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Closing Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Africa, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, at the South Africa-Africa Union-Carribean Diaspora Conference, Kingston, Jamaica, 16 March 2005

Your Excellencies,
Honourable Colleagues, Ministers,
Distinguished Diplomats
Ladies and Gentlemen:

We have reached the end of a historic occasion for the people of the Caribbean and of Africa.

As brothers and sisters on different continents bound by the same umbilical cord that gave us not only a common past but a shared destiny, we have spent the past three days strengthening our connections through a very stimulating, frank and enriching discussion about ourselves and the world around us.

We have reflected on our common past, our different experiences, the demands of the present, and together we have dreamt about our common destiny.

We have deliberated on a range of issues - from the question of reparations to poverty eradication, from debt cancellation to peace and security. We have discussed health, culture, the environment, gender equality, economic co-operation, trade, knowledge sharing, integration, South South co-operation, to mention but a few.

I think it would be right to conclude that we have to take our destiny into our own hands. We have to be united and undertake united actions in a number of crucial areas. That in President Fidel Castro’s words, we should globalise solidarity. Our strength is in our unity and through unity in action.

Cuba, due to its internationalist outlook, understands this more than anyone else because they have been at it for a long time. South African can attest to the value of solidarity because we are the benefactors of the solidarity of the people of the Caribbean.
Duty challenges us to support and defend the rights of those who are still struggling for self-determination in the Caribbean and in Africa.
This should be high on our agenda. We should strengthen South South co-operation and work together among ourselves to make our world a better place.

For the African Renaissance to become a reality, we must do what needs to be done ourselves. Nobody will do it for us.
Accordingly, we are determined to send a message of hope to the African continent and the Caribbean that through unity in action, our historic mission must and will succeed.

If we started seriously co-operating among ourselves and between ourselves, our partners will interpret us and understand that we are determined to develop our regions and that we need partners for development.

Otherwise they will treat us as inferior and stick to the donor-beggar paradigm. We cannot afford for this to happen.
The young Rastafarian artists last night reminded us of the past glory of Africa and they asserted correctly that we must not be slaves from the cradle to the grave.

It remains for me to thank all of you for your participation in this Conference. We accordingly apologise for the mistakes and omissions made in the course of the Conference– and commit ourselves to improving on this in the future.
We shall depart the Caribbean and the land of Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley with fond memories, inspired and knowing full well, that we are connected forever.

We would like to invite you to Africa and South Africa in two years time.

I thank you.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
P/Bag X152
19 March 2005