The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and South African President Thabo Mbeki co-chaired official Saudi-South African talks in Riyadh yesterday. Saudi Arabia was represented by Prince Mishal bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Najran Province; Prince Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Defense and Aviation; Prince Metib bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs; Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Riyadh Province; and Prince Miqrin bin Abdulaziz, director of the General Intelligence, as well as other senior officials.
On the South African side, the talks were attended by Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr Mosiuoa Gerard Patrick Lekota, Minister of Defense; Mr Mandisi Bongani Mabuto Mpahlwa, Minister of Trade and Industry; Ms Buyelwa Patience Sonjica, Minister of Minerals and Energy; and South African Ambassador to Saudi Arabia J.A. Davies.
President Mbeki arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday on a two-day visit during which the two nations sought to strengthen bilateral economic and political relations.
During his visit, Mbeki met with Chairman of Majlis Al-Shoura Dr. Saleh Bin-Humaid; Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Abdulrahman Al-Attiyah; and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company. Mbeki also addressed members of the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Saudi Arabia is the third largest market for South African products in the Middle East and is a major crude oil supplier to South Africa. Over 34 percent of South Africa’s crude oil imports come from Saudi Arabia. Saudi companies are also major investors in South Africa. Oger Telecoms (a subsidiary of Saudi Oger) is the largest Saudi investor in South Africa. It currently owns sixty percent of 3C Telecommunications, Arab News reported today. Several South African companies have major investments in the Kingdom’s mining sector.