Statement by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa and the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of South Africa

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa and the Delegation of the European Union to South Africa regret the misrepresentation made by the media outlets Bloomberg and News 24 yesterday, 8 April 2024 regarding the relationship between the Republic of South Africa and the European Union.

We would like to reject the claim made by these media outlets that the Republic of South Africa has not responded to several requests by the European Union to hold a bilateral South Africa-European Union Summit during 2023. On the contrary, South Africa and the European Union have maintained a regular exchange throughout 2023 in order to prepare their bilateral Summit. This includes a Ministerial Forum in South Africa in January 2023, bilateral contacts at Heads of State level, and ministerial visits to both Pretoria and Brussels.

Those contacts have been intensified and strengthened since the beginning of 2024. This includes the bilateral meeting between Minister Dr. Naledi Pandor and High Representative Mr. Josep Borrell Fontelles in the margins of the G20 meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Rio de Janeiro, Deputy Minister Mr. Botes’ visit to Brussels to participate in the Indo-Pacific Forum, the visit of EU Ambassadors from the Political and Security Committee to Pretoria, Director General Dangor co-hosted with his EU counterparts the bilateral Political and Security Dialogue Forum and the Human Rights Dialogue, both held in Pretoria, as well as the Minister’s engagement with EU Ambassadors in Cape Town.

In that context, we also reject the claim made by Bloomberg and News 24 that the delays to the summit are sending a negative signal about future relations between the EU and South Africa. In fact, the above-mentioned regular high-level visits and engagements illustrate the strength, depth and wide-range scope of the strategic partnership between the European Union and South Africa.

Against this backdrop of partnership and dialogue, and in a decisive year for democracy and multilateralism across the world, South Africa and the European Union continue to work closely together and, as part of it, to identify a suitable date for their bilateral Summit.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of South Africa.

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