Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad's Speaking Notes at Press Briefing Regarding Visit to Egypt, Israel and Kuwait, 9 - 17 February 2004, Rainforest Room, 120 Plein Street, Cape Town


My delegation and myself will leave South Africa on the 8th of February and return on the 18th. I will be visiting Palestine, Egypt and Kuwait. Unfortunately the visit to Israel has been postponed because the Israeli Foreign Minister and the DG of Foreign Affairs will not be available.

During our visit to the region we will discuss bilateral and multilateral issues.

Multilateral issues

1. Palestine - Israel conflict
Most dangerous situation. Since the continuing impasse in the implementation of the road map there has been an unprecedented resurgence of violence.

1.1 Separation wall
This unilateral action incorporates substantial areas of the occupied Palestinian territory, especially the West Bank and East Jerusalem, into Israeli territory. According to the report of the UNSG (Dec 2003), the construction has resulted in the confiscation and has had a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of Palestinians.

Following the United Nations General Assembly resolution on the separation wall. The SG reported on the separation wall.

"In keeping with the request of the General Assembly in resolution ES10/13, I have concluded that Israel is not in compliance with the Assembly's demand that it "stop and reverse the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory".

"Israel has repeatedly stated that the Barrier is a temporary measure. However, the scope of construction and the amount of occupied West Bank land that is either being constructed for its route or that will end up between the Barrier and the Green Line are of serious concern and have implication for the future. In the midst of the road map process, when each party should be making good-faith confidence building gestures the Barrier's construction in the West Bank cannot, in this regard, be seen as anything but a deeply counterproductive act. The placing of most of the structure on occupied Palestinian land could impair future negotiations.

I acknowledge and recognise Israel's right and duty to protect its people against terrorist attacks. However, that duty should not be carried out in a way that is in contradiction to international law, that could damage the longer-term prospects for peace by making the creation of an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian State more difficult, or that increases suffering among the Palestinian People."

Following this report the UNGA (8th Dec) requested, on an urgent basis, an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences arising from the construction of the separation wall.

South Africa submitted its written legal opinion to the ICJ last month and is preparing to present its case to the ICJ hearing February 23rd.

1.2 Link to fight against terrorism: without a long lasting solution to the situation in the Middle East, the current conditions will always be used as a pretext for carrying out acts of violence and terrorism. It therefore becomes increasingly important that a long-lasting solution to the situation be found.

1.3 South Africa's perspectives regarding solution: After so many years of bloodshed, dislocation and suffering, it should be clear to all of us, as well as to the parties, that only through a just, comprehensive and lasting peace settlement based on Security Council resolution 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) can the security of both the Palestinians and Israelis be assured. There is wide support in the international community for a two state solution - Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security within secure and recognised borders, as called for but the Security Council resolutions 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003). That support must urgently be marshalled to assist the parties in achieving that end.

2. Geneva Agreement: this civil society initiative should be complementary to the Roadmap for Peace and be implemented with urgency.

Meetings expected in Palestine
a) President Arafat
b) Prime Minister Qurei
c) Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath
d) Negotiations with Minister Erakat
e) Non-governmental people, e.q. architects of Geneva Accord.

3. Developments in Iraq

4. Restructuring of the UN. UNSG Committee on "Threats and Challenges"

5. NAM: Egypt is a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement and continues to play in impressive role in both African and Arab affairs.

6. 50th Anniversary of Afro-Asian solidarity invitation by the Bandung Conference - Afro-Asian Summit

7. WTO talks

8. Terrorism

9. NEPAD: Egypt holds the portfolio for agriculture and market access in the NEPAD Secretariat, and works jointly with South Africa. An Egyptian official has been seconded from Cairo to contribute to the work of the Secretariat based in SA and the RSA-Egyptian partnership in his fields is evolving and becoming more productive.

An agriculture strategy has been developed and focuses on the following issues: a clear strategy to market access, agriculture infrastructure, land resource management and food security.

10. African Conflicts and challenges

11. Extra-ordinary Summit of AU which will address the twin issues of development and establishment and consolidation of peace and security.


Egypt

Egypt is the most populous Arab State (65.2 million: 2001). It plays a pivotal role in the Arab, Africa and international levels.

Egypt focuses increasingly towards ironing out differences amongst the Palestinian oppositions to secure their support in the Road Map initiative.

Egypt also made proposals to strengthen the Arab League (AL) for joint Arab security and greater economic integration. The idea would be for Arabs to solve disputes internally. The proposals include, restructuring the AL along the lines of the European Union, with a Pan Arab Parliament and independent judiciary.

Egypt plays an active role in the OAU and AU. They are members of COMESA, CEN-SAD, hold observer status in the Arab Maghreb Union and have requested membership of SADC. It is a member of the implementation committee of NEPAD and holds the portfolio of agriculture and market access in this body.

