Minister Dlamini Zuma concludes Visit to Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) ahead of Visit to Sao Tome Principe

Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on Thursday 7 April 2005 concluded the first high-level visit by a South African Minister to the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) since official recognition by the South African government on 15 September 2004.

During the visit Minister Dlamini Zuma held political and economic bilateral discussions with her counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation, Ould Salek, Prime Minister Taleb Omar and other high-ranking officials of SADR.

During bilateral discussions both Ministers agreed to explore areas of co-operation with a specific focus on the building of capacity of Saharawi refugees. Both Ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the provision of humanitarian aid to the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria. In this regard South African humanitarian assistance to the Saharawi's will focus on basic nutrition, health and water, and sanitation solutions.

During discussions Minister Dlamini Zuma was briefed by the SADR delegation of developments on the situation in the Western Sahara following the adoption of Resolution 1495 by the United Nations Security Council in July 2004.

Minister Dlamini Zuma also reaffirmed South Africa's support for the principle of self-determination as a cardinal and inviolable right and principle enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Within this context she reiterated South Africa's support for the right of the Saharawi's to determine their future within the context of existing UN resolutions.

In addition, Minister Dlamini Zuma was provided with an opportunity to familiarize herself with the conditions in the refugee camps.

On conclusions of discussions with her counterpart Minister Dlamini Zuma paid a courtesy call on President Mohamed Abdelaziz during which she conveyed the message of solidarity and support from President Thabo Mbeki.

In honour of her steadfast support for the values of justice, equality and fairness, and her contribution to freedom and the realization of the right to self-determination, President Abdelaziz presented Minister Dlamini Zuma with the Medal of May 20. Minister Dlamini Zuma is the first recipient of this high honour by the Polisario Front.

VISIT TO SAO TOME & PRINCIPE

Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will today, Friday - 8 April 2005 proceed to Sao Tome and Principe on the last leg of her three-nation West African visit.

The three-nation African visit comes in the context of South Africa's overall objective of working for the renewal of Africa and the creation of a better world.

During the visit to Sao Tome Principe, Minister Dlamini Zuma is expected to hold bilateral political and economic discussions with her counterpart Minister of Foreign Affairs, Co-operation and Communities, Dr Ovidio Manuel Barbosa Pequeno. Discussions are aimed at building strong, vibrant and strategic bilateral relations with sister African countries.

Minister Dlamini Zuma is also expected to pay a courtesy call on President Fradique de Menezes and Prime Minister Damiao Vaz d'Almeida.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853.

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

8 April 2005


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