30 January 2013

South Africa: SA, Philippines Meet for First Bilateral Meeting

Pretoria — The Department of International Relations and Cooperation will today host the inaugural meeting of the South Africa-Philippines Bilateral Consultative Forum (BCF).

The meeting comes after the signing of the agreement between the two countries on the side-lines of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly that took place in September in New York.

The BCF serves as an instrument for structured bilateral consultations with the aim of advancing cooperation between the two countries, according to a statement by the department.

"The focus of the meeting will be on strengthening relations with the Philippines, specifically in the areas of trade, investment, tourism and culture.

"Further discussions are expected to centre on issues of mutual interest in terms of regional and multilateral developments, as well as on new areas of possible cooperation," the department said.

South Africa's formal diplomatic relations with the Philippines date back to November 1993 with the Embassy of the Philippines in Pretoria established in June 1994. South Africa in turn established an Embassy in Manila 10 years later.

Both countries are influential in organisations of the South, including the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of 77 and China (G77).

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