SA, Australia boost relations

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pretoria - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane is to host Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith later this week.

Nkoana-Mashabane will meet with Smith and his delegation on Tuesday.

Smith's working visit will represent a step in the ongoing efforts to enhance and deepen relations between the two nations.

He is also due to meet other members of cabinet.

The ministry said discussions between the leaders will also include co-operation in education, climate change, political developments in Southern Africa as well as the promotion of trade and investment.

Australia and South Africa's diplomatic relations began in 1947 while a South Africa - Australian Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) officially came into being in 1997.

The JMC was established in order to provide a framework through which to strengthen bilateral and commercial relationship between the two countries.

The two countries have co-operated on matters that include fisheries protections, law enforcement defence relations and customs cooperation.

The total bilateral trade between the two amounted to R26 billion in 2008, with the balance slightly in favour of Australia.

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