Press Comments following Media Briefing between Deputy Prime
Minister of the Italian Republic, Minister Massimo D' Alema and the South African
Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Presidential Guest House,
Pretoria 10 July 2007
Your Excellency, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister
of Foreign Affairs Massimo D' Alema, welcome to the Press Conference. As it is
traditional, we will ask Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
to address us and thereafter she will invite the Deputy Prime Minister to address
us, followed by questions.
Opening Remarks at the Press Briefing by
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
Dr. Dlamini Zuma: Thank you Ronnie and good
morning, ladies and gentlemen of the media. We are very happy to receive and to
welcome Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister D' Alema and his delegation,
including his business delegation and his Minister of Industry who are not here
with us now.
We are happy to receive them because Italy and ourselves are
very close in terms of our bilateral political relations. In fact we were struggling
to think about what is it we can discuss in terms of our bilateral political relations,
but we have recognised that we still have a lot of untapped potential in terms
of economic co-operation and are very excited that they (Italians) were able to
bring so many of their business people(138 business people) to meet with our business
people to see what they can do to encourage this economic relations.
is of course a very strong member of the European Union and the G8; we also have
lots of co-operation and work at those levels because NEPAD - is a programme that
we very much would like the G8 to support and we know that we have a good ally
in Italy there and in the EU. At the moment we are also working together at the
UN. We've always worked together on many areas. We are together in the United
Nations Security Council which always helps when you have countries that you are
close with politically. So at the multilateral fora we work together, it's a very
exciting time for us. In April, I was received by the Foreign Minister in Italy;
we've seen each other very close, it's an indication of what we really would like
to see in terms of our relations.
Italy is also very keen to see the EU-Africa
Summit and the strengthening of Africa-EU relations, and so is South Africa. Lastly,
of course Italy will support us and is supporting us in the run-up to the 2010
FIFA Soccer World Cup. When 2010 comes, Italy will be a very strong competitor
for the World Cup and for the finals. We look forward to having them both as our
guests but also as a strong team for 2010. Again, welcome Minister! The Minister,
will give you all the details of what we discussed.
by Deputy Prime Minister of the Italian Republic (also Foreign Minister), Mr.
Massimo D' Alema
Thank you Minister Zuma for a warm welcome in our third
meeting, the first was during the United Nations General Assembly in New York
and in Rome (April 5th if I remember). Thank you, I hope that my visit will contribute
to the strengthening of bilateral relations between Italy and South Africa with
the aim to create an authentical strategic bilateral partnership.
to underline the role exercised by South Africa both as a leader of the process
of the African Renaissance and an important voice of the continent on the international
I also want to stress the importance of the mediation role played
in the main areas of conflict and tension of the continent including contribution
to peacekeeping operations. There is a strong convergence I want to underline
on many regional and international issues as stated in the Memorandum of OU of
2003, Italy and SA share a mutual interest in further consolidating the structural
dialogue at political and diplomatic level. Italy and the Republic of South Africa
are members of the UNSC. The situation offers ideal context to strengthen such
a dialogue in favour of Peaceful settlement of many critical areas of the African
continent and not only in Africa, but we are facing together very important international
issues; like Kosovo and Iran.
In this context, in the African context,
Italy supports and encourages the strengthening of the co-operation between the
AUPSC and the UNSC in the field of peacekeeping, stability and security. We held
discussions on the crisis in Darfur, situations in Somalia and Zimbabwe.
Africa represents an emerging power in economic terms. Italian entrepreneurs are
convinced that the business partnership with South Africa is a real and attractive
opportunity. I think that the presence of so many Italian entrepreneurs in our
delegation is an important signal that they are confident in the future of South
The trend of our economic Bilateral Relations is very positive,
but margins for steady progress still exist, taking into account the high economic
levels of both countries; bilateral exchange and direct investment. The presence
of Italian entrepreneurs is a good signal and my feeling is that yesterday and
today, many discussions between Business to Business, I am sure after such discussions,
we can have some important new contracts and joint ventures and common industrial
projects. This is our philosophy, not only trade, but common projects and co-operation
2010 will be an opportunity of great international visibility for South Africa
with a positive feedback on the national economy. Italy is ready to provide expertise
in this field and well, we are also ready to participate with a goal to confirm
the centrality of Italy. We are not a superpower, but on the soccer field, we
are a superpower. (Laughter!!)
I'm sure that South Africa is ready to play
an important part in the continent as an engine for African integration. SA is
an important member of this core group. Finally, I want to thank South Africa
for joining efforts with us to support the presentation of a resolution, promoting
the suspension of the application of the death penalty worldwide. This will be
a great progress for the fundamental cause of human rights - the right to life).
