Media Statement

16 September 2016

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane reiterates calls for Palestinian and Western Saharawi freedom

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane delivered a statement at the ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Margarita, Venezuela, on 16 September 2016, reiterating South Africa's solidarity with the people of Palestine and Western Sahara as they continue their struggles for independence and freedom.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said: "The cause of Palestinian statehood has become our own. As the first president of our non-racist, non-sexist and free South Africa, President Nelson Mandela, said: 'South Africa will not be free as long as Palestine is not free'. The illegal settlement activity and daily violations of human rights of the Palestinians cannot be ignored."

The Minister called on fellow NAM member states not to be indifferent to the plight of those appealing for decolonization, independence, statehood and human rights. "The cause of the people of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic remains unresolved. Surely the aspirations of an inalienable right for self-determination is not an unreasonable demand".

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane also reiterated South Africa's calls for the reform of global political and financial institutions, saying their undemocratic nature perpetuates inequality and violates the principle of the sovereignty and equality of nations. "Therefore, the principle of solidarity amount the countries of the south remains the only means towards countering these imbalances between nations."

Venezuela is hosting the 17th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the NAM under the theme “Peace, Sovereignty and Solidarity."

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, 082 884 5974

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