PRETORIA, South Africa, 23rd October, 2018 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has chaired the 2nd session of the UAE-South Africa Joint Commission, while the South African side was chaired by Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa.
“The convening of this committee marks the centenary of the two great leaders, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and President Nelson Mandela,” Sheikh Abdullah said in his speech, expressing his pride in being part of the many meetings between the two leaders.
“We in the UAE are keen to continue to build on the solid relations between our two countries on the basis of the legacy left behind by the two leaders since the establishment of our diplomatic relations in 1994,” he added.
Speaking about the growing trade relations between the countries, Sheikh Abdullah noted that the exchange of trade witnessed a remarkable growth last year, reaching about US$3.9 billion, compared to around 3 billion dollars in 2016, a remarkable growth rate of 29%, which, he said, was “a growth in the right direction.”
“Our national carriers are operating 63 weekly direct flights and we look forward to increasing the number of flights between the two countries, which will contribute to enhancing the tourism sector of both the UAE and South Africa.”
Sheikh Abdullah highlighted the importance of enhancing relations between the two countries and exploring other areas of cooperation especially in the field of tourism, infrastructure and renewable energy.
The UAE Minister thanked the South African Minister, the Government and people of South Africa for their hospitality.
Sheikh Abdullah also thanked the working groups participating in the joint committee meeting and the efforts they made in the preparatory meeting for the success of the session.
For her part, Sisulu welcomed Sheikh Abdullah and his accompanying delegation, commending the outstanding bilateral relations between the UAE and South Africa and the continued fruitful cooperation between the two countries.
The meeting was attended by Mahash Saeed Al Hameli, the UAE Ambassador to South Africa, and Mohammed Sharaf Al Hashemi, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Economic and Commercial Affairs.