We will sponsor this resolution. We want to thank you as well because South Africa
also stands ready to support the candidacy of Milan for Expo 2015, which is for
us very important and a new signal of the friendship between our two countries.
Mamoepa (thanked both principals for their contributions)
Q: Battle for abolition of the death penalty at the
United Nations - Which other African countries might be galvanised to work towards
this goal, if any? If SA can mobilize support to convince other African countries
of this resolution (will be brought to work towards this goal of the abolition
of the death -penalty worldwide).
A: DZ - We should first
check which countries in Africa have abolished the death penalty to support, because
that will be the core group that will be able to support and the second level
will be those that still have it. The important group will be those who have already
abolished the death penalty in their countries.
Q: You did discuss the
issue of Zimbabwe amongst many different issues on the African continent? Could
I ask both Ministers - are you concerned about the apparent economic meltdown
in Zimbabwe and the fact that the Govt team did not pitch up for mediation as
expected this week-end under South African mediation?
A: DZ- We
are concerned about the situation generally in Zimbabwe, including the economic
situation which has been deteriorating over time and it is in part for that very
reason that SADC has decided that there must be some discussions and reconciliation;
because it is very difficult to rebuilt an economy in a country where there is
a very severe divide and polarization.
I am not quite informed about what
happened over the week-end. As you know I only arrived from Belarus and I went
straight into the Comoronian meeting; there must have been a good reason as to
why they did not turn up. I will find out because they are committed to that mediation.
I don't think it was any sign of them wanting to pull out or anything.
a problematic economy in Zimbabwe means that SADC as a region will feel the consequences
of that and South Africa in particular; But we have to do all our best to revitalise
or restart in a way - regenerate the economy there for the benefit of the Zimbabwean
people and the region. Of course, Zimbabwe has been one of our biggest trading
partners so it's very important in all fronts, that their economy is regenerated.
Minister D' Alema, You said Italy is prepared to help RSA with the security for
2010 FIFA World Championship. Does that include the request by Minister Charles
Nqakula who went to Italy to ask for help from the police ahead of the 2010 FIFA
World Cup? Can you confirm that please?
A: D' Alema - We didn't
talk about that, but we know that the South African Minister is coming to Italy,
we are ready to welcome him, we have not yet received any request for carabeneiry
(police), but we are ready to co-operate with South Africa for security during
2010 FIFA World Championship. We know that the Minister of Intelligence of South
Africa is coming to Italy and we are ready to welcome him.
D' Alema - As a member of the UNSC how does Italy see the latest development in
the Darfur and do you think will be the outcomes of all the efforts on the hybrid
force; to Dr. Zuma, could you kindly brief us about the outcome of the visit to
A: D' Alema:
- On Darfur, we fully support
the conclusion of the Paris Conference on the entire international community;
on the global approach which means to take into consideration, the three different
tracks of the crisis; political, economic and peacekeeping. On peacekeeping; we
welcome Sudanese's government acceptance of the joint report of the deployment
of the so-called a hybrid force as a fundamental step forward towards the resolution
of the crisis.
- We are convinced that what is very important is the political
negotiations, which is the only possibility to reach a lasting sustainable solution
to the crisis.
- We are in favour that the international community confirms
its support to the joint initiative by the Special Envoys of the AU, Salim and
the UN (Elianson) recognising its centrality in dealing with regard to the humanitarian
- As regards the humanitarian crisis, you are Aware that the French
initiatives to support refugees in Chad have a proposal on addressing the Humanitarian
crisis and Italy is supportive of this initiative. This approach reflects the
pragmatic approach by SG - Ban Ki Moon which we support.
- On our
side we have to continue pursuing both parties and Sudanese government without
introducing further sanctions today in the present condition because I think we
have to prefer the political pressure, humanitarian initiative and international
support to the crisis.
A: DZ - We didn't discuss Belarus, but
if you have not exhausted questions on Belarus we could discuss that at the end.
Q: Minister D' Alema, you have said that SA is an engine for integration
in Africa and we all know that, integration on the continent similar to the EU
model Which other African countries do you see as engine of integration on the
A: D' Alema
- It is not our task
to indicate which country has to be a member of the core group. We are in favour
of African integration as a prelude to peace and stability.
any doubt, South Africa is a leading country on the African continent, stable
democracy, which plays an important role on the stabilization of the African continent.
For the unity of the EU, the presence of a core group for unity of the Europe
was very important.
