Nkoana-Mashabane to pay working visit to Sudan

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pretoria - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will undertake a working visit to Sudan on Tuesday to further enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.

The minister will be accompanied by Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, Collin Chabane and senior government officials during her three-day visit.

According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Nkoana-Mashabane is expected to hold discussions with her Sudanese counterpart on Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development.

"The conflict in Darfur, the 2010 election and other matters related to the implementation of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) will also be discussed," according to the department.

The visit takes place against the backdrop of the sound and solid bilateral relations between South Africa and Sudan, as symbolised by various projects at various levels of government.

These projects include the capacitating of the Government of Southern Sudan officials in the context of the Capacity and Institution Building Project for Southern Sudan.

South Africa has also deployed troops and civilian police in Darfur as part of the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur.

The Darfur conflict was the main focus of the Special Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Libya on 31 August this year.

The African Union High-level Panel on Darfur, led by former president Thabo Mbeki has been in consultation with various stakeholders from all sections of Darfurian society in an effort to find a comprehensive and lasting solution to the conflict in Darfur.

The Panel is expected to hand over its report to the AU in September this year.

South Africa and the Sudan launched a structured bilateral mechanism in May 2006 called the Joint Bilateral Commission which convenes at both ministerial and senior officials' levels.

In addition South Africa is the Chair of the AU Ministerial Commission on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development of the Sudan.

The minister is expected to return to South Africa on Thursday ahead of the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York from 21 - 25 September 2009.