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South Africa and Palestine on Friday vowed to further strengthen relations built on the foundation of long-standing solidarity, friendship, and cooperation, according to a joint statement.

South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor held discussions with his Palestinian counterpart Riad Malki, who is on an official visit to the country, the statement said.

The two ministers said they reviewed the state of bilateral relations and expressed their satisfaction with the cordial relations between the two countries, which is to be further augmented by a planned State visit to South Africa by President Mahmoud Abbas, it added.

They also agreed that a conference for Palestinian Heads of Missions in Africa will be hosted in Cape Town at the end of November 2021, where the Palestine’s policy toward Africa will be deliberated upon.

The two sides also agreed on joint efforts aimed at reversing the recent decision by African Union Commission chair to admit Israel as an observer member to the African Union, according to the statement.

The two ministers also exchanged views on the latest developments in the Middle East Peace Process.

South Africa reaffirmed its long-term and principled support for the Palestinian people, said the statement, adding: “It (South Africa) remains committed to support initiatives aimed at refocusing the international agenda on Palestine and the Middle East Peace Process.”

Both sides noted that security and stability in the Middle East is being “undermined by the continued occupation of Palestinian territories and the aggressive actions of the Israeli regime.”

South Africa and Palestine also called on the international community to further strengthen their support for the return of all parties to the negotiation table without pre-conditions and to further demand a legal and legitimate establishment of an independent, fully sovereign, and viable Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital as per the borders existing on June 4 1967.

They said this is in line with the internationally agreed parameters based on the relevant UN resolutions.

The two ministers also committed to working together to enhance close political, economic, and social cooperation for the mutual benefit of their countries and peoples.

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