The South African Egypt Bilateral Commission is the Only African Commission (excluding North Africa) that has convened regularly. South Africa and Egypt cooperate in various multilateral forums especially in the WTO.

Egypt is South Africa's third largest trading partner in North Africa, after Algeria and Morocco. Trade figures plummeted between 2000 and 2001.

Exports to Egypt 89 701 000 (Jan-April 2003)
Imports from Egypt 15 859 (Jan-April 2003)

Work towards the removal of statutory and non-statutory barriers to trade between our two countries and closer co-operation in fields of agriculture and health. The Egyptians have also proposed a Free Trade Agreement between Egypt and Southern African Custom Union.

Minister of Trade, Boutros Ghali confirmed to visit South Africa from 8-15 February 2004.
The Protea Group of hotels acquired a stake in the Egyptian tourism industry with the acquisition of a number of hotels in Sharm el Sheikh and Cairo.

During the 6th Session of the JBC, held in Pretoria July 2003, a Programme of Action was agreed upon, with the intention of ensuring a forward-looking time bound programme of cooperation. The 7th Session will be held in Cairo later this year. Visit will be to review progress and prepare for 7th Session.

Our delegation is expected to meet with Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher El Sayed, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs - Fayza Aboul Naga, Head of Intelligence Services - Omar Suleiman, Osama Al Baaz - Advisor to President Mubarak, and Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League.

Bilateral Trade Figures

2000
2001
2002
Jan-April 2003
Exports to Egypt
126 494 000
275 039 000
190 819 000
89 701 000
Imports to Egypt
52 312
72 892
109 903
15 859

 

SOUTH AFRICAN EXPORT TO EGYPT BY COMMODITY

Commodity

Value of Goods in 2002 (R 000)

Value of Goods in 2001 (R 000)
Value of Goods Jan-April 2003 (R 000)
Machinery & mechanical equipment
43 732
56 196
56 818
Chemical products
70 822
30 956
122 844
Plastics & articles thereof
12 087
5 173
2 490
Prepared foodstuffs; thereof
9 016
105 056
2 261
Optical, photographic items
4 460
3 898
1 864
Base metals & articles thereof
29 559
39 714
728
Vegetable products
4 039
2 274
577
Vehicles, aircraft, vessels
4 255
5 801
423
Articles of stone, plaster
0
187
387
Miscellaneous manufactured goods
0
1 474
370
Textiles & Textile articles
0
16 025
299
Mineral Products
0
7 089
298
Other unclassified goods
0
202
200
Pulp of wood & other fibres
1 002
483
145
Live animals: animal products
0
169
10
Works of Art, collectors
0
0
7
Wood & Articles of wood
0
68
1
Raw hides & skins, leather
0
60
1
Footwear, headwear & umbrellas
0
213
0
Totals
178 971
275 039
89 724

 

SOUTH AFRICAN IMPORTS FROM EGYPT BY COMMODITY

Commodity
Value of Goods in 2002 (R 000)
Value of Goods in 2001 (R 000)
Value of Goods Jan-April 2003 (R 000)
Machinery & mechanical equipment
27 732
23 447
5 704
Articles of stone, plaster
11 273
6 787
2 627
Mineral Products
0
14 954
1 574
Vegetable products
3 873
1 994
1 252
Optical, photographic items
5 074
991
1 141
Textiles & Textile articles
6 178
4 589
976
Plastics & articles thereof
3 400
3 460
627
Products of chemical
35 797
11 639
571
Miscellaneous manufactured goods
1 674
1 430
461
Base metals & articles thereof
4 402
2 132
366
Vehicles, aircraft, vessels
270
204
313
Prepared foodstuffs; beverages
1 27 1
329
89
Pulp of wood & other fibres
1 459
496
66
Other unclassified goods
615
99
56
Raw hides & skins, leather
132
129
19
Natural or cultured pearls
8
2
2
Wood & Articles of wood
20
13
2
Footwear, headwear & umbrellas
0
103
1
Totals
103 178
72 800
15 847

 

Kuwait (Monday, 16th - Tuesday, 17th February 2004)
Deputy Minister Pahad will, on behalf of the South African government, co-sign a Double Taxation and Protection of Investments Agreement between both countries. The finalisation of these agreements is expected to create the conditions for our bilateral economic relations to be consolidated and expanded.

Year
SA Exprots (ZAR mn)
SA Imports (ZAR mn)
1992
0.450
0.771
1993
6.825
1.384
1994
34.644
249.701
1995
48.018
598.533
1996
106.903
1,645.143
1997
98.576
2,308.816
1998
120.384
2,438.200
1999
138.468
1,045.028
2000
128.366
908.065
2001
128.180
806.368
2002
107.936
192.585
Mar 2002 - Feb 2003
119.635
192.995

South Africa's major exports to Kuwait are organic chemicals, iron and steel products and paper whereas imports from Kuwait consist almost exclusively of crude oil and petroleum products.

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa