Southern Africa: Joint Communique On the Meeting Between His Excellency President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and the Right Honourable Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho

press release

1. At the invitation of the President of the Republic of South Africa, HE President Jacob Zuma, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, The Right Honourable Mr Motsoahae Thomas Thabane paid a one-day working visit to South Africa on 18 October 2012. Prime Minister Thabane was accompanied by six ministers and senior Government Officials.

2. The two Leaders acknowledged the special historical, cultural and geographical relations that uniquely bind the two countries.

3. During the official talks, the two leaders reviewed a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues. They expressed great satisfaction at the warm and fraternal relations that exist between their two countries and committed themselves to further enhance these historical and cultural relations for the mutual benefit of their respective countries and peoples.

4. The two leaders underscored the need to enhance and strengthen the existing bilateral cooperation between the two countries under the framework of the Joint Bilateral Commission for Cooperation (JBCC). The JBCC is a strategic mechanism which is used to coordinate bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

5. Considering the importance of the JBCC in coordinating structured bilateral cooperation and partnership between the two sister countries, the two leaders decided to renew the JBCC for a period of five years in keeping with Article 14 (2) of its Agreement. In that regard, they instructed that the plans and programmes of the JBCC should be actively implemented.

6. The two Leaders agreed to give impetus to the enhanced relations between the two countries and decided, in the context of the JBCC, that sectoral meetings between ministries and departments of the two countries in pursuance of this objective should be held on a regular basis.

7. The two leaders agreed that the facilitation of movement of goods and persons across the common borders is of great importance for achieving the objective of raising to a higher level cooperation and good relations between the two countries. They also agreed that the steps taken by both governments to ensure strengthening of security and orderly movement were very positive developments.

8. To further give expression to the strong bilateral relations between the two countries, both leaders agreed that the next session of the JBCC should be held in early 2013, the exact date and venue to be determined through diplomatic channels.

9. The two leaders further noted the existence of more than 26 sectoral agreements and memoranda of understanding between the two countries. In this regard, they directed their ministers to ensure full implementation of these legal instruments for mutual benefit.

10. During the meeting, Prime Minister Thabane briefed President Zuma about the developing food crisis in Lesotho and its potential humanitarian impact on the country's population.

11. In this regard, President Zuma expressed South Africa's solidarity with the Government and people of Lesotho in the face of the impending food challenges and affirmed South Africa's commitment to provide some humanitarian assistance to the Kingdom to help ease its food crisis. The extent and form of such assistance is still being worked out by the South African Government.

12. The two leaders agreed that political commitment is an important basis for mobilising all levels of the relations between the two countries to a higher level and more sustainable success.

13. On regional issues, the leaders exchanged views on the prevailing political, economic and security situation in the region. In this context, the two leaders re-affirmed their commitment to work together in pursuit of the regional economic integration.

14. On continental and international issues, the two leaders expressed their commitment to African unity and integration. They 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.

15. Prime Minister Thabane expressed his gratitude to President Zuma, the government and the people of the Republic of South Africa for the warm welcome and fraternal reception accorded to him and his delegation during the visit.

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