THE inaugural Zimbabwe – South Africa Bi-National Commission officials’ meeting has kicked off in Harare this Monday, with calls to make sure that existing agreements that exist between the two countries will be finalised and implemented for their mutual benefit.
Addressing Zimbabwean and South African officials attending the preparatory meeting, the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Joey Bimha said the establishment of the Bi-National Commission represents a significant qualitative upgrading of the two countries’ already solid relations.
He said Zimbabwe does not have this type of forum of cooperation with any other country except South Africa and that the Bi-National Commission with South Africa is a first which speaks volumes about the two countries’s relationaship.
Bimha explained that the Bi-National Commission is an instrument and mechanism that needs to be acted upon on both sides to achieve implementation of planned programmes.
“Although some tangible results from cooperation under the South Africa joint commissions, some plans and programmes have not gone beyond signed documents, and there is need for a change in the new dispensation of the Bi-National Commission,” he said.
In response, the Deputy Director-General for Africa in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Xolisa Makaya said the discussions take place when there is peace in the region adding efforts should be doubled to deal with the continent’s socio-economic challenges.
Officials attending the bi-national preparatory meeting are drawn from different sectors of government including education, tourism, agriculture, defence and security, home affairs, diplomacy politics as well as trade and industry.
Bimha is leading the Zimbabwean delegation, while Makaya is leading the South African delegation.
After the discussions , the ministers of foreign affairs of the two countries will also examine the issues before handing them over to the heads of state and government later this week. – Patience Rusere/ZBC