- The membership founders of the EU during its long
history have always played a very important role. Personally, I do not think that
the European experience has to be a model, but in our experience, the presence
of an engine, a core group of State willing the unity of Europe was very important.
DZ - In addition, Dr. Dlamini Zuma said that - Even on the
African continent we do need engines/ locomotives to drive the integration, some
maybe obvious, others may not be that obvious, but they are essential to accelerate
the process forward.
Q: With regard to the forthcoming EU-Africa Summit;
would Italy encourage a country like Zimbabwe to attend such a Summit, given that
you did touch on the question.
A: D' Alema
- We are
supporting the engagement of the Portuguese Presidency for the next EU-Africa
Summit. Personally I find it incredible that last EU-Africa Summit was in 2000;
which means that 7 years ago and finally we decide to promote a new Summit; we
must overcome the Zimbabwe issue which was holding hostage the convening of the
- We are confident that the initiative of President Mbeki could
represent the key to opening possibility for the gradual revision of the positioning
of the European Common position. But without any doubt, we must convene the Summit,
the Portuguese Presidency is working towards that direction and I'm sure the Summit
will be promoted.
- We want to have a very concrete Summit with some concrete
decision and adopting a common strategy to address the common challenges, development,
fighting poverty, migration, security, fighting terrorism, we have so many common
challenges and need to work together in the years ahead.
congratulations on your Professorship Minister (given to Minister Dlamini Zuma
in Belarus). Which other African countries have abolished the death penalty and
Minister can you also please give us a preview of your visit to Russia and India
Q: Iranian nuclear issue and your comments by Mohamed
El Baradei, DG of IAEA, when he said that Iran had been slowing down its enrichment
activities in the past few weeks and that a high delegation of IAEA is visiting
- I will have to do research
on which African countries have so far abolished the death penalty, I cannot give
you a list right now; and on our visit to India and Russia, as you know we have
this IBSA initiative Forum where we are trying to work together as countries of
the South on certain economic and political aspects.
- This is a Ministerial
Summit of IBSA that will be preparing for the Summit which will take place in
RSA later in the year at the end of the year, In Russia we have a joint Commission
-ITECH that meets annually and half way through the year we have an Intersessional
meeting, am just going there with a small delegation looking at what progress
and obstacles we are encountering so that we do not have to wait for at the end
of the year.
- In Belarus, I was with the Minister of Minerals and Energy
(Buyelwa Sonjica) and the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry (Rob Davies) and
to look at some of our complementarities in our economy, Belarus has some special
niches in their technology, which would be useful for us. They are one of the
few countries which have been able to cut down on their demand for energy, by
17% and now want to cut it down to 25%.
- They do not have oil, but have
some technologies for renewable forms of energy. Those are some of the industries
that we were looking at just to mention a few to see what kind of co-operation
we could look at. They have special technologies in renewable energy, trade and
- They are amongst the four biggest manufacturers of trucks
and their prices are quite competitive and we explored what kind of co-operation
we could embark upon.
A: D' Alema
- On Iran;
News on the slowing down of its nuclear enrichment activities by Iran are good
news. Italy is against the nuclear bomb for Iran. But at the same time, since
the beginning of the crisis, we are in favour of a negotiated solution. A package
for a negotiated solution, we are concerned about the possibility to have further
sanctions, because in my opinion you risk being in a war scenario in a few years.
Either accept a nuclear bomb in Iran a possibility or to have war. We consider
such an alternative totally unacceptable.
- The signal that the authorities
seem to be ready to open opportunity for negotiations is very important, to set
up a stringent monitoring mechanism is more important than suspending uranium
- had an opportunity to speak to Mohamed El-Baradei. My personal
opinion is that We proposed during the last G8 Summit that we should open negotiations
with Iran without any pre-conditions because the only consequence of sanctions
is, we support the sanctions because we are a member of the UNSC and the UN.
any doubt, the fact that Iran did not respect the UNSC Resolution, made it inevitable
to have sanctions; my opinion is that we should engage Iran in a negotiated settlement.
But at the Same time support the Iranian, with the goal to speak to Iranian public
opinion and Iranian people against nuclear bomb but at the same time support the
programme for the civil use of nuclear power which is different, I think that
the initiative has to keep any opportunity open to engage Iran in a negotiated
settlement we will see in the next days what this signal of slowing uranium enrichment
Minister Dlamini Zuma
Maybe just to add, we also
support the view that there should be no nuclear bomb in Iran, but that we also
do not want war waged against Iran. We are encouraged by the EU initiative of
Mr. Solana's diplomacy, we would like to (as always) see any misunderstanding
and conflict resolved peacefully.
I thank you!
Issued by Department
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