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Visit of South African Deputy President

18 October 2006

Visit of South African Deputy President

Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced that South Africa’s Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka will be visiting New Zealand this week.

Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka arrives tonight, accompanied by deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad and senior foreign affairs, education, and labour department officials.

"This is the first visit at this very senior level from South Africa since the visits of former President Nelson Mandela and his then deputy, and now current President, Thabo Mbeki in 1995," Helen Clark said.

"The visit, from 18-21 October, is an opportunity to take New Zealand’s relations with South Africa to a new level.

“The New Zealand relationship with South Africa is very warm and has a lot of shared history.

“Twenty-first century South Africa is an emerging power with global interests. New Zealand needs to lay stronger claim to a bigger share of South Africa’s attention. There are many areas where we can develop the relationship.

"During my visit to South Africa in February an agenda of projects to strengthen the relationship was established, in areas including proposals for working holidays, scientific and cultural links, and trade. I look forward to making progress with these projects during Mrs Mlambo Ngcuka’s visit.

“Economic links, especially trade, between New Zealand and South Africa continue to show strong growth, with New Zealand exports to South Africa growing 48 per cent last year. New Zealand wants to see further joint work on the potential for increasing trade.”

Helen Clark said New Zealand and South Africa also had shared interests in areas like the environment, Antarctica, disarmament, and the WTO Doha Round, and will look at ways of working together better in these areas to achieve common goals.

A biography and photo of the Deputy President can be found at:
http://www.info.gov.za/leaders/deppres/index.html

ENDS

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