Finland and South Africa appealed for a speedy solution to the hostage crisis

Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja met with his South African counterpart, Mrs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, on May 12 in Helsinki on her tour to the Nordic capitals to prepare for the meetings between President Thabo Mbeki and the Nordic Prime Ministers, scheduled for 7-8 June, 2000.

The ministers drew attention to the crisis in the Philippines where both Finnish and South African citizens are held hostage. In unison, they demanded the release of the hostages.They appealed to the Philippine Government for a rapid solution of the hostage crisis and for the saving of the lives of the hostages.

According to Mrs Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa has a special relation with the Nordic countries which supported their struggle for democracy and now continue cooperation both bilaterally and multilaterally.

The two foreign ministers discussed bilateral relations between Finland and South Africa and current international issues, such as the reform of the United Nations. They also discussed the HIV situation and regional questions, especially the crisis in Zimbabwe, as well as the plans to renew the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

During her visit Foreign Minister Dlamini-Zuma met also with the President of the Republic, Mrs Tarja Halonen, and Mrs Satu Hassi, Minister for Environment and Development Aid.