_: Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the media.
Minister Osman and I have just concluded bilateral discussions.
This is the Minister’s second visit to South Africa following our previous meeting in April 2010. Our discussions this morning covered a number of issues of bilateral and multilateral concern.
In order to further enhance our bilateral relations, we have signed a Declaration of Intent, which records our mutual intention to work towards enhancing bilateral relations. Soon, we should be in a position to enter into a General Cooperation Agreement, which will lay the foundation for exchanges in all spheres.
Minister Osman and I also discussed developing our economic relations. Just last month, July 2012, a business delegation from South Africa visited Asmara and as received at the highest level.
This visit was meant to explore additional areas of trade and investment for the mutual economic benefit of our countries.
We have committed today to encourage our private sectors to increase their interactions. This is aimed at identifying opportunities for trade and investment.
Minister Osman has indicated to me that Eritrea is open for business with South Africa, especially in the sectors of mining, railway and tourism infrastructure, agro-processing, agriculture, fisheries and solar energy. We are confident that speedy implementation of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Southen African Development Community, East African Community (COMESA/SADC/EAC) Free Trade Agreement will remove any barriers in this respect.
Ladies and gentlemen, before I conclude, I would also like to point to the other matters that we discussed. These include the developments in the Horn of Africa region, in particular on the progress of the negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan on outstanding issues to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
Finally, we also discussed the latest developments in Somalia. We have expressed our mutual interest to advance peace and stability in Somalia.
Minister, may I now invite you to also address the media.