South Africa's Mbeki to visit France

14th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

CAPE TOWN, Nov 13 (AFP) - South African President Thabo Mbeki will pay a three-day state visit to France next week, where he is expected to hold talks on issues ranging from agriculural subsidies to the 2010 World Cup soccer bid.

CAPE TOWN, Nov 13 (AFP) - South African President Thabo Mbeki will pay a three-day state visit to France next week, where he is expected to hold talks on issues ranging from agriculural subsidies to the 2010 World Cup soccer bid.

Mbeki and a team of his ministers, including Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin, will start their visit Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad told journalists in Cape Town Thursday.

"One of the topics to be discussed will be the outcome of the Cancun meeting (the World Trade Organsation meeting in Mexico) and reform of the international financial architecture," Pahad said.
 
"We need to discuss how to deal with concerns about agricultural subsidies and dumping," he added.

Mbeki and French President Jacques Chirac have already met three times in 2003, but the meetings did not focus on relations between their two countries.

Pahad said Chirac's vocal support for Morocco to win the bid to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup was bound to come up.

"I'm not sure if President Mbeki will discuss this issue, but whereas in the past we would see sports administrators dealing with these issues, these days political influence is becoming more important," he said.

Other issues to be discussed during the visit will be conflict resolution in Africa and progress in the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) - a plan by African leaders to rejuvenate the continent and to hold corrupt leaders accountable.

France was South Africa's ninth-largest export market in 2002, having imported more than USD 1 billion (EUR 870 million) in goods and services. South Africa's imports from France were USD 1.6 billion (EUR 1.4 billion) in 2002.

France was also the ninth-largest foreign direct investor in South Africa in 2002, investing more than 448 million dollars.

© AFP


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