Deputy Foreign Minister Azia Pahad Concludes Visit to Malaysia

Putrajaya - Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad who is currently leading a senior South African government delegation to the Ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Co-Ordinating Bureau (NAM CoB) in Putrajaya will later today Tuesday 30 May 2006 conclude his visit to Malaysia.

The Ministerial meeting began on Monday, 29 May 2006 and is scheduled to conclude today Tuesday, 30 May 2006.

While in Malaysia, Deputy Minister Pahad also chaired the Group of 77 + China (G-77 + China) Special Ministerial Meeting and led the delegation to the NAM Committee on Palestine meeting and meeting of the NAM Troika (Malaysia, South Africa and Cuba) and Former Chairs of the Movement.

Deputy Minister Pahad also held several meetings with Heads of various delegations focusing on the ongoing revitalisation of the Movement, the comprehensive reform of the United Nations, and the enhanced co-ordination of the NAM also within the newly established United Nations mechanisms, viz. the Human Rights Council and the Peace Building Commission.

Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Co-ordinating Bureau (NAM CoB)

Ministerial Meetings of the Co-ordinating Bureau of NAM are convened to prepare for forthcoming Summits. In this regard the Putrajaya meeting focused on preparations for the forthcoming XIV NAM Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held in Havana, Cuba in September 2006.

Ministerial meetings of the CoB also discuss urgent matters relating to the international agenda. The Ministers therefore deliberated extensively on the current debate on UN Reform and the role of the NAM in this respect.

The need for solidarity and unity has been emphasized by all and members were urged to develop ways of enhancing the solidarity of the Movement in particular and South-South co-operation in general.

In the light of the current critical situation in the Middle East Ministers expressed their deep regret that the Palestinian people continue to suffer. The Ministers stressed the need for the speedy realization of the inalienable and national rights of the Palestinian people to live side-by-side with Israel within secure borders.

The Ministers further stressed the deepening economic, social and humanitarian crisis and isolation in the Gaza Strip gravely threaten the prospects for achieving a negotiated settlement based on the two state solution. The Ministers therefore also reiterated their hope that the international community and the Quartet will exert all efforts to revive the peace process and to salvage the Roadmap and to promote its implementation.

In a statement on nuclear issues the Ministers reiterated, "the NAM principled positions on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. They reaffirmed the basic and inalienable right of all states, to develop research, production, and the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, without any discrimination and in conformity with their respective legal obligations."

The Ministers also recognized the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the sole competent authority for verification of the respective safeguards obligations of member states and stressed that there should be no undue pressure or interference in the Agency's activities, especially its verification process, which would jeopardize the efficiency and credibility of the Agency.

In respect of Iran's nuclear issue, the Ministers welcomed the co-operation extended by Iran to the IAEA with a view to resolving the remaining issues while noting at the same time that the process for drawing a conclusion with regard to the absence of undeclared material and activities in Iran is an ongoing and time consuming process. In this regard the Ministers, "encouraged Iran to urgently continue to co-operate actively and fully with the IAEA within the Agency's mandate to resolve outstanding issues in order to promote confidence and a peaceful resolution of the issue."

Group of 77 + China

The G-77 + China Ministerial meeting, with the primary focus on strengthening South-South co-operation in the interests of achieving the developmental agenda of the South, was chaired by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad on Monday 29 May 2006.

The meeting reviewed developments in the follow up to the 2005 United Nations World Summit Outcome in the areas of United Nations System Wide Coherence, Management and Secretariat Reform, Mandate Review and on providing predictable financial resources to the United Nations.

In this regard, the meeting stressed that it is increasingly imperative that the Group 77 + China and the Non-Aligned Movement work together to promote the interests and developmental agenda of the South through the defence of the multilateral system; the fight against poverty and underdevelopment; maintain peace and stability; and restructure the global exercise of economic and political power.

The G-77 + China reaffirmed that the proposals to reform the United Nations by Secretary-General Kofi Annan should be meaningful, strengthen the ability of the Organization to implement its mandates effectively and enable it to serve the interests of the collective membership. A stronger United Nations that responds more effectively to our collective needs is in the interests of the developmental agenda of the South.

The Ministerial meeting of the G-77 + China also urged that further research into the reform into of the United Nations should investigate the factors hindering the developing countries from achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In this regard, it is clear that many sub-Saharan African countries will not achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

In addition, the meeting reiterated that United Nations should continue to have a holistic and comprehensive approach towards development addressing areas such as trade, finance and macro-economic policy.

The meeting also urged the United Nations to mobilize the highest political commitment, and to provide policy directions and guidance to the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization and other relevant organizations and institutions that have an impact in the development of many countries. Key to promoting good governance at the international level would be the active voice and effective participation by developing countries in the international decision-making processes, in particular the Bretton Woods Institutions, which is central to promoting the legitimacy, relevance and effectiveness of the international financial system and international financial institutions.

Furthermore, the Group of 77 and China reiterated its commitment to the implementation of all the outcomes of all the major UN conferences and summits, including the 2005 World Summit Outcome and attaches high importance to the full implementation of commitments, in particular those in the economic, social and related fields. In this regard the Group expressed concern at the slow progress in the implementation of the 2005 World Summit Outcome decisions, in particular those regarding development and the strengthening of the UN Economic and Social Council.

On management reforms of the United Nations, the meeting stressed the importance of ensuring that the Secretariat meets the highest standards of accountability, transparency, integrity and ethical conduct and therefore urged the Secretary-General as a matter of priority to define accountability, establish clear accountability mechanisms to the General Assembly, and propose parameters for the application of accountability and instruments for its rigorous enforcement.

Official visit to the Peoples Republic of China

Deputy Minister Pahad will depart from Malaysia on Tuesday 30 May 2006 ahead of his official visit to China scheduled from Wednesday - Monday, 31 May - 5 June 2006. Deputy Minister Pahad will visit Beijing and Shanghai.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

30 May 2006

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