Comments from Press Conference on conclusion of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) SA, Cuba, Malaysia Troika Ministerial Meeting, Hermanus, Western Cape, Friday, 27 January 2006

Comments by Chair of NAM, Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar

  • Thank you members of the media for attending this press conference on conclusion of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Troika Ministerial meeting.

  • Members of the Troika (South Africa, Cuba and Malaysia) met yesterday where we completed our discussions.

  • The objective of this meeting was to discuss preparations for the 14th Heads of State meeting to be held in Havana, Cuba from 11-16 September 2006 and the meeting of the Co-ordinating Bureau (CoB) to be held in Malaysia 30-31 May 2006.

  • We also exchanged views with regard to substantive issues that will ensure both meetings proceed efficiently and smoothly.

  • In this regard, we also discussed the methodology of the NAM and the decision-making processes.

  • We all agreed that the final document emanating from the Summit must be concise and succinct highlighting issues of relevance.

  • We also looked at the role of the NAM in handling issues of international importance, including United Nations reform and disarmament.

  • We also agreed to look at ways of enhancing the working relationship between the NAM and the G-77.

Questions and Answers

Question Minister Albar, as the Chair of NAM, would you please tell us if the NAM countries have reached consensus with regard to the Iranian nuclear issue?

Answer (Minister Syed Albar) This was a meeting of the Troika that was intended to discuss preparations for the forthcoming NAM Ministerial meeting and Summit so that we could ensure that all preparations would run smoothly and efficiently.

We did not therefore discuss any issues that were not related to the agenda.

Question Minister, regarding the reform of the United Nations and disarmament - what were the specific issues with regard to disarmament?

Answer (Minister Syed Albar) The NAM has a longstanding position on this matter - the NAM ultimately supports global denuclearisation. The NAM does not however object to the use of nuclear technology for civilian purposes.

Question On what levels are South Africa and Cuba co-operation in terms of skills transfer?

Answer (Minister Perez Roque) South Africa and Cuba have been co-operating on many levels for at least 10 years. We have a permanent commission for co-operation (JBC) between both countries that meets annually and discusses bilateral co-operation. We also have a mechanism that looks at bilateral political dialogue between both countries. In this regard, our co-operation is very strong.

There are more than 120 doctors working in South Africa.

We are investigating technology transfer - Cuban companies are working with South African companies in order develop a vaccine that would prevent hepatitis.

More than 500 South African students are studying medicine in Cuba.

The Cuban co-operation with South Africa is part of our co-operation in Africa. In this regard, more than 3000 Cuban doctors are working in 20 African countries.

Question What steps will the NAM take to revitalize the organization?

Answer (Minister Dlamini Zuma) The first thing is to ensure that the NAM is engaged in all international processes - for example, in the United Nations, we have to ensure we are part of all discussions on the Human Rights Council - it is important that the NAM makes its voice heard.

Countries of the South must not be marginalized in terms of international processes.

We are also looking at closer co-operation with the G-77 - there is a mechanism to facilitate this although it has not been very active up to now. Positions must be co-ordinated so that we can make an impact as countries of the South.

Co-operation within NAM is going well - for example - we currently co-operate very strongly on areas of health matters. Cuba is currently involved in some trilateral projects in Africa - i.e. Cuba-South Africa-Mali and Cuba-South Africa - Rwanda. This constitutes co-operation in terms of achieving the agenda of the South.

It is co-operation like this that will revitalize the NAM.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

27 January 2006

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