflect at present the considerable potential of the two countries. In this respect, they reaffirmed the determination of the respective Governments to encourage their business communities to take advantage of all existing opportunities.
To this end, they signed an agreement on the creation of the Binational Commission for Co-operation, which is considered as an important mechanism for the organisation of bilateral relations.
They have also co-chaired the signing ceremony of six co-operation agreements in the fields of:
o Reciprocal promotion and protection of investments;
o Mines and Energy;
o Economic co-operation and partnership;
o Memorandum of Understanding on information technologies;
o communications and telecommunications.
In parallel to the proceedings of the Binational Commission, a meeting of Algerian and South African businessmen was held on 23 and 24 September 2000. This meeting enabled the two groups to discuss and identify projects of economic co-operation and partnership in various economic sectors.
In the minutes of proceedings of this First Session of the Binational Commission, the two parties agreed on a number of economic actions, industrial and commercial co-operation and partnership in the following areas:
Science, technology, health, culture, art and education;
Transport, tourism and public works;
Commerce, finance, customs, chambers of commerce and industry;
Energy, hydrocarbons and mines;
Agriculture, fishing, water, forestry and environment;*
Justice and home affairs;
Information technologies, communications and Telecommunications;
Youth, sports, women's employment and handicraft;
Industry, housing, Small and Medium size Enterprises and industries, privatisation and pharmaceutical industries.
The two Heads of State informed each other about developments in their respective countries. President Thabo Mbeki, congratulated his brother, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, on the important and courageous initiative of civil concord, which he initiated in favour of peace, consolidation of democracy, economic and social development.
With reference to regional and international issues, the two Heads of State have reaffirmed the commitment of their respective countries to the objectives and ideals of the United Nations and the OAU, their suitable frameworks for the promotion and consolidation of peace, solidarity and co-operation among States.
They expressed their wish to set up a permanent dialogue for the promotion of peace, security, stability, and development in the whole continent. To that end, they agreed to join their efforts to put an end to the conflicts and reduce tensions in the African continent. In this context, they reaffirmed the support of the two countries to the OAU mechanism on the prevention, management and settlement of conflicts.
The two Heads of State have later on proceeded to the assessment of the results of the last OAU Summit held in Lome, in July 2000. They expressed their satisfaction about the signing of the constitutive Act of the African Union. However, they have expressed their concern about the persistence of conflicts and tension in Africa. They called upon the parties to the conflicts to desist and favour dialogue to promote a peaceful settlement based on the respect of the principles of the OAU Charter.
Issued by: Department of Foreign Affairs (Algiers), 26 September 2000