South Africa- Australia undertakes the Senior Officials Meeting
On 07 May 2013 the Deputy Director-General for Asia and Middle East, Ambassador Anil Sooklal led a delegation of senior officials comprising various departments to meet with counterparts at the Australia Federal government. The Australian delegation was led by the Deputy Secretary at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Paul Grigson.
The objective of the Senior Officials Meeting (SoM) was to honour the commitment to hold the SoM annually between the two countries; to review bilateral relations, and to identify new areas of cooperation in order to further strengthen the relations; to identify specific projects that South Africa and Australia can undertake with a view to scaling up the cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, tourism, people to people and cultural linkages.
The SoM was also used to brief each other on the foreign policy priorities of the two countries as well as sharing perspectives on developments in their respective regions and on multilateral issues including Australia’s White Paper on relations with Asia in the 21st century, South Africa’s leadership role in the sub-region and continent, Indian Ocean and IOR-ARC, Australia’s tenure in the United Nations for 2013/14 term, Commonwealth, Climate Change, G20 and BRICS.
The SoM agreed that there is much happening between the two countries at various levels and sectors; however, the meeting was also unanimous that the existing cooperation needs to be more vibrant and visible. It was therefore agreed that the SoM must adopt an action plan to develop a more strategic bilateral relationship in the priority fields of sport tourism, fisheries, renewable energy, trade and investment, science and technology and education.
The South African High Commission, Canberra, Australia