Media Statement

12 October 2014

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane concludes visit to the Arab Republic of Egypt

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane concluded her visit to Cairo in the Arab Republic of Egypt, where she represented the South African Government today in the International Donors’ Conference on Palestine, entitled “Reconstructing Gaza.”

The Governments of Egypt and Norway, together with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, hosted the conference, which was aimed at securing financial pledges and other contributions required for reconstructing the Gaza Strip, following the Israeli bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza from 08 July to 26 August 2014, which resulted in large-scale human suffering, displacement and unprecedented material destruction in Gaza.

Over sixty (60) countries participated in the conference, including a number of regional and international organisations.

During the Ministerial segment of the conference, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane stated that South Africa remains committed to the aspirations of the Palestinian people in their struggle to achieve freedom and independence.

“The people of Palestine are looking to the international community to assist them to rebuild their infrastructure and create an amenable environment that would lead to a permanent and peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” said the Minister.

The Minister announced that at the height of the recent attack on Gaza, President Jacob Zuma pledged USD 1 million towards humanitarian assistance and further appointed Special Envoys to give impetus to the political track of this protracted political conflict.

South Africa was among the countries at the conference that called on Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza, so that much-needed humanitarian assistance and the rebuilding of Gaza could be undertaken without hindrance.

 “We are pleased that the Palestinians and Israelis have concluded a ceasefire agreement and we are hopeful that the ongoing negotiations would lead to a permanent resolution of the conflict,” said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.

In this regard, the Minister reiterated that South Africa stands ready to be of assistance if called upon to share its experiences on national reconciliation, nation- building, constitution-building and post-conflict reconstruction and development.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane held bilateral talks on the side-lines of the conference with her counterparts from Sweden, Algeria, Norway, Lebanon and Egypt. During these talks, both sides shared their views on the Middle East peace process and on current regional and international developments, and reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening bilateral relations.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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