Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers and his Swiss counterpart, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Mr Yves Rossier Co-chaired the 6th Session of the South Africa-Switzerland High Level Consultations(HLC) which were held in Pretoria from 23-24 February 2015. The 6th session took place within the context of solid structured bilateral relations between the two countries.
The State Secretary and Deputy Minister noted the substantial bilateral relations between the two countries and had extensive dialogue on the political and economic developments in South Africa, Switzerland, and on the African continent. They also reviewed a wide range of regional and international issues.
The Deputy Minister and State Secretary reviewed the progress made since the last High Level Consultations held in Fribourg, Switzerland in November 2013. They both recommitted to further strengthen collaboration in the areas as identified by various working groups and further strive for the realisation of set objectives. The main emphasis was on cooperation in the fields of science and technology, economic development and trade, skills development and vocational training as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency. South Africa expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by Switzerland in support of the National Development Plan.
Both the Deputy Minister and the State Secretary emphasised the importance of human rights as a priority of their foreign policies. They also agreed that the newly formed SA-Switzerland Human Rights Sub-Committee will go a long way in enhancing cooperation and constructive approaches to human rights issues of mutual interest.
The Deputy Minister and the State Secretary agreed to explore possible collaboration in peace-building initiatives in Burundi and Somalia. They further agreed to contribute to strengthening of regional African organisations and commended the African Union in its efforts to maintain peace and stability. The State Secretary expressed Switzerland’s willingness to continue contributing towards sustainable peace on the African continent and to consider Agenda 2063 in it future engagements.
The Deputy Minister and State Secretary discussed the situation in Ukraine.
They also exchanged views on terrorism and its implications. They expressed concern that acts of terrorism undermine international peace and security and called for coordinated action under the leadership of the United Nations to effectively address this global scourge.
The Deputy Minister and State Secretary condemned the use of violence against unarmed civilians for whatever reason.
State Secretary Yyes Rossier expressed his gratitude to Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers, the Government, and the people of South Africa for the warm welcome and fraternal reception accorded to him and his delegation during the visit.