Joint communique on the event of the opening session of the binational fee Zimbabwe – South Africa: Three November 2016

1. At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, took part in the opening session of the summit of the binational commission and jointly chaired the on November 3rd, 2016 in Harare, Zimbabwe took place.

2. The summit of the Binational Commission (BNC) was immediately preceded by the ministerial meeting on November 2 and the meeting of senior officials from October 31 to November 1, 2016.

3. The two Heads of State expressed their satisfaction with the strong historical and fraternal relations between the two countries and reaffirmed their commitment to develop these relations further. They also examined a wide range of regional and international issues.

4. The Commission noted progress in strengthening bilateral cooperation in sectors such as trade, investment, finance, health, labor, education and training, women and gender, sport and leisure, mining, tourism, energy, transport, infrastructure development and information for knowledge communication technology, science and technology, tourism, immigration, defense and security. They also called for increased cooperation in agriculture, food security, housing and SME / SME development.

5. The Commission was also satisfied with the excellent cooperation in the defense and security areas and encouraged the respective agencies to continue working together on issues of mutual interest.

6. The two heads of state noted the increasing economic cooperation between the two countries. In this context, it was agreed to set up a joint trade and investment committee by the end of the first quarter of 2017.

7. Heads of State emphasized the importance of corporations in business interaction and in promoting public-private partnerships (PPPs) and joint ventures.

8. The two Heads of State or Government discussed the implementation of the SADC trade protocol and the bilateral trade agreement between Zimbabwe and South Africa, including various legal instruments adopted by Zimbabwe related to import control administration.

9. The two Heads of State noted that 38 agreements and letters of intent have been signed between the two countries. The two heads of state urged the various departments to urgently implement the agreements and memoranda already concluded between the two countries. Heads of State expressed concern about delays in concluding a number of agreements and memoranda and directed the relevant ministries and departments to finalize negotiations on all outstanding agreements and memoranda.

10. The Binational Commission stressed the urgent need to set up a One-Stop-Border-Post (OSBP) in Beitbridge-Musina, as decided in 2009 by the Joint Standing Commission in Victoria Falls. To this end, the Commission decided to lay down the modalities for its establishment by the next binational commission in 2017.

11. The Commission found that the illegal trade in ivory and other wildlife products remained a problem for both countries. The two countries agreed to continue to work together to find solutions to the challenges of the illegal wildlife trade, including through joint law enforcement efforts.

12. The two Heads of State took note of the impact of the El Nino drought in their respective countries and in the region. They stressed the importance of taking appropriate mitigation measures. They continued to express concern about the socio-economic impact of the drought.

13. The two Heads of State called for further progress in the implementation of the SADC industrialization strategy and roadmap. In this context, they looked forward to the adoption of the cost action plan for the implementation of the strategy and the roadmap at the upcoming SADC extraordinary summit in March 2017.

14. The two heads of state also exchanged views on political and security developments in the region. In this context, they reaffirmed the need to maintain peace and stability for economic growth and integration of the region.

15. The two heads of state condemned the rise of terrorism and extremism in some regions of the continent and called for greater cooperation between AU member states and other interest groups in combating the scourge.

16. The two Heads of State expressed concern about the migration crisis in certain parts of the African continent and called for the humane treatment of migrants.

17. The two heads of state reaffirmed their support for the SADC candidate for the office of Chairman of the AU Commission, Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Foreign Minister of Botswana. They also noted that Zimbabwe had two candidates for the positions of Political Affairs Commissioner and Social Affairs Commissioner.

18. With regard to the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, the Heads of State reaffirmed their support for the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination. They stressed the need for Africa to speak with the same voice on this matter and stressed the plight of the Saharawi people.

19. The two Heads of State took note of Morocco’s application to join the AU and welcomed the statement by the Chair of the AU Commission highlighting the procedures for membership.

20. With regard to the Palestine issue, the two Heads of State reaffirmed their support for a credible and comprehensive peace process aimed at achieving a just and lasting solution.

21. The two Heads of State reaffirmed their common view on the need to reform multilateral institutions, in particular the United Nations Security Council. They reaffirmed the Ezulwini consensus as the common African position.

22. The two leaders congratulated Mr. Antonio Guterres, the newly appointed Secretary General of the United Nations.

23. The two heads of state welcomed the establishment of the BRICS Bank and stated that His Excellency Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma will open the BRICS Regional Center for Africa in December 2016.

24. His Excellency President Robert Gabriel Mugabe congratulated President Zuma on his election as the next SADC Chair in 2017.

25. During the BNC, the two heads of state witnessed the signing of the bilateral air transport agreement.

26. His Excellency President Robert Gabriel Mugabe thanked His Excellency President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma for attending the opening session of the binational commission and for the fraternal and friendly spirit in which the interaction was carried out.

27. His Excellency Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma thanked the Government and the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe for the warm welcome and hospitality which he and his delegation had received.

28. His Excellency President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma invited his Excellency President Robert Gabriel Mugabe to the next meeting of the Binational Commission (BNC) in South Africa in 2017, which is to be mutually determined by diplomatic channels

Distributed by APO on behalf of the Republic of South Africa: Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

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