Pretoria: South Africa and Azerbaijan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Regular Political Consultations, which will see the two countries strengthening cooperation in various fields such as energy, defence, education and skills development, trade and investment.
“The MoU is an important starting point for the development of the necessary legal instruments for the strengthening of our relations,” said the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
She was speaking during a join press briefing with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Friday. The two ministers held a meeting in Pretoria to discuss bilateral relations.
“We are confident that the singing of the MoU will take forward not only our political but also our economic and trade relations, to the benefit of both our countries in creating jobs, exchanging technical skills and information.”
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa attached great importance to the ties that had been built between South Africa and Azerbaijan.
“We look forward to enhancing our relations further. Azerbaijan is a rapidly developing young democracy with a steadily growing economy and a stable political system.
“Today, Azerbaijan is ranked among the world’s leading oil and gas producers following the intense investment and development of its reserves since independence. This led to unprecedented economic growth and expansion.
“Therefore, it is our hope that South Africa and Azerbaijan can learn from each other in order to enhance the quality of life of the people of our countries,” she told media.
In May last year, Deputy Minister Marius Fransman paid a visit to Azerbaijan where he met with Deputy Minster Khalafov. During the visit, the Deputy Minsters reviewed the scope of bilateral relations between South Africa and Azerbaijan; facilitated cooperation on energy and defence as well as education and skills development.
“There is still significant work to be done to realise our goals in these areas and the Protocol on Political Consultations that we have just signed is an important starting point for our relations,” said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.
South African and Azerbaijan hold common views on a broad range of issues, including with regard to the role of the United Nations. Azerbaijan has just completed its first tenure in the UN Security Council.
“We look forward to continue engaging on issues of multilateral concern, especially pertaining to the reform of the UN and, in particular, the UN Security Council, reform of the Bretton Woods institutions and climate change,” said the minister.