3 February 2011
South Africa and Spain are committed to facing mutual challenges together, International Relations Deputy Minister Marius Fransman said following talks with visiting Spanish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Juan Antonio Yanez-Barnuevo, in Pretoria on Wednesday.
Yanez-Barnuevo was in the country for the two-day South Africa-Spain Annual Consultations, which serve as the main forum for coordinating relations between the two countries.
Fransman and Yanez-Barnuevo discussed political cooperation, development and the strengthening of trade and investment. The promotion of the African agenda and reform of international institutions also featured on their agenda.
“Spain stands ready to cooperate,” Fransman told journalists afterwards, adding that the challenges faced by the two countries as a result of the global economic meltdown should not be insurmountable.
The deputy minister also noted Spain’s support in capacity building, particularly in education and skills development. He said this would help to strengthen institutions within South Africa.
Yanez-Barnuevo said the exchange between the two governments showed that South Africa and Spain had many things in common. “We are trying to build bridges between the two continents.”
He added that the Spanish government had noted the role played by South Africa on the continent and in the world. “We also want to work together on [issues] of peace and security and development in Africa and the world,” he said.
Spain also wanted to work with South Africa in the fight against climate change. South Africa will host the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban later this year.