Minister to participate in commonwealth conference

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pretoria - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane will today depart for Trinidad and Tobago where she will participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM).

While the CHOGM will take place this weekend, a Commonwealth Foreign Minister Pre-CHOGM Meeting will take place during the week to discuss and make recommendations to Heads of State regarding various political issues, the global economic situation, climate change and the youth.

The foreign ministers committee is also expected to recommend to the Heads of Government that there should be stand-alone statements on the Principles and Value's of the Commonwealth and the way forward for the organisation.

This year is the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth and a good opportunity to take stock, according to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Nkoana Mashabane will be accompanied by a senior delegation led by Ambassador George Nene, Deputy Director General: Multilateral Affairs.

South Africa will participate in the CHOGM within the context of North-South Cooperation as government seeks to exchange views on a range of challenges facing the world today such as climate change, sustaining biodiversity and conserving water resources.

The theme for the 2009 CHOGM is "Partnering for a more Equitable and Foreign Sustainable Future".

South Africa rejoined the Commonwealth in 1994, shortly after the first democratic elections, and in November 1999 South Africa hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Durban.

It assumed the chairmanship for two years before handing over to Australia in March 2002.

The minister will depart for Cuba following the CHOGM, where she is expected to co-chair the Sixth South Africa-Cuba Joint Bilateral Commission (JBC).