Pretoria: President Jacob Zuma and his Botswana counterpart President Seretse Khama Ian Khama have signed an agreement establishing a Bi-National Commission, which will be convened annually.
The signing of the agreement was one of the highlights of the two-day state visit by Zuma to that country. President Khama had invited Zuma for a state visit following his visit to South Africa in October 2010.
“The Bi-National Commission is a framework for cooperation which elevates the two existing bilateral co-operation frameworks, namely the Joint Permanent Commission on Co-operation (JPCC) and the Joint Permanent Commission for Co-operation on Defence and Security (JPCDS), from Ministerial level to Head of State level,” said a communique issued at the end of President Zuma’s visit.
The Bi-National Commission will convene annually and will be chaired by both the Presidents. It will meet alternately between Gaborone and Pretoria.
The two Presidents also signed two other cooperation agreements in order to further enhance the bilateral relations and co-operation between the two countries. These were the Memorandum of Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Energy and the Memorandum of Understanding on Regional Environmental and Social Assessment of Coal-Based Energy Projects.
Presidents Zuma and Khama also discussed bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest during their official talks, including immigration, defence and security, energy, trade, transport and environment.
The pair underscored the excellent relations that subsist between Botswana and South Africa, founded on the deep historical, cultural, linguistic and family ties, as well as shared values of mutual respect, commitment to democracy, good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
The Presidents further discussed the development of the Mmamabula Coal Fired Power Station and the Power Supply Agreement as well as the need to expedite cross-border transport and infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges.
They urged their ministers responsible for defence, justice and security to intensify efforts to combat illicit drug trafficking and poaching of endangered species such as elephants and rhinos, which is on the rise.
Presidents Zuma and Khama, who observed a minute of silence in memory of the 44 people who died in the Marikana two weeks ago, also discussed the political and security situation in Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Syria.
President Khama commended President Zuma for the role he continues to play to facilitate the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement and the Roadmap to elections. The two Presidents urged the political parties in Zimbabwe to set and adhere to the timelines for the adoption of the new Constitution, holding of the referendum and elections.
The President was accompanied by seven ministers, senior government officials and a business delegation.
During his visit, Zuma addressed the Botswana-South Africa Business Seminar, to encourage business linkages between the two countries with a view to facilitate increased trade and investment. – SAnews.gov.za