Media Statement by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation on developments in the international relations field, 22 October 2012

1. SA-DRC Bi-National Commission

President Jacob Zuma will on 23 October 2012 host His Excellency President Joseph Kabila Kabange of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on the occasion of the 8th Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) between South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 8th SA/DRC BNC is preceded by a ministerial meeting held on 22 October 2012.

At the opening of the Ministerial Meeting on Monday, 22 October, South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said cooperation between South Africa and the DRC was visible through a number of bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding. “We have about 30 signed agreements and memoranda of understanding between our sister countries.  These agreements and memoranda of understanding have paved the way for the initiation of various projects.”

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane added: “We recognise commendable progress in the Public Service Census Project which is almost complete as only four of the eleven provinces are yet to be done. This project has helped the Government of the DRC to weed out ghost workers. In this regard, we believe that financial resources have been saved, thanks to this Project. This is a great achievement!”

2. The situation in Mali

South Africa is concerned about the political instability in Mali, especially in the Northern region, where rebel movements have seized the territory from the central government.

In this regard, South Africa expresses its regret about the reported violation of human rights and the deteriorating humanitarian situation resulting from the recent annexation of part of Mali’s territory, compounded by the drought and recent floods across the Sahel region.

South Africa remains committed to the resolution of conflict through peaceful means. South Africa is also a strong supporter of a rules-based multilateral system and, in this regard, South Africa will abide by all resolutions and decisions taken by relevant international institutions, including the African Union and the United Nations Security Council.

The South African Government will continue to urge all role-players in Mali to double their efforts towards achieving a peaceful resolution of this conflict, within the established national and international legal instruments such as the invaluable sovereignty and territorial integrity of Mali.

South Africa also encourages the Transitional Government of Mali to return to democratic governance within the framework of its national constitution within the stipulated timeframe.

3. Preparations for the COP18/CMP8 climate change conference

The Republic of Korea and the State of Qatar will jointly host the Pre-COP in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from today, 22 to 23 October 2012, in preparation for the COP18/CMP8 UN Climate Change Conference, which will take place in Qatar, Doha, from 26 November to 07 December 2012.

The outcome in Doha needs to give a clear message that actions are being taken to move forward in implementing the Durban Outcome in a balanced way. South Africa will participate in the meeting as one of the state parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

At the historic COP17/CMP7, which was held in Durban, South Africa, at the end of 2011, the Parties to the UNFCCC agreed to a package of decisions, anchored in the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action. In this Durban package, the Parties agreed to finalise the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action and unanimously agreed to an amendment of the Kyoto Protocol, which established a second commitment period.

The package of decisions agreed to in Durban constitutes a delicate balance which needs to be safeguarded. It is vital that the Durban outcomes are not reopened and that they do not unravel. This is a position that South Africa has been strongly pursuing in the different negotiating sessions and informal consultations between the two conferences.

As the Parties agreed to in Durban, South Africa will strive to ensure that the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action delivers on its mandate and implements all the outstanding matters from Bali and Cancun, finalising its work in Doha. Outstanding issues of implementation for both mitigation and adaptation cannot be ignored as well as secure a predictable support for developing countries, including scaled up finance. Parties also need to decide how to deal with the “unresolved issues” and which body within the UNFCCC will take the work forward.

The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action needs to adopt at Doha a plan of work to enhance ambition, not only in mitigation but also in adaptation and in the means of implementation.  We also need to discuss the design of the new instrument to be negotiated by 2015 and come into effect by 2020. South Africa is of the view that the principles of the Convention, namely common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and equity will be the cornerstone of the new instrument.

South Africa also pledges its support to the incoming COP18/CMP8 President, Qatar both in our capacity as COP17/CMP7 President as well as a party to the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol.

Over the past two years, a lot of work has gone into ensuring that mutual trust and transparency in the multilateral process, and in the UNFCCC negotiations, is restored. The conference in Doha must ensure that this continues.

4. BRICS Summit, march 2013

Last week we announced that preparations were well underway for South Africa to host the 5thBRICS Summit on 26-27 March 2013.

The Summit will take place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban, eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal Province.

As you know, it is the first time that BRICS will be hosted on the African continent.

South Africa has a direct interest in extending BRICS cooperation to support Africa's development agenda, particularly by increasing financial aid to build infrastructure and industrial capacity, and increasing imports of value-added manufactured products from the continent.

The expansion of South Africa’s trade and direct investment with the countries of the South, notably the BRIC countries, continues apace, with China and India at the forefront. South Africa’s trade with the BRIC countries have increased to 18,6% in 2011.

The BRICS website http://www.brics5.co.za/ has been operational since the beginning of October.

5. Upcoming events

At the end of this month (28-30 October 2012), Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will host her Zimbabwean counterpart, Minister Mumbengegwi, for the Fourth Session of the Joint Commission for Cooperation between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

For further information, please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, on +27 82 884 5974

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

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