Notes Following India – Brazil – South Africa Summit Press Conference Presidential Guesthouse, Pretoria Wednesday 17 October 2007
Closing remarks by President Thabo Mbeki
President Lula, Prime Minister Singh we are about to conclude what we all agree has been a very successful session of the session of the IBSA Summit.
We are all very pleased it has focused on achieving results and in understanding the work IBSA must do to produce practical results that we require to respond to all of the challenges that all our countries face.
As part of the focus on this practical issues and as an expression thereof, there will be a signing of a number of agreements further to consolidate this co-operation.
We are also very pleased indeed, having listened to the reports of the various working groups – both governmental and non-governmental including women, civil society, parliament – with the work that is going on and indeed remarked on the fact that the attractiveness of the IBSA process to all our populations in generating this attention. We would want the media to assist with regard to the communication of the work of IBSA because it is quite clear that the populations in each of our countries are interested in this work and indeed, the point was made that the implementation of the IBSA process has raised hopes amongst our people and they expect to hear what it is that we are doing.
We will off course meeting in India in 2008 for the third IBSA Summit. We already have an agenda and a particular point of focus in that agenda would be the issue of social development. We must therefore ensure the co-ordination and integration of all our programmes to ensure they actually have this impact and result in an inclusive anti-poverty process of development.
So I want to say thank you very much to the Prime Minister, President and their delegations for coming to South Africa.
And thank you to the Ministers and officials for the work they have done, including the business people, parliament and civil society representatives and the women for all the work that has been put in to give flesh to the work of IBSA.
Closing Remarks by Prime Minister Singh
President Mbeki and President Lula da Silva, participants in the parliamentary, academic, business and women’s fora, ladies and gentlemen,
I am very happy to say our deliberations have been most fruitful. We have discussed ways and means of pooling our strengths and limited resources to the maximum benefit. This gives me confidence that the IBSA process is moving into a phase where our tilateral co-operation would show concrete positive results. This is a tribute to the wise leadership provided by both President Mbeki and President Lula da Silva. I for one, have greatly benefited from their tremendous wisdom, knowledge and experience.
Mr President, IBSA is a unique model of transnational co-operation. Our three countries come from three different continents but we share similar world views and aspirations for our people. If we can make a success of our model for co-operation based on collective self reliance it will serve as an example for all other developing countries. We have today found a renewed convergence of interest on major international issues of contemporary importance. We need to forge the closest possible co-operation so that we can together ensure a more equitable international political and economic order.
The world is already looking upon the IBSA framework as a significant step forward for the global partnership for development. We had a very constructive discussion on the Doha Round of Trade negotiations. This has emerged as an important issue facing the international community in which each of our three countries has an important stake. We remain committed to working towards securing a balanced, equitable and successful outcome of these negotiations.
The IBSA process has enabled parliamentarians, civil society, academia, mass media, women and other segments of society to engage with each other. We greatly value their contribution in reinforcing the efforts of the three countries.
Over a period of time IBSA should emerge as a peoples movement committed to a vision of people centred development. The high level involvement of business and industry in IBSA is particularly encouraging. Governments can only do so much. We should leverage public-private partnerships to fill funding gaps and increase the scope of our co-operation.
The IBSA process must lead to the expansion of trade, technology and investment links between our three countries. The agreements and the declaration that we will be signing will provide a new impetus to our co-operation. They reflect our emerging key priorities. The implementation of the decisions we have taken today should be carefully monitored and a regular system of feedback should be put in place.
I am confident that under the chairmanship of South Africa and the guidance of President Mbeki the framework of IBSA will acquire even greater resilience and dynamism in time to come.
I am most grateful to President Mbeki for his warm and generous hospitality we have received during our stay in this beautiful country of South Africa. Thank you very much and see you all in New Delhi.
President Lula da Silva
My last words President Mbeki are off acknowledgement and gratitude to you and in recognition for the efforts that your government made to hold such a well organised IBSA Summit.
Secondly, once again, I would like to publicly recognise the warm treatment we have received in South Africa each time we have visited.
I believe that, and I would like to make an appeal to the Brazilian press, it would be important that South Africa should be better publicised in Brazil and India and that Indian media should better publicise South Africa and Brazil should be better publicised in both countries so that our people can become more acquainted with each other.
And the third aspect, Prime Minister Singh and President Mbeki, I would like to give my testimony when we are inaugurated into government the first international engagement such a head of state or government attends is filled with enchantment, curiosity and novelty. And secondly, in the life of a ruler, from the second meeting, he begins to get disappointed. Why so?
Because he perceives that there is a huge wall preventing the implementation of decisions that have been taken.
