Advantages for Africa after Meetings by France and China with African Countries and Mediation Mission of South Africa in the Ivory Coast

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

 FOR ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NO: 66

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 26 OF 14 AUGUST 2007

 MR J M SIBIYA TO ASK THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS:

 (1)              Of what advantage to Africa are the meetings that China and France have held with African countries:

(2)             Whether, with reference to the request to South Africa, through the President, at the previous summit of the African Union (AU) at Addis Ababa to return to the Ivory Coast on a mediation mission, South Africa is likely to return there; if not, why not; if so, what implications will this have on our role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council? CO324E

 REPLY:

 (1)              The two meetings referred to are part of our strategic objectives to consolidate South- South relations and North-South relations. The FOCAC Summit in Beijing, was very important and successful. China and Africa adopted a sector-specific Beijing Action Plan, which amongst other decisions committed China to double development assistance to Africa, to provide preferential credit to Africa of US$ 5billion development fund, to open up the Chinese market to products from Africa by removing tariffs, to assist with the training of African professionals through scholarships and the building of schools and technology centres in Africa, and assist with the fight against infectious diseases through development of African Health Infrastructure. It is important to note that China-African relations will be conducted in the context of Africa’s development programme – NEPAD.

The Africa-France Forum is a structure that initially brought together France and French-speaking African countries. It was later extended to include non-French speaking African countries. It is a Forum to discuss political, economic and social issues. African countries have used this Forum to raise issues such as under-development, migration, failure to successfully conclude the Doha Round of the WTO talks, African conflicts and post conflict reconstruction. The last Forum meeting adopted a policy declaration aimed at ensuring the implementation of innovative financing mechanisms to raise funds for development as well as mechanisms to assist African countries achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

(2)             Burkina Faso is the current mediator as mandated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and endorsed by the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN). Therefore, there is no need for South Africa to return to the mediation. South Africa will continue to support the efforts of the present Mediator. Bilaterally South Africa is continuing to build stronger relations with the government and people of Cote d’Ivoire.

 The previous mediation role of President Mbeki has been expressly acknowledged by both President Gbagbo and Prime Minister Soro and President Mbeki was invited to attend the Peace Flame Ceremony in Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire, on 30 July 2007. During this ceremony, attended by both President Gbagbo and Prime Minister Soro, weapons were destroyed marking the symbolic start of disarmament. A Brigade of the 37 th battalion was named after President Mbeki.

Our not being part of the mediation will not have any implications on our role as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. South Africa will continue to use its role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council to promote lasting peace, stability and prosperity in the Cote d’Ivoire.



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