German Foreign Minister attends 8th Binational Commission meetings in Pretoria
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane with German Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the 8th session of the South Africa-Germany Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria. Photo: Jacoline Schoonees
Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was in South Africa for the 2014 Binational Commission meetings on November 20-21. The commission was jointly chaired by the South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Minister Steinmeier.
The trip also allowed Minister Steinmeier important face-to-face meetings with the political leadership in South Africa, including President Jacob Zuma and Parliamentary Opposition leader Mmusi Maimane.
Travelling with the Minister were four members of the German parliament, representatives of a number of German Ministries as well as leaders from the private sector, development cooperation and civil society partner organisations, academia and artists.
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane with German Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier viewing a beaded Mercedes Benz model ahead of the 8th session of the South Africa-Germany Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria. Photo: Jacoline Schoonees
Minister Steinmeier attended the opening of the South African-German Business Conference, visited the vocational training program at the Commercial Advancement Training Scheme, as well as tour the Rise and Fall of Apartheid exhibit at the Museum Africa.
In the evening, the delegation was treated to a sampling of South African Science Slammers and the musical talents of Simphiwe Dana, who introduced the project ‘Music in Africa’.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier held a speech at the South African Institute of International Affairs at Wits University entitled “Participation, Rules and Responsibility – Three Pillars for International Cooperation to Strengthen Peace, Security and Welfare in Africa and the World.”
Before an audience of over 150 distinguished academicians, foreign policy experts, diplomats, media representatives and students, he reiterated the need for Germany and South Africa to act to protect international order:
“Germany, just like South Africa, will take on her share of responsibility and get involved to protect and promote the vision we share: a world run by rules and not by violence. Our support for the United Nations is well-known ...but we are equally proud of our support for the African Union, including the African Peace and Security architecture, as our second largest partner after the EU.”
Also in the speech, Minister Steinmeier emphasized the concept of participation to remedy violence and strengthen peace:
“By participation, I mean more than political participation. I mean economic and social participation – I mean every man and woman’s right to improve their own lives. Democracy without prosperity will run into trouble.”
On November 21, Minister Steinmeier met with South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and the various committees of the Binational Commission for formal talks and the ratification of a Joint Declaration. This document sets the direction for bilateral relations for the coming two years, as well as guiding the development of specific projects and programmes.
The Binational Commission is centred on eight themes that cover a broad spectrum of bilateral cooperation issues: foreign policy, security and defence; economics; development cooperation; environment and energy; science and technology; culture; labour and social affairs; and vocational education and training.
German Embassy Pretoria