Comments by Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Dr. Luis Amado during the Media Briefing between South Africa and Portugal

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, South African Minister of Foreign Affairs:

I am very pleased to welcome Dr. Amado. Firstly, we discussed our bilateral relations which are very good. We have agreed that we need to keep strengthening our relations by looking at more business co-operation; cultural and people - to people co-operation between the two countries and so will continue doing that.

We also looked at some of the issues on the African continent. As you know, Portugal will take the Presidency of the European Union (EU) as from July 2007, so we are looking forward to working closely with them, they are already in the Troika so, on the 14th May 2007 we will be meeting in that context of South Africa and the EU Troika and some time during their Presidency, we will also be meeting.

We are looking forward to the Summit between the African Union (AU) - and the EU in December 2007, and I will allow Minister to give the perspective on that.
We are looking forward to having that because our two continents are neighbours to start with; and we have a historic obligation to work together as neighbouring continents. So that Summit will also assist in working out a Roadmap on our future co-operation.

We also looked at global issues like some of the issues that are in the United Nations Security Council like Kosovo etc and I will now hand over to Minister Amado to give you a bit more on what I have introduced.

Thank you.

Dr. Amado:

Good morning all of you!

I just want to thank Minister Zuma for her invitation to visit South Africa. As Minister Dlamini Zuma said, we have a responsibility to take over the Presidency of the European Union from the 1st July 2007.

We are now in the Troika, so we need to pay attention to what is happening in the world, particularly also in Africa and in this region.

SA is becoming an important player in the international system and is now a member of the UN Security Council so it is important for us to be in touch with the South African government.

Our bilateral relations as was said by Minister Zuma are very good, we have the perspective that the intense political dialogue we are developing now will also benefit the development of our economic, social and cultural relations in future.

The relationship between EU and African countries and in particular South Africa, the role SA can play in promoting peace and development on the African continent is very crucial.
We assume that the EU has a strong responsibility in development and African relationships on the African continent and that is why we have been discussing the conditions for the Summit and were discussing the agenda for this Summit.

It will be a Second Summit on the High Level, where the EU and AU member states will be discussing important points on the Agenda of this Summit.

We are working together (AU + EU) in the preparation of the Joint Strategy which will identify and co-ordinate our partnership.

We are working on mechanisms and economic programmes which we can foresee to sustain an important strategic partnership, between the EU and the AU, two continents, as the Minister said with strong historic ties, strong relations, historical, cultural and linguistic ties.

We will be working closely in assisting to resolve some of the problems that we face.
We need to mobilise all efforts of the international community to tackle international problems especially some of the main conflicts that are now becoming so problematic in Africa, SA has an important role now to play as it is also a member of the UNSC and as a member of the African Union.

It is important for us to develop this dialogue and intensify the exchange of views, with Minister Zuma and with the South African government. I want to thank you again and your delegation for the exchange of views and thank the Minister and your delegation for the hospitality accorded to us.


Questions

SAPA: Were there any agreements signed today?

Minister Dlamini Zuma: No, this meeting was a meeting really to exchange views and synchronize our perspectives.

Mozambique News Agency: The main obstacle to convening the AU - EU Summit has been Zimbabwe? Is there any change in the position either from Europe or Africa?

Minister Dlamini Zuma: Let me clarify the African Position. The AU cannot be dismembered. The AU is the African Union it cannot be dismembered. The AU is known, the continent is known, you can't say you want the AU but not quite the AU. If Europe is meeting us at that level, it cannot dismember us. It's not about insisting that, one attends, that the other does not. We want to co-operate with the EU as it is known. We can't say we want to co-operate with the EU, but not quite with Portugal. That will not be the EU, it will be something else. We are not insisting on something that should not be there. The EU is the EU and Africa is Africa.

Dr. Luis Amado (addition to Minister Zuma): The issue of sanctions is one issue, the issue of the Summit is one other issue. These are different things. We need to structure for the future a strategic partnership with the African Union to promote the interest of both continents. We should not compound strategic partnerships… because there is a problem with different countries, this is not compatible with what we have at stake.

Minister Dlamini Zuma: The relationship between Africa and the EU is very important and therefore we have to work on that which is paramount, it cannot be reduced to differences with one country.

John Kaninda - Business Day: There were reports in the Belgian Press, that Democratic Republic of Congo and Portugal had struck a deal about Jean Pierre Bemba going to Portugal. Was there first a deal struck between the two countries, were there any conditions attached to the sojourn of Bemba to Portugal, for him not being involved in political activities in Portugal?

SABC asked a similar question as the Business Day

Dr. Amado: I have been speaking in the past few days with other states involved in this process for Bemba to come to Portugal, of course he came for medical reasons, to Portugal and agreed himself not to be engaged in political activities whilst in Portugal, but we did speak with Congolese and South African authorities and some states interested in the stability in Congo and the intervention was made by the United Nations Mission in Kinshasa.

Dr Dlamini Zuma: (in addition) We have no problems with anyone going for medical treatment to any country. He has gone to Portugal for medical reasons and we have no objections to that.

Dr. Amado: Initially Jean Pierre Bemba had been operated in Portugal, so he wanted to go back there for his medical treatment.

I thank you!

Issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag x 152
Pretoria
0001

13 April 2007

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