SA - Cuba Consultative Forum: Opening Remarks by Ministers Dr. Dlamini Zuma and Felipe Roque, Saturday, 28 January 2006, Hermanus, Western Cape

Remarks by Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma

Welcoming remarks and introduction

  • This is the first time that we, as Ministers, chair the South Africa - Cuba Consultative Forum that is normally led by both our Deputy Foreign Ministers.

  • The fact that we meet a mere five months after the Joint SA-Cuba Binational Commission held in Havana in September 2005, is indicative of the friendship and partnership shared by both countries. Indeed, this relationship must be strengthened further.

  • During this forum we will be given an opportunity to evaluate the relations between our two countries, developments in the world and an opportunity to synchronise our positions.

  • Of course, as we meet today, there are indeed very significant global developments that must be considered - not least is the development in the Middle East following the Palestinian elections held on 25 January 2006.

  • These elections must be analysed and respected since they represent the outcome of free and fair elections and are an expression of the will of the people of Palestine. We have strong historic relations with Fatah.

  • We must also, in this forum, consider developments in Africa - including developments in the African Union.

  • We are also very keen to receive an analysis of developments in your region - how these will impact on the region and elsewhere in the world

  • We are also very aware of the critical issues being discussed at the United Nations - in this regard, we both have a keen interest in developments at the United Nations. It is important to remember that at the time of its inception, the United Nations was located within a particular paradigm of international relations and consisted of 50 countries. We now have an opportunity to shape the United Nations in a drastically changed international paradigm. However, if we are not careful, those who shaped the United Nations 60 years ago will continue to do so.

  • We look forward to the Cuban chairpersonship of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). We hope that we will be able to work together in the coming months to ensure that Cuba can host a successful Summit in September 2006. The outcomes of this Summit will guide our work for the next three years.

  • We will also discuss the revitalization of the co-ordinating mechanism between the Group of 77 (G-77) and NAM.

  • And, of course, we have just concluded the Hong Kong Round of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Talks - we will have a valuable opportunity to reflect upon the outcomes of thereof.

  • South Africa and Cuba, as countries with an interest in sustainable development, we must look at the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and how we can play a role in ensuring developing countries achieve the MDGs.

  • We must also reflect on how we can give expression to South - South co-operation - we have good examples of how this can work, especially in the health sector.

  • And finally, we must consider the role of women in all of these issues since there can be no sustainable development without women.

Remarks by Cuban Foreign Minister Perez Roque

  • We express satisfaction at the opportunity to hold this 4th session of the Consultative Mechanism, for the first time at Ministerial level, in South Africa - a country for which we have profound respect and appreciation.

  • Relations between South Africa and Cuba should be the model on which relations between all countries are built - a relationship based on respect, co-operation and the defence of similar positions in multilateral fora.

  • We respect the role that South Africa has played in the international arena and the profile it has established.

  • We also appreciate the support of South Africa against the constant economic blockade of Cuba - the most recent of which was experienced in November last year.

  • We also appreciate the consistent support from South Africa on the issue of human rights, particularly in the Human Rights Commission.

  • We are very pleased with the agenda that will see us discuss matters of United Nations reform, revitalization of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and developments in Africa. We will brief you on developments in Latin America.

  • We attach great importance to receiving views from the South African side given its authority and active role in international fora.

  • It is significant that South Africa is leading the Group of 77 (G-77) whilst Cuba is getting ready to assume the Chairpersonship of the NAM.

  • This meeting will give momentum to bilateral political relations between both countries.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

28 January 2006


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