SA, Timor-Leste commit to strengthening relations

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pretoria - South Africa's International Relations Minister Maite Nkoane-Mashabane and her Timor-Leste counterpart Dr Zacarias da Costa have committed to redoubling efforts to strengthen relations between the two countries.

Minister Nkoane-Mashabane welcomed Minister da Costa at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria, a short while ago.

In a short media briefing, the two ministers said they had identified infrastructure development, education and skills as primary areas of focus.

"In these difficult times of a global financial crisis, we need to turn to each other in order to survive the storm. I trust Your Excellency, that we will be able to share with you some of our past experiences," said the minister.

Timor-Leste shares a similar history to South Africa and only gained independence seven years ago.

Minister da Costa said it was an honour and a privilege to be in the country. He said his government would do its best to foster relations between his country and South Africa.

"It's really an honour for me to be here again. I am seeing you for the third time now since you took office and I trust that we will be able to work well together," he said.

Dr Da Costa's visit takes place within the context of South-South cooperation with relations between the two countries dating back over decades.

After the briefing, the two ministers embarked on a closed-door bilateral meeting.