Statement by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on international developments, 08 July 2014, OR Tambo Building, Pretoria
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the media.
In this briefing today, we would like to share information with you regarding our work, including our preparations for the Sixth BRICS Summit; the outcomes of the Joint Ministerial Meeting of the SADC/ICGLR; and reflect on recent developments in Kenya and Somalia.
1. Preparation for the Sixth BRICS Summit
As we are about to leave for Brazil, forming part of His Excellency President Jacob Zuma’s delegation to the Sixth BRICS Summit, it is worth reminding members of the media and South Africans in general that South Africa joined BRICS with three objectives in mind, namely:
- to advance our national interests as outlined in the President’s recent State of the Nation Address;
- to promote our regional integration programme and related continental infrastructure programmes; and
- to partner with key players of the South on issues related to global governance and its reform.
The forthcoming Summit will be the first to be hosted in the second cycle of BRICS Summits and provides an opportune moment to reflect on the priority areas for cooperation. Since its first Summit in 2009, BRICS has consolidated its position as a positive force for the democratisation of international relations and for the enhancement of existing institutions of international governance. It has also forged an impressive partnership carrying out cooperation initiatives in more than 30 areas between its members.
It is worth noting that the South African Government has fully implemented the eThekwini Action Plan and will present a Hand-over report on sectoral cooperation during its tenure as BRICS Chairperson. The report highlights the progress made by South Africa during its tenure as Chair of BRICS in relation to the high-level meetings of BRICS Leaders chaired by President Jacob Zuma and Ministerial of BRICS Foreign Affairs Ministers which I chaired.
Other key BRICS Ministerial meetings hosted and chaired by South Africa include, inter alia, the BRICS National Security Advisors, Ministers responsible for Trade, Finance, Agriculture and Agrarian Affairs, Education, Health, Social Security, and Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).
During South Africa’s tenure as Chair, substantive progress was achieved in anchoring the new BRICS mechanisms that were launched at the Fifth BRICS Summit, i.e. the BRICS Business Council as well as the BRICS Think Tanks Council and reports will be submitted to the BRICS Leaders on the work undertaken by these structures.
Brazil as the host and incoming Chair has identified that the theme of the Summit will be "BRICS: Inclusive growth, Sustainable solutions".
Among other topics, the Leaders will discuss issues regarding global governance and peace and security as well as the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) and the receive reports on progress towards the establishment of the BIRCS led New Development Bank (NDB).
The CRA is an additional line of defence available to the BRICS countries in scenarios of Balance of Payments' difficulties.
The issue of the venue or domicile for the BRICS led Development Bank is on the agenda for discussion. The BRICS Leaders indicated at their last meeting held in St Petersburg in September 2013 on the margins of the G20 Summit that they expected tangible results by the time of this Summit. We are confident that the Leaders will not be disappointed. Our Finance Ministers will meet the day prior to the Summit to finalise recommendations to the Leaders in this regard. The Development bank will finance, amongst other things, infrastructure and sustainable development projects.
2. Joint SADC/ICGLR Ministerial Meeting
South Africa participated in the Joint SADC-ICGLR Ministers' Meeting, which took place on 01-02 July 2014 in Luanda, Republic of Angola. The purpose of the Meeting was to consider the political and security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), especially in the eastern part of the country, following the defeat of the M23 and the beginning of a process of voluntary disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
The meeting forms part of a process agreed to during the first and historic Joint Summit of the SADC and ICGLR held in November 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa. The political and security situation in the eastern DRC is the principal reason why the SADC and ICGLR held their historic, first joint Summit in Pretoria, with a view to bring about long-lasting peace and stability in the DRC in particular and the Great Lakes Region in general.
The Ministerial Meeting in Angola made a number of recommendations to the Heads of State and Government of the SADC and ICGLR, which include the following, amongst others:
- Enhance the established mechanism for evaluation and implementation of DDRRR for those willing to disarm and be repatriated to Rwanda involving UN, AU, ICGLR, SADC, Rwanda and DRC;
- Voluntary surrender and disarmament which must be done within the timeframe of six months from 2nd July 2014 with verifiable review after three months;
- Demand the FDLR to fully surrender within the given timeframe and also making them aware of military consequences of failure to comply with the agreed timeframe.
South Africa welcomes the steps undertaken by the government of the DRC since the defeat of the M23 to implement the commitments it made since the signing of the Nairobi Declaration and Communiqué, to facilitate and to accelerate the definitive demobilisation of the M23, which includes urgently addressing the issue of amnesty and their eventual reintegration.
Developments in Kenya and Somalia
In conclusion, we would like to reflect on the recent developments in Kenya and Somalia.
A key component of South Africa’s foreign policy for Africa is support for the establishment of peace and political stability in order to create the foundations for democracy as a necessary prerequisite for sustainable social and economic development. The recent attacks in Kenya are therefore diametrically opposed to our vision and our efforts for peace and political stability in East Africa and the wider African community.
The Kenyan Government has shown renewed determination not to let terrorism deter them from having peace in their country, nor from supporting democracy, development, peace and security for their neighbourhood.
In this regard, the South African Government will continue to express its strong condemnation of all forms and manner of terrorism. Furthermore, we will continue to support the efforts of the Kenyan Government in promoting national harmony and national reconciliation, as South Africa is of the view that political stability, reconciliation, democracy, nation-building, good governance and socio-economic development are crucial to lasting peace in the East African region.
Regarding Somalia, over the last number of years South Africa has invested in efforts to support democracy and peace initiatives as well as post-conflict reconstruction and development in Somalia.
South Africa remains determined to work with our partners worldwide, and specifically in Africa, to improve our continent, to create a more peaceful, democratic, politically stable, well governed and economically vibrant place for all its people. In this regard South Africa will continue to support all efforts that enable Somalia to find lasting solutions to its many challenges through the provision of capacity- and institution building, socio-economic support, and specified training in key government sectors.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road