Discussions between Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her counterparts in Brussels regarding the European Union’s decision not to grant South Africa a waiver and to prevent insurance companies from underwriting Iranian shipments

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 3295 (NW4175E)

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 42 OF 23 NOVEMBER 2012

Mr L S Ngonyama (Cope) to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation:

Whether she had discussions with her counterparts in Brussels regarding the European Union’s decision (a) not to grant South Africa a waiver and (b) to prevent insurance companies from underwriting Iranian shipments; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so what are the relevant details? NW4175E

REPLY:

Both matters indicated above were discussed telephonically with the European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Catherine Ashton, in July 2012, followed by an exchange of letters on the matter.  The matter was also discussed between the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and the EU High Representative at the South Africa-EU Ministerial Political Dialogue held in Pretoria on 24 August 2012.

The EU sanctions against Iran were imposed in concurrence with similar sanctions imposed by the USA.  Under the USA oil sanctions, provision is made for exceptions to be granted, provided future imports of oil reflect a gradual reduction in such imports. These exceptions are granted for a period of six months, after which a further application for an exception can be considered.  However, the EU sanctions do not have a similar exception and hence the engagement with the EU. 

During the South Africa-EU Ministerial Political Dialogue on 24 August 2012 it was agreed between Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and Baroness Ashton that a Task Team of South African officials travel to Brussels to engage with the relevant EU officials on the problems arising from the application of EU sanctions against Iran.  This visit took place on 16 and 17 October 2012, comprising officials from the Departments of International Relations and Cooperation, Energy and National Treasury.  The discussions between South Africa and the EU are continuing.  We are hopeful that a solution that is mutually beneficial to our relations will be found.

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