Another moment in the life of a ruler is the contact he has with the reality in the moment he reaches maturity. He has to understand that the decisions made are never as we wish them to be with our bureaucracy. They never work as quickly as we would like them to work. There is one or other bureaucrat that does not prioritise matters. This reality is starting to change when we start to print a certain pace in the bureaucracy. This takes a while. Those that reach power through democratic means and decide to participate in international fora in a democratic way realise that everything takes time.
IBSA is one such thing. I am very surprised at the quality of decisions that were made at the second Summit meeting and I am very happy because in this second Summit meeting we managed to produce things that we did not manage to produce in so many other Summit meetings in which we have participated.
So what happened here? I’ll give you my opinion.
- First of all, the political convergence that exists between India, Brazil and South Africa.
- Secondly, the ideological profile between President Mbeki, Prime Minister Singh and President Lula is quite similar.
- Thirdly, seriousness of our Cabinet ministers and our staff.
- Fourth, we trust in each other.
So that is why we were capable of producing a statement of the quality we have produced. So I believe that if we start to have such a great affinity between India, Brazil and South Africa that many polemic subject matters need not be discussed because we will know that the reply of one brother will be the same as the reply of the other brother because we have common interests and objectives and we want the best for our people and those countries have not yet reached the standard of developed countries. They still continue to be less developed or very poor countries.
I leave this meeting very happy because the social movement’s participation has given us an extraordinary participation and I know that in South Africa, India and Brazil, we have so many social movements that they could give their contribution and it would be very difficult for us to make a mistake in our decision making processes if we have the humility to listen to those who are the reason we govern our respective countries.
There is no question that the next Summit meeting in India will be even more successful and there is no question that IBSA could be a bloc, a movement, whatever you may wish it to become, IBSA will bring extraordinary results in what we propose ourselves to do.
First of all, Prime Minister Singh I would like to say how happy I am to have met you. President Mbeki, you know how happy I am to have participated in various meetings with you. I believe we have reached an important moment in our political lives. We know what we want, how to achieve that and that we can do much more than what we have achieved thus far. For that, we need to say to our people’s that from South Africa, India and Brazil we can build a new model, a participatory model in the multilateral world.
Thank you very much and congratulations.
Remarks by President Thabo Mbeki
Ladies and gentlemen, I had thought you were present when closing statements were made and I do not want to make those statements again but really to emphasise that it has indeed been a very very successful meeting, very focused on the practical work that should be done with concrete agreements with regard to these elements of our work.
You heard President Lula say we think it would be very important you study the Declaration we are making which carves the work that has been covered.
Beyond that, I really want to express our appreciation that both the Prime Minister and the President came with their important delegations that accompanied them – both governmental and non-governmental delegations.
Remarks by President Lula da Silva
As President Mbeki has said, the essential elements have been heard by the press during our closing remarks.
I am convinced that slowly we can innovate and results can become more promising and productive.
India, South Africa and Brazil strive so there can be a reform in the UN Security Council and we will never give up. We have decided to together discuss the Doha Round, building a common thought so that we can actually make the Doha Round as it is called. If it is to be called the developing round it is necessary all our thoughts are linked that if we go from a scale of the poorest country to the richest country, the country that must earn the most is the poorest country and as we go up that scale, the richest countries will make a few concessions on what they have benefited from for so many decades. We are not doing anything radical. We are dialoguing on the negotiating table. We want to reach an agreement at Doha but it is necessary that countries that are more in need should be the winners and not only those that are the most privileged.
In the same way, India, South Africa and Brazil are convinced that we have not yet explored even 10% of what is possible in our trade, economic and investment exchange as well as science and technology, agriculture and other forms of exchange. So that is why IBSA is very important because IBSA is making it possible that our governments become more acquainted with each other not only the Prime Minister and the two Presidents but the country structure and at the same time, our business, trade unions, intellectuals, artists, women and social movement become more acquainted with each other.
This is why IBSA is an extraordinary innovation – three large nations, three historical experiences that are extraordinary, three nations that were colonised and today three nations that are free, sovereign, and do not wish for anything more than to take decisions that determine their own fate and to change the trade geography of the world so that those who are more in need can achieve what they need to.
Prime Minister Singh
I am very happy with our discussions today. They were constructive, wide ranging and productive of solid results.
This gives me the confidence that the IBSA framework is truly taking off. The parliamentary, academic, business and women’s fora have also had lively exchanges. Two new working groups have been established – one on climate change and environment and human settlement. We have agreed on a comprehensive joint declaration and have also signed a number of trilateral agreements.
The expansion of our agenda and the broad based participation reflects the immense potential our people see in IBSA.
Our discussions show that there is a convergence of views on many important international issues. We had useful discussions on the Doha Round and we will work towards securing a balanced, equitable and successful outcome of these important talks.
