Vice-President of the Republic of South Africa Thabo Mbeki and his accompanying delegation left Riyadh today at the end of their visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Yesterday, the South African Vice-President held another round of talks with Crown Prince Abdullah, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard. Addressing a press conference, he announced that South African President Nelson Mandela is planning to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit conference scheduled for December 7, 1998, in order to demonstrate the close relations that exist between his country and the GCC member states. He went on to report that agreements had been concluded for cooperation in the fields of technology, sports, and youth, with arrangements under way to conclude agreements on protection of investments, pointing out that these are in addition to a memorandum on exchanging technology. There are plans for an agreement on cooperation in the field of technology and scientific research. In addition, discussions will take place on activation of a petrochemical agreement when a delegation from Saudi Aramco visits South Africa on November 16, 1998.
Vice-President Mbeki underscored the importance of enhancing economic and investment cooperation between the two countries, and especially in the area of petroleum, oil and mining. He called for the establishment of a private-sector joint business council to determine areas for investment, and pledged that South Africa would purchase large quantities of oil from the Kingdom to meet its local requirements. Vice-President Mbeki praised the development achievements accomplished in the industrial city of Yanbu, which he visited on Monday.
Referring to the Middle East peace process, Vice-President Mbeki said his country has been urging both the Palestinians and the Israelis to implement the Oslo Agreement and to work for the realization of a just and durable peace in the region. He also noted that the United Nations Security Council has set up clear policies for realizing specific goals, in Iraq as elsewhere.