Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic
of South Africa, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, at the Opening of the Plenary of the
Nuclear Suppliers Group, Cape Town, 19 April 2007
It is an honour and a privilege for me to welcome you to South
Africa for the 2007 Plenary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Allow me to
extend a special and warm welcome to all delegates and to express the hope that
you will not only engage in fruitful and productive discussions during the Plenary,
but that you have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy your stay in our beautiful
city, Cape Town.
May I also take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Jose
Artur Denot Medeiros for his dedication and hard work during his tenure as Chair
of the NSG. Brazil and South Africa have excellent bilateral relations and our
co-operation extends to other collaborative forums such as the India-Brazil-South
Africa Forum (IBSA) and our pursuit of nuclear disarmament through the New Agenda
Coalition (NAC). As Brazil will continue to be a member of the NSG Troika during
the next year, we look forward to continuing our close working relationship in
this forum. We also wish to thank Germany for its kind offer to host the 2008
As we meet here today to consider
how to further strengthen the controls on the export of nuclear and nuclear-related
material, equipment and technology, it is imperative that we do not loose sight
of the many people around the world that continue to live in abject poverty. Many
countries are not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals, including
on our own African continent. Our efforts in the NSG should therefore contribute
to creating a better life for all and not hinder international co-operation on
the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which potentially could strengthen and accelerate
the economic development of the economically marginalized parts of the world.
reliance on fossil fuels as sources of energy has imposed constraints on our development
now and in the future. There are many initiatives to develop alternative sources
of energy and in this regard there is an increasing recognition of the role that
nuclear energy can play in meeting the energy requirements of the 21st Century.
This has resulted in many countries reviewing their national energy policies.
renewed international focus on the expansion of nuclear energy as renewable energy
source not only requires increased international co-operation to ensure the safety,
security and peaceful use of nuclear energy, but also impacts on the work of the
NSG and its objective of fostering strengthened national export controls through
the wider implementation of comprehensive and effective controls on the transfer
of nuclear-related materials.
South Africa has consistently maintained
the view that the ownership of advanced capabilities that could be used for both
peaceful and non-peaceful purposes places a special responsibility on the States
concerned to build confidence with the international community that would remove
any concerns about any potential nuclear weapon proliferation. There is wide recognition
that confidence is at the heart of all nuclear issues. It requires all sides to
act in a manner that instills confidence. This places a special responsibility
also on the NSG to undertake its work in a transparent manner that will instill
confidence in its decisions and take into full consideration the needs and aspirations
of non-NSG Partners. We should continue to guard against negative perceptions
that the NSG only advances the interests of its own members to the exclusion of
The activities of the illicit network
in nuclear technology to manufacture nuclear weapons will continue to impact on
the work of the NSG. It is incumbent upon all of us to continuously review and
improve controls over nuclear material, technologies and equipment to prevent
nuclear weapons proliferation and illicit trafficking.
Our experience has,
however, shown that no control regime, no matter how comprehensive, can fully
guarantee against abuse. The success of such controls remains dependent on effective
information-sharing and co-operation among the relevant parties. We should also
recognize the central role that the IAEA can play in addressing this illicit trade
and we should consider how we can support the IAEA in this regard.
Whilst South Africa is committed to the continuous review and
strengthening of measures aimed at preventing the proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction, we believe that real progress in securing our world from the
threat of nuclear weapons can only be achieved through concomitant progress in
the area of nuclear disarmament.
Nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation
are mutually reinforcing processes that require continuous and irreversible progress
on both fronts. It is only through full compliance by all States with their respective
legal obligations in the areas of non-proliferation and disarmament that peaceful
uses of nuclear energy can thrive for the benefit of all.
elected South African Government has therefore since its inauguration in May 1994,
committed itself to a policy of non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control,
which covers all weapons of mass destruction and extends to concerns relating
to the proliferation of conventional weapons.
In this context the Government
at that early stage already adopted a policy whereby South Africa should be an
active participant in the various non-proliferation regimes and suppliers groups;
adopt positions publicly supporting the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
with the goal of promoting international peace and security; and use its position
as a member of the suppliers' regimes and of the Africa Group and the Non-aligned
Movement to promote the importance of non-proliferation and to ensure that these
controls do not become the means whereby developing countries are denied access
to advanced technologies required for their development.
Africa is honoured with the confidence you have shown by bestowing on us the responsibility
to chair the NSG for the next year. With your co-operation and assistance we will
together achieve our goals.
I wish you success in concluding this Plenary
I thank you.