MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid), chairman of the Israel-South Africa Parliamentary Friendship Group, has concluded an official visit to the South African parliament. The visit to the South African parliament was the first by an Israeli legislator in over five years.

While in South Africa, Lipman met with MPs from four different parties, including the African National Congress (ANC) party, which is anti-Israel. During the meetings, Lipman called for the renewal of parliamentary relations between Israel and South Africa, and urged to enhance economic and technological cooperation. The South African MPs stressed to Lipman that they hope to be partners in the peace process, noting that this would strengthen their economic interests.

Lipman`s most successful meeting was with ANC MP Moses Masango, who serves as Chairman of the Foreign Lobby in South Africa`s parliament. During the meeting, Masango said he hopes to assist in improving relations between the two countries. He also thanked Lipman for attending the memorial service for Nelson Mandela last December.

”The fact that the meeting happened [at all] is already a great achievement,” Lipman stated. ”This visit is an important first step toward the improvement of relations between the two countries.”

”The channels of communication are open again, which helped me explain the delicate political-security situation in the [Middle East],” Lipman said. ”Contrary to what many think, very soon we will see an increase in Israeli exports to South Africa.”