The voice of Cape of Good Hope
Maite Nkoana Mashabane, RSA Deputy Minister for International Relations and Co-operation, makes official visit to Minsk
By Dmitry Sokolov
Belarus and the Republic of South Africa have enjoyed twenty years of diplomatic relations; political dialogue between Minsk and Pretoria is quite advanced and continues to go from strength to strength. Of course, our mutual turnover in goods of just over $30 million can be improved upon, failing to reflect our full potential. We have a great deal to offer each other and interest in closer co-operation is evident at every level.
Recently, the RSA Deputy Minister for International Relations and Co-operation, Maite Nkoana Mashabane, paid an official visit to Minsk, in preparation for a meeting between our heads of state. Some time ago, Belarus sent an invitation to the President of the RSA to visit our country. As Ms. Nkoana Mashabane noted on meeting Mr. Lukashenko, after the next elections in the Republic of South Africa, the RSA President will make their official visit.
Welcoming the South African Minister, the President noted the success of contacts between Minsk and Pretoria in the field of politics and diplomacy, saying, “Our senior ministers regularly visit the RSA and our businessmen are developing successful contacts, in terms of negotiating. We’ve studied your country closely, and are now familiar with the economy of the Republic of South Africa. Hence our interest in co-operation.”
Our states’ economies are not in direct competition; rather, they complement each other, to mutual benefit. Mr. Lukashenko noted that Belarus can help the RSA in mining its rich mineral deposits and in developing its agricultural sector, having great experience. Ms. Nkoana Mashabane agreed, saying that Belarus has the ‘necessary experience and possesses the equipment needed’. She emphasised, “The agricultural sector has wide horizons for co-operation. Belarus can enjoy entry to the South African market, as well as access to the markets of other countries of the region. We are here to lay the foundations of co-operation and subsequently fulfil our true potential.”
President Lukashenko has promised to create all necessary conditions for the South African delegation’s work, noting, “We are very much counting on you becoming acquainted with our country more closely. We are interested in this because key people play an important role in our future co-operation.”
Proposals on expansion of business interaction between our two countries are to be prepared in time for the planned visit by the President of the Republic of South Africa, to Belarus. According to Mr. Lukashenko, Belarus highly values this visit, as it will bring additional stimulus to the development of our relations.