France, South Africa declare to strengthen cooperation

14:42, March 03, 2011      

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy (R) welcomes his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, March 2, 2011. Zuma arrived here on Tuesday night for a two-day official visit to France. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his visiting South African counterpart Jacob Zuma on Wednesday declared to strengthen bilateral ties, particular in cooperation concerning development and security, as well as multilateral dialogues within G20 framework.

Sarkozy and Zuma held a meeting at the Elysee Palace late in the afternoon, and discussed bilateral ties, multilateral forum of G20, the development of Africa and other important international affairs, according to their joint statement.

Welcoming the South Africa's joining the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member, Sarkozy said in a press conference that France would like to see a permanent member on behalf of Africa in the Security Council, reiterating the importance of African continent.

In the statement issued after their meeting, the two sides concreted the Forum for Political Dialogue at ministerial level on a regular basis and decided to set up the Forum for Economic Dialogue between the two Treasuries which will debut on Thursday.

Additionally, France promised to continue development programs in South Africa by funding 1 billion euros (about 1.39 billion U.S. dollars) over the next three years mainly on large cities program and public infrastructure projects.

Besides two agreements on development projects worth a total of 270 million euros (about 374.38 million dollars) that were signed during Zuma's visit, France also garnered profit in the nuclear energy industry.

The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation will sign Letters of Intent with French leading nuclear group Areva to expand the existing cooperation, the statement said. Nevertheless, local media reported earlier that the two sides have signed four agreements on nuclear energy without disclosing the concerned value.

Plus to further improve on general military and defense cooperations, France and South Africa said they want to work together in monitoring the vast maritime areas around the Prince Edward Islands and the Crozet Archipelago, and are discussing an agreement on this cooperation involving these geographical areas.

G20 forum was another key issue in their talk as both are members of the forum. They underlined their consensus to improve the international monetary system and to fight excessive commodity price volatility in the statement, while South Africa, an important emerging power representing Africa, planned to host a G20 workshop on development issues.

Starting his two-day visit on Wednesday, Zuma will spend the second day meeting with French commercial leaders and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon before leaving on Thursday night.

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