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Swiss and South Africans boost relations

Switzerland has signed a memorandum of understanding with South Africa aimed at stepping up cooperation between the two countries.

This content was published on March 8, 2008 - 18:31

The move followed a meeting between Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey and her South African counterpart Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in Geneva, said the Swiss Foreign Ministry.

It will set the framework for a regular political dialogue and a first meeting is expected to take place in May, said a foreign ministry statement.

The ministers also held talks on bilateral relations, as well as the situation in Chad and Kenya, added the communiqué.

According to the South African Department of Foreign Affairs, Calmy-Rey and Dlamini Zuma will also attend an International Women's Day event in Geneva.

South Africa is Switzerland's leading commercial partner in sub-Saharan Africa. There are more than 100 Swiss companies active in South Africa and an expat community of around 8,800 people.

This type of accord is part of the Swiss government's strategy of strengthening ties with countries which are gaining in economic importance, said the foreign ministry. Brazil, Russia, India and China are also reported to be on Bern's list.

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