The Fourth Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) between the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Peoples' Republic of Bangladesh was held in Pretoria, South Africa, on 12 July 2017. The Fourth SOM was co-chaired by Ambassador Anil Sooklal, Deputy Director-General: Asia and Middle East, Department of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa, and Mr Kamrul Ahsan, Secretary (Bilateral and Consular), Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh.
The Meeting focused on strengthening the excellent relations that exist between South Africa and Bangladesh that have been forged through bonds of solidarity, friendship and cooperation. Both sides agreed to build on the achievements of the previous SOM held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in August 2015.
In order to strengthen both political and economic relations, the Fourth SOM agreed to continue with their deliberations, through the exchange of official visits including high-level visits, as well as facilitating engagements and cooperation on all levels. Noted that trade and economic relations between South Africa and Bangladesh were expanding and agreed that there was still considerable potential to strengthen these relations in order to boost economic growth and to generate much needed employment opportunities.
The two countries also agreed to forge closer cooperation in the fields of education and skills and technology transfer in the blue economy. It was furthermore, agreed that cooperation in these sectors be reviewed on a regular basis to allow for expansion in the identified priority areas that will be to the mutual benefit of both countries.
The two countries underscored the need for consultation and the exchange of views between South Africa and Bangladesh in order to build partnerships in multilateral fora and to ensure that the agenda of the South is prioritised. The Meeting also reflected on South Africa assuming the Chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) in October 2017 and both Chairs noted the importance of the Indian Ocean in the advancement of the developmental agenda. The meeting further exchanged views and positions on developments in the regional, Continental (Africa) and the international fora.
In conclusion of the Fourth SOM, the two countries agreed to fast track the implementation of the decisions of the Fourth SOM and to accelerate the pace of concluding the pending draft Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding.
It was agreed that the Fifth Senior Officials Meeting will be held in Bangladesh on a date to be agreed upon through diplomatic channels.
The Communiqué was prepared in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa, on 12 July 2017.
For the Department of International Relations For the Foreign Ministry of the Peoples'
and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa. Republic of Bangladesh
Issued by: Department of International Relations and Cooperation