Press Comments made by South African Foreign Ministry Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Burkinabe Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation Youssouf Ouedraogo Union Buildings, Pretoria Monday 2 April 2007

Minister Dlamini Zuma
Welcome remarks

We are very pleased today to welcome Minister Youssouf Ouêdraogo of Burkina Faso. This is his first official visit to South Africa although he has visited many times in other capacities. He has also accompanied his President to South Africa,

We are very happy to have finalised this Agreement on the Establishment of a Joint Commission of Cooperation between South Africa and Burkina Faso because this will allow us to identify areas for co-operation.

We discussed our political interaction and relations at many levels and in many fora, including the United Nations and African Union, are very strong these are not matched by strong co-operation in other fields.

We would now like to begin co-operating at other levels - government, people-to-people, business, trade - it is co-operation at these levels that will be sustainable and guarantee a sustainable political relationship. If you do not have co-operation in these other fields, you cannot have a sustainable political relationship.

Political co-operation is dependent on governments that may change but if you have rooted co-operation, relations will be sustainable despite the government in power.

For us in South Africa, and within SADC, it is very important to begin to consolidate relations with West Africa and for ECOWAS and SADC to have stronger links. These links will be useful for the integration of Africa. It will not be possible to have integration without co-operation and knowledge of each other.

Minister Ouêdraogo
Introductory remarks.

It is an excellent opportunity to visit South Africa. I accompanied my President to South Africa in 2004. During their interaction, Presidents Mbeki and Compaore were committed to strengthening relations - commercial, economic, etc - between both countries and to make them reflective of our political relations. We still have good relations within bilaterally and within the African Union, in terms of crisis and conflict resolution. In the past year Presidents Mbeki and Compaore have worked very hard on the matter of Côte d'Ivoire.

The signature on this agreement for joint co-operation will ensure we work consistently towards strengthening our relations.

As Minister Dlamini Zuma said, these strengthened bilateral relations will give expression to African integration. We need to know more about each other and to take advantage of each others strengths.

We have committed ourselves to holding the first session of the joint commission in 2008. To this end, our respective officials will work very hard to ensure this becomes a reality and to assess the needs of each government and to better understand the potential for joint projects.

We are already partners in the Pan-African Cinema Festival and Pan-African Handicraft Fair bi-annually in February and October respectively.

We have a lot of potential to work together to eradicate poverty and underdevelopment in Africa and to fight to create stability in Africa.

I hope we can work together as Ministers for the benefit of the peoples of our countries and our continent.

Questions and answers
Question Ministers, regarding Côte d'Ivoire, what are the differences between the Agreements signed in the past and the Ouagadougou Agreement signed in March 2007?

Answer (Dlamini Zuma)
The important thing about this agreement is that the Ouagadougou Agreement was signed by both sets of belligerents. The Agreement has committed them and gives them roles in the implementation of all agreements signed thus far.

You have President Gbagbo, as the Head of State, and Guillaume Soro who is now the Prime Minister who are responsible for implementing the two major remaining issues - one basket of which contains the issues of, inter alia, citizenship, nationality, registration and the other relating the DDR process which consists of issues relating to disarmament and reintegration.

These issues are critical - who has to disarm - it is the forces of President Gbagbo and Prime Minister Soro who need to disarm - it is them who control the north and the south. There is therefore no one better placed to implement these agreements.

The follow up committee also involves them and the other signatories of Lineas-Marcoussis.

This in a way, resembles what happened in South Africa - there were two major groups who had to implement the agreement they had reached although they were both were on opposing sides. They also had to follow up on the implementation of all aspects of this agreement.

For me this is a good agreement and it has the most possibility for success. President Mbeki has always said that it is the Ivorian people who will ensure their stability,

(Minister Ouêdraogo) I have not much more to add.

In a situation like this, those who are fighting with arms are the correct people to sign a peace agreement. Taking into account all the agreements that have been signed, we have seen that if both parties agree to sign a peace agreement more than 90% of the crisis is solved.

Within the new institutional systems built into this agreement with a permanent high level follow up committee shared by President Compaore in his capacity as Facilitator, President Gbagbo, Prime Minister Soro, Allasane Outtara and Konan Bedie, there is an opportunity to discuss any problematic issues that may arise. We now have the best opportunity for implementation since all the parties who have signed Pretoria, Accra and Lineas Marcoussis have now agreed to disarmament and the processes of identification.

Question Ministers, one of the biggest issues in Côte d'Ivoire has been that of nationality and identification of those immigrants in the North, most of which are coming from Burkina Faso. Although there are many immigrants in Côte d'Ivoire, most are coming from Burkina Faso. Has any agreement been signed between Presidents Gbagbo and Compaore to protect these citizens?

Answer (Minister Ouêdraogo)
We have about 5 million Burkinabe immigrants in Côte d'Ivoire. Most have been in Burkina Faso for many years but the bulk of these are in the South and central Côte d'Ivoire where the agriculture is most developed.

There is no agreement between Presidents Gbagbo and Compaore in this regard. What is the main factor is this agreement in terms of pragmatic reconciliation of Ivorians since all methods used thus far have failed.

We wanted to use the method of audience foreignes for the identification process but this would have taken more than three years.

The people who voted in 2000 were Ivorians since only Ivorians can vote in elections. If in 2000 5 million Ivorians voted, this forms the basis of the agreement we are now working on.

Question Minister Dlamini Zuma, are you pleased that South Africa has relinquished the role of President of the UN Security Council and what are some of the outcomes of the thematic debate?

Answer (Minister Dlamini Zuma)
South Africa's Presidency lasted one month and now that ours is completed I realise why it cannot last longer. It has been a very intense month.

On the thematic debate: it is not the first time we have had such a discussion but it must be debated until the matter is resolved satisfactorily. We did take a step forward during this debate. What is important is that the UN Security Council mandated the UN Secretary-General to compile a report on the matter. I was happy with the debate.

We also began the debate with a closed working breakfast from which emanated many useful ideas which we will use.

Question Ministers, there were two UN resolutions adopted in the Security Council on Côte d'Ivoire. What will now happen with the new agreement - will these UN resolutions become null and void

Answer (Minister Dlamini Zuma)
After the finalisation of the Ouagadougou Agreement and its acceptance by the African Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council, a new UN resolution must be crafted in line with this.

Question Minister Dlamini Zuma, I believe you are visiting Europe later today. Can you give us an indication of your visit?

Answer (Minister Dlamini Zuma)
I will be visiting Malta and the Vatican. I will be having a bilateral meeting with my Maltese counterpart. I decided to honour the invitation to visit Malta since the Maltese government have been saying we do not do enough work on our bilateral relations.

At the Vatican, I will hold discussions with the Cardinal in Charge of Foreign Affairs during which we will share ideas on co-operation in multilateral fora.

I thought it best to visit Italy since I will be just across in Malta.

Question Ministers, was there unofficial co-operation between South Africa and Burkina Faso seeing that the Agreement legalizing bilateral co-operation has only just been signed?

Answer (Minister Dlamini Zuma) Since we did not have this agreement, we did have relations although they were unstructured. We also did not have embassies in each country and this makes it difficult to concretise relations. Our Presidents mandated that this be done as soon as possible and we now have Embassies in each other's countries. And as the Minister has said, we have participated in the film festival and craft market. I am sure we can now have better business-to-business co-operation that will serve to strengthen our economic co-operation.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

2 April 2007

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