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South Africa seeks to strengthen Belgium ties

Jul 04 2012 16:41 Sapa

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Pretoria - South Africa is considering ways of strengthening bilateral economic relations with Belgium, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Wednesday.

She told reporters in Pretoria a visiting Belgian delegation would meet South African ministers to explore the possible co-operation.

Belgian deputy prime minister Didier Reynders is on his first official state visit to South Africa. He is also the country's minister of foreign affairs, foreign trade and European trade.

"I am encouraged by the fact that you will be meeting other members of our Cabinet, specifically our minister of trade and industry and also the minister of mineral resources," Nkoana-Mashabane said.

"We believe there is an opportunity there (in the mining sector) to work with Belgium on our plans for beneficiation of our mineral resources and taking advantage of your historical expertise in this field."

She said the west European country had helped support South Africa's national priorities since 1994. The help had covered areas such as health, ports management and logistics, education, rural development and further education and training, Nkoana-Mashabane said.

The joint deliberations on Wednesday also touched on political developments in Syria and the deteriorating security situation in the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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