We had a discussion on strategies for social development and I am very happy that an MoU was signed for co-operation in this area. Each of our countries is implementing creative social programmes such as Brazil’s (inaudible) programme and South Africa’s Accelerated Skills Development Programme (AsgiSA). We have a lot to learn from each others experiences in promoting people centred equitable social development.
There is immense enthusiasm in our trade and industry for trilateral co-operation. We have set a trade target of US$ 15 million to be reached by 2010. I am confident that we will achieve this target even before this date.
We agreed to finalise the India-Mercosaur-SACU Free Trade Agreement.
I once again thank President Mbeki and the government of South Africa and invite all colleagues to the third IBSA Summit in India in 2008.
I thank you.
Questions and answers
Question The IBSA Declaration talks of exploring forward looking co-operation in the field of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Does that mean that Brazil and South Africa will support India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and what is the specific form of this co-operation?
Answer (President Mbeki) The Nuclear Suppliers Group, as you are aware, has been discussing the matter you have raised. So it is work in progress and indeed, the discussions have been taking place. As you know, South Africa is chairing that particular group and we are having very good discussions to address all matters. So, it is work in progress
(President Lula) We worked on the nuclear issue in the interests of complying with all the existing protocols within the UN framework and with a strong appeal for using nuclear energy for scientific purposes and at the same time to show to the rest of the world that it is possible that serious minded, responsible countries could reach nuclear agreements without causing panic to whoever it may be.
Question Two questions to President Lula – firstly you speak of infinities between the two countries and this week a document leaked from the Indian government states that the Indian government is proposing lower tariffs than those proposed in the NAMA. So I would like to know if this study could influence the position of the Brazilian government. My second question is: in this trip to Africa, you have harshly criticized the EU and US – did you use the same type of criticism in your conversation with President Bush?
Answer (President Lula) In relation to the document leaked from the Indian government: if this is a leaked government and it has not been publicised by the government of India, I cannot comment and consider it an official document.
If it is an official document, India and Brazil have sufficient maturity to know how to resolve their divergences at the negotiating table.
I am not acquainted with the document.
The second question: I did not make tough criticism to the EU and US – I just mentioned the facts that are going on in the Doha Round and I have been saying out the figures, that is to say, on the agricultural market access in Europe the figures that are being proposed by the Europeans are not clear yet.
There are many things that are not yet defined. The subsidy issue – one we proposed from US$ 13 billion to US$ 16.5 billion so what I said to President Bush was that in 2006 the US subsidies were only US$ 11 billion so why proposed 17 or 16 or even US$ 13 billion so very bluntly I could say that we are not negotiating in a friends club. What we have at stake is interests that we are trying to achieve consensus on so that the poorest can win something so that the developing countries can win something to. But the rich countries have to make the concessions.
What is being proposed is that concessions in industrial goods is much more than they want to concede on in agriculture. We are very calm. The conversation I had with President Bush, I had with Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
President Mbeki and Prime Minister Singh talk to President Bush and Prime Minister Brown as well.
So we are talking everyday to find a result.
The fact of the matter is that South Africa, India and Brazil have a willingness to reach an agreement. It is necessary that we must take into account two things: the poorest countries must have agricultural market access to the rich countries and the rich countries cannot strangle the possibility of industrial development of the poorest countries.
So what we want is a balance and this is what I said to President Bush and I will continue to talk with all the people because I do have the interest to reach an agreement.
It is important for me to stress that India, Brazil and South Africa have a common agreement during the negotiations at Doha.
Question President Lula, Prime Minister Singh, you would like to see a reform of the UN Security Council in terms of your inclusion amongst the other countries. Some of the progress towards this goal has been blocked by some of the failure of the African countries to reach some agreement. Do you believe it is time for South Africa to state its case, join the G4 and therefore advance the case for the reform of the UN Security Council more effectively?
Answer (Prime Minister Singh) It is our ardent desire that the Group of Four and the African Union should work together. This matter has come up for discussion and it is our hope and expectation that our brothers in the African Union will find ways and means to co-ordinate their strategies with the G4.
(President Lula) Africa is welcome to the G4 and we are certain South Africa has to be at the UN Security Council as a permanent member. What we are proposing is something that I think is quite reasonable: the UN Security Council as it stands today does not represent the new geo-political situation in the world
Secondly, there are a lot of new countries that are now in the focus – they have transformed themselves as important countries in their continents and we believe it is necessary for all those who are major representatives of their continents to be represented at the UN Security Council so that when the Security Council makes a decision this decision should be implemented and respected.
We cannot see what happened at the UN with Iraq happen again. If the UN does not have a position to draft a resolution and expect compliance, it loses credibility and is meaningless to have an agency like the UN.
