Pretoria — President Jacob Zuma and Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila have met to strengthen existing relations between the two countries at the 8th Session of the Bi-National Commission.
The meeting of the two Heads of State, which took place on Tuesday, was preceded by a ministerial meeting on Monday and a senior officials’ meeting at the weekend.
During their discussions, the two Presidents reviewed a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues.
They expressed great satisfaction at the warm and special relations that exist between the two countries and committed themselves to further enhance these relations for the mutual benefit of their respective countries and peoples.
The two countries cooperate in several projects covering various fields, including security sector reform, infrastructure development, capacity and institutional building, humanitarian and social matters.
Both President Zuma and President Kabila reiterated their commitment to strengthen economic relations by enhancing cooperation between the business communities of the two countries and by increasing bilateral trade and investment.
They also witnessed the signing of a co-operation agreement between PetroSA and Cohydro. This important agreement will establish a strategic cooperation in the activities of pre-exploration, exploration, development and production of hydrocarbons for the benefit of the two countries.
The agreement adds to the already wide legal instruments within which cooperation between the two countries takes place.
In this regard, South Africa’s Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI) was regarded as an important platform to achieve this goal. In the same vein, both countries agreed to encourage people-to-people contacts through cultural, scientific and educational exchange programmes and tourism.
The two Presidents also took the opportunity to reflect extensively on the ongoing security instability in the eastern part of the DRC.
In this regard, the two condemned in the strongest possible terms those forces that are involved in destabilising a sovereign state and called on them to cease these activities immediately.
They also committed their respective governments to the regional efforts that are aimed at assisting the Government of the DRC to deal with this challenge.
On regional issues, the two leaders exchanged views on the prevailing political, economic and security situation in the region. In this context, the two re-affirmed their commitment to work together in pursuit of regional economic integration.
On continental and international issues, the two expressed their commitment to African unity and integration within the framework of the Constitutive Act of the African Union.
They further reiterated their common view on the need to reform the multilateral institutions including the United Nations Security Council and the Brettonwoods Institutions to better represent the interests of the developing countries.
On behalf of the Congolese delegation and the people of the DRC, President Kabila thanked Zuma, the government and the people of the South Africa for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to his delegation.
The next session of the BNC will be held in the DRC on a date to be determined.