South African foreign minister arrives Thursday

November 11th, 2009 - 8:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will arrive Thursday for a three-day visit - the first trip by a South African official to India after the formation of its new government.
The visiting minister will be travelling with senior officials of the South African ministry of international relations and cooperation.

Earlier this year, India had sent Vice President Hamid Ansari to attend the inauguration ceremony of President Jacob Zuma in May. Thereafter, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna had met with Nkoana-Mashabane in Brasilia in September.

Nkoana-Mashabane, who was earlier high commissioner to India, will hold discussions with Krishna, which will cover a wide range of bilateral areas of interest.

“Broad areas will include furthering political interaction, increasing trade and investment, enhancing interactions in culture, education and science and technology etc,” said a press release of the ministry of external affairs.

Krishna will also host a working lunch in honour of his South African counterpart.

The bilateral trade volume stands at $6 billion, but both countries have been trying to find ways to enhance this figure. Both countries are currently discussing a Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement. India is also negotiating a Preferential Trade Agreement with Southern Africa Customs Union.

The minister will visit Mumbai, from where she will depart for South Africa Nov 15.

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