5 October 2017

South Africa: Strategic Partnership, Peace Process, Development Cooperation - FDFA State Secretary Baeriswyl Visits South Africa and Mozambique

press release

Bern, Switzerland — The discussions held in Maputo between State Secretary Baeriswyl and the President of the Republic of Mozambique, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, focused on the ongoing peace negotiations between the Mozambican government and the opposition party. President Nyusi thanked Switzerland for supporting the peace process.

Switzerland has made its good offices available to Mozambique in tackling the armed conflict that resurfaced there in 2013. At the request of President Nyusi and opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama, Switzerland now chairs the international contact group set up to follow the dialogue between the two parties. The peace process supported by Switzerland resulted in a temporary truce being announced on Christmas Eve 2016. The ceasefire was then extended indefinitely in May 2017 when the parties reached the first such agreement since 2013.

The Secretary of State also had the opportunity to hold constructive talks with the Mozambican Minister of Foreign Affairs, Oldemiro Balói, at the end of which a memorandum of understanding was signed, establishing regular consultations between Switzerland and Mozambique at the political level, which will reinforce bilateral cooperation and help improve the coordination of positions on multilateral issues.

As well as being vital to the country's economic and social development, a peaceful solution to the long-standing conflict in Mozambique is crucial if broad sections of the population are to break free from devastating poverty. Swiss development cooperation activities, which have been taking place in Mozambique for 40 years, will continue to provide support, with efforts focused on governance, health and economic development.

Ms Baeriswyl will travel to the north of the country on 6 October 2017, where she will visit two SDC projects in Nampula province: one dedicated to new methods of cultivation and irrigation for smallholder farmers, the other to microfinance. The State Secretary will meet a group of female farmers and discuss the concrete benefits of microloans.

Strategic partnership with South Africa

Prior to visiting Mozambique, State Secretary Baeriswyl co-chaired the 8th round of high-level consultations in South Africa, one of Switzerland's strategic partner countries. The FDFA State Secretary was received on 3 October by South African Deputy Foreign Minister, Luwellyn Landers, in Pretoria, where Ms Baeriswyl and Mr Landers co-chaired the eighth session of these bilateral consultations. Discussions primarily centred on cooperation at the regional and multilateral level, economic and scientific cooperation, migration issues, human rights and international peace and security policy.

The State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) and the National Treasury also held discussions on tax and financial matters, which are likely to intensify before the next political talks. South Africa is Switzerland's main economic and financial partner on the African continent.

During her visit to Pretoria, State Secretary Baeriswyl also took the opportunity to meet with the South African Minister of Women in the Presidency, Susan Shabangu, with whom she discussed, among other things, the situation of women in South Africa and gender equality 25 years after the end of apartheid.

In Mamelodi, a township outside Pretoria, the State Secretary officially opened the country's first solar bakery, which was specially designed as part of a Swiss pilot project. By harnessing sunlight, the local SOS Children's Village can bake over 30kg of bread a day for distribution to local residents.

SOURCE Federal Department for Foreign Affairs, Switzerland

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