Spain, On 1 July 2022, hosted the 14th round of Bilateral Consultations in Madrid, welcoming the return to the in-person format that was temporarily abandoned due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The meeting was co-chaired by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Global Affairs of the Kingdom of Spain, Ms. Ángeles Moreno Bau, and by the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Alvin Botes.
The meeting convened in the framework of the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in December 2000 underscores the importance of the bilateral relationship.
The discussions focused on a number of areas of common interest, including bilateral economic and trade relations and multilateral and regional cooperation.
The co-chairs expressed their sadness at the loss of life caused by the Covid-19 pandemic but celebrated the recent positive evolution in both their countries, which has enabled the consultations and the exchange of visits between Spain and South Africa to resume. They also undertook to collaborate with a view to ensuring that the vaccines are accessible to all the citizens of the world. Spain highlighted the opportunities offered by the Society of Spanish Researchers in South Africa.
The degree of implementation of the bilateral agreements and memoranda in force was reviewed, and both parties undertook to give impetus to the negotiations of those yet to be formalized. They also welcomed the strengthening of relations through the mutual support of each other’s candidacies for international organizations when they agreed to do so.
As regards bilateral economic relations, it was agreed that the two countries would work together to address obstacles to bilateral trade and to ensure closer coordination to maximize business opportunities and the diversification of trade and bilateral investment as drivers of job creation and the fight against inequality. They also spoke about the possibilities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
The co-chairs shared points of view on international and regional affairs, including the war in Ukraine and its international impact, particularly in Africa and the developing world, the insurgency in the Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique, and the situations in the Sahel and Western Sahara. They also discussed cooperation between the European Union and the African Union. Spain explained its plans, proposals, and priorities for its Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which it will assume next year, and South Africa also shared its priorities for its Presidency of BRICS in 2023.
Climate change and the just energy transition were also discussed. Spain, given its considerable experience in the renewable energy sector, offered to collaborate with South Africa, bilaterally and multilaterally, in the Just Energy Transition Partnership.
Spain and South Africa reiterated their commitment to strengthening multilateralism and to working together to foster peace and prevent conflicts, promote respect for international law, support and protect human rights, and ensure the greater participation of women in international forums and organizations.
Spain and South Africa reaffirmed the ties of friendship and solidarity existing between the two countries and look forward to the next Bilateral Consultations meeting, which will be held in 2023 and hosted by the Republic of South Africa.