South Africa's Relations with Equatorial Guinea

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY


FOR ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NO 08 - TRANSFER OF WRITTEN QUESTION NO 383 -

PUBLISHED IN THE INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 8 of 06 AUGUST 2004

QUESTION TIME: 08 SEPTEMBER 2004


MR DHM GIBSON (DA) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS:

(1) In light of the 2004 Amnesty International Report highlighting the use of torture to extract confessions, the detention of political opponents without charge or trial and the terminally flawed nature of the Equatorial Guinean elections, why did the Government choose to strengthen ties with a country with this record;

(2) whether, in deciding to strengthen ties with Equatorial Guinea, the Government gave consideration to condemning the government of Equatorial Guinea for its poor human rights record and attempting to pressure that country into reforms; if not, why was no consideration given to this course of action in light of South Africa's commitment to the promotion of human rights in Africa; if so, what were the reasons for deciding not to condemn Equatorial Guinea's human rights record and press for reforms in that country;

(3) whether the strengthening of diplomatic ties with Equatorial Guinea will serve to promote South Africa's commitment to the NEPAD principles of good economic and political governance; if not, what constructive role does South Africa hope to play in that country by strengthening diplomatic ties; if so, (a) how will the success of this effort be measured and (b) what timetable is being used to measure success of failure in this regard? N453E


REPLY:

(1) We have decided to strengthen ties with all countries in our continent. We
can only share our values by talking and engaging and not by distancing ourselves.

(2) More can be achieved by closer co-operation with countries than by condemning their faults and weaknesses through the media. The Department of Foreign Affairs remains committed to the promotion of human rights. It is necessary to work with governments on our continent, and the AU.

Already, the Government of Equatorial Guinea has requested the assistance of South Africa in ensuring that justice is not only done, but seen to be done in the trial of those accused of plotting to overthrow the Government of Equatorial Guinea. The South African Government believes it has a responsibility to assist in ensuring that their processes meet international standards.

(3) The Government of Equatorial Guinea has already indicated its desire to
become more involved in NEPAD and South Africa has been requested to assist in this regard. It is expected that a team from the NEPAD secretariat and the Department of Foreign Affairs will travel to Malabo to assist Equatorial Guinea in mapping out a programme for this country to become compliant with the practices and principles of the NEPAD.

(a) The challenge for South Africa is to see all African countries embracing
the NEPAD process and move towards the ideals of transparency, good
governance and a greater respect for human rights.
(b) It would be unrealistic to put a time-frame on this process. Success could better be measured in terms of a progression or continuum towards full compliance with the ideals of the NEPAD.

END



 

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