Address by Minister Dlamini Zuma, Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Conference at the 8th Summit of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Khartourm, Sudan 23 November 2000

President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, Chairperson of the 8th IGAD Summit,

Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,

Dr Atalia Hamad Bashir, Executive Secretary of IGAD,

Dr Tekestc Ghebray, former Executive Secretary of IGAD,

Dr M Laraki, Secretary General of the OIC,

Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary General of the OAU,

Dr Erastus Mwencha, Secretary General of COMESA,

Distinguished Delegates and Guests,

Firstly, allow me to express my sincere thanks to His Excellency, President Omar al-Bashir and his government for the warmth with which they received us, as well as our gratitude for being afforded the opportunity to address this August gathering.

As the Non-Aligned Movement stands for multilateral co-operation it would have been difficult for South Africa as the present NAM Chair to ignore the invitation from the host of this IGAD Summit.

Solidarity and co-operation amongst NAM countries ensure the strength of our voice as developing countries on international matters.

As we stand at the dawn of the new millennium and a new century, there are major challenges ahead that demand our strength, wisdom and tenacity.

The challenges facing NAM in general and African countries in particular have to do with the effects of globalisation, the continuing trans-national conflicts and national wars, underdevelopment and poverty alleviation, the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other preventable diseases, and the debt burden, to mention only a few.

Globalisation means that none of us can be able to stand-alone politically, economically, scientifically or otherwise. We have to work together to ensure our continent does not continue to be marginalized. The digital gap between the developed countries and us has to be closed. Underdevelopment and poverty have to be eliminated.

Preventable diseases and HIV/AIDS have to be fought and the debt burden has to be eliminated.

The challenges of human resource development and the emancipation of women can no longer be ignored.

This means that children should be allowed to grow as children, they have to enjoy security, they have to be spared the hunger, homelessness and should have a right to education and health. They should play and dream about the future. They should receive love, compassion and protection from adults and society. They should be skilled so as to cope with the scientific, economic and technological demands of the 21st century.

Women are an integral part of society, they are more than half the population of the world and of course they produce the other half as well. They have unique and complimentary qualities to those of men and therefore need to participate in dealing with the above challenges.

If our continent marginalizes women it will forever operate at half capacity and will never reach its full potential.

The countries are working together. We are witnessing Western Europe building a fortress around itself and of course the fortress mentality breeds racism and intolerance.

We need to produce enough food for our populations and use our mineral and natural resources for the benefit of our peoples.

The challenges of moving from primary products to manufacturing cannot be escaped.

As we strengthen our economic blocks and open free trade areas we must have goods to trade.

Protection of our environment and our planet for future generations is a responsibility that lies squarely on us.

The Founding Fathers of our organisation, the OAU, liberated us from slavery and colonial oppression and championed the cause of unity.

Can we honestly and boldly say that we have been true to their vision or have betrayed the values they held so clearly?

They were prepared to live with the colonial borders imperfect as they were because they were trying to avoid conflict between and amongst us.

Can we say we are ready to confront these problems and face this challenge head on? Can we take on these responsibilities when we are still engrossed in trans-national and internal conflicts?

Peace, stability and security unfortunately are the prerequisites for development, poverty eradication and all the other important tasks I have mentioned. Of course the IGAD countries have had more than their fair share of conflict - Ethiopia and Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

That is why we welcome the peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea and indeed hope and pray that, that conflict is truly behind us.

The efforts that IGAD and Djibouti have made to re-establish the state of Somalia are commendable. We are mindful of the fact that it is still not totally inclusive but it is a step in the right direction and needs to be encouraged whilst urging that interim government to keep trying to bring everybody on board.

On the question of Sudan we indeed lament the fact this conflict has gone on for so many decades causing misery and strife to innocent people, that it has led to the marginalisation of sections of the population especially in the South even though not exclusively so. It has divided the Muslims and Non Muslims.

We appreciate the efforts of President Arap Moi of Kenya in leading the IGAD process and all those who have contributed in the efforts to reach a peaceful resolution.

It is our belief that if there is political will to find a solution, indeed a solution will be found.

We would like to encourage all concerned in Sudan particularly the government to take comfort in the fact that if the apartheid conflict in South Africa could be solved so can the problems in Sudan. I am aware that the situations are not identical but there are lots of similarities.

Our religious, cultural, linguistic and racial diversity are examples of that. That we are now trying to find unity in diversity and in fact that diversity in many ways is proving to be a strength.

As apartheid was not fought by South Africans alone, it is important to acknowledge that we all have a collective responsibility to act in solidarity in trying to find a solution working with and complimenting the IGAD process.

I could not help feel pain deep in my heart as I saw lots of young Sudanese going to the US. I hope they will return.

It is indeed our obligation to make sure that Sudan is able to take its rightful place in the continent and the world. It is an important and largest country of our continent.

On behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement I wish you a very successful 8th Summit.

I thank you.

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