So what we want is to pass the UN reform – there is concensus but there are people who are raising some ideas that we cannot have permanent seats or the right to veto. I am against the veto: no one is superior so no one has the right to veto a collective decision.
Secondly, we are not yet choosing who is going to the UN Security Council. First, we need to establish the criteria for the reform and then with criteria that has been approved in each continent we will choose the countries that want to participate. Brazil makes it clear it wants to participate, as does India. Germany makes it clear it wants to participate as does Japan.
Africa should have at least two representatives because it is a large continent.
So, obviously those are accommodating those seats do not want a change but we believe that the world demands and needs a change in the UN. Multilateral institutions can do much for than they are doing now for peace in a more representative way.
Question The IBSA Declaration talks of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Prime Minister, how does one reconcile and balance it out with domestic political constraints and compulsions?
Answer (Prime Minister Singh) Well, the process of achieving meaningful consensus in India is still a long one.
Question Presidents Lula and Mbeki and Prime Minister Singh, how will this South-South co-operation manifest itself not just amongst the three countries but the rest of the countries of the other continents who are not represented today? And President Lula, when you say that the poor people will not be the dessert on the table of the rich people, is this a new way of speaking?
Answer (President Lula) Just a correction: what you have said, is not what I said – I did not say that the poor will be served as dessert at the tables of the rich. I did not say that. What I said is that we would not enjoy to go to a meeting to eat the dessert while the others have eaten the main course before we arrived. That is a different matter. We do not want to participate only to eat the dessert, we want to eat the main course, dessert and then coffee.
In relation to the agreements and South-South co-operation, we have many fora created in the world in which the different countries from the South participate and IBSA is the movement that was created by three countries. We are still maturing. This is only the second Summit. But we are maturing fast and are already proposing an agreement between Mercosaur-India and SACU. We are proposing an agreement that could benefit lower tariffs for the poorest countries in Africa. We also have an agreement with other countries that are part of the South. So for us, what we want is: to increasingly strengthen South-South relations. I believe we are not well acquainted. I believe we have to intensify relations so that we can one day, achieve the same standard and quality of living that the countries in the North enjoy.
(President Mbeki) IBSA is an initiative between three countries and its first point of focus is co-operation amongst three countries so that together we can pool many things in order to address the common challenges of development, social cohesion, social development, inclusivity, poverty, unemployment and so one. And being able to participate effectively in the global economy.
But indeed as President Lula has said, the India – Mercosaur – SACU agreement already brings in other countries into this process. And indeed, as President Lula has said, we co-operate on a whole range of matters. The question has been mentioned about discussions amongst ourselves on how to speed up the Doha Development Round so it can be concluded as soon as possible and correctly so, to address the matter President Lula has mentioned we are adding our voice to that of the other developing countries with regard to the achievement of those objectives.
And finally, I must say that we have also mentioned this, that we have set up a fund to assist in other developing countries. There is a project in Guinea-Bissau, in Haiti. We are looking at other projects in other countries – indeed, also addressing and ensuring that that fund works properly so that our pooled resources can also assist to respond to challenges that countries that are less developed than us and with fewer resources can also benefit. That is the impact it will have on the issue of South-South co-operation and I’m sure you already know that at the UN in December 2006 an award was given to IBSA because the way in which it is working is in itself a message to other countries of the South that this message of South-South co-operation should not remain at a conceptual and theoretical level but must translate into a practical programme of action such as you see in IBSA.
(Prime Minister Singh) We are three large functioning countries with respect for human rights, the rule of law, three are many similarities between our three countries. Our co-operation seeks to take advantage to these complementarities to bring about a people centred approach to development. It is not directed at other developing countries. In fact, we will use this trilateral co-operation to bring in other countries – Mercosaur, SACU relations with our three countries. Therefore it is a relationship to explore mutual benefits, the potential of co-operation between our three countries, using our strength to help the countries of the South as a whole to gain their rightful place in the committee of nations.
Question President Mbeki and President Lula da Silva, until when will India, South Africa and Brazil need to get acquainted until we see real movement forward of the IBSA objectives? We do not seem to see the timeframe in which the objectives will be achieved.
Answer (President Mbeki) We are very very acquainted with each other. The point that was made, which I think is a very important point: it was really address to yourselves, the media – it is important that the media should assist with regard to communicating with the general public in each of our countries about the other countries. For instance, I can say this here – take the South African press, how much does the South African press cover Brazil? It does not. So the population of South Africa becomes unacquainted with Brazil. How much does the South African press cover India? It doesn’t. So that was the appeal being made. It was not an acquaintance amongst ourselves?
I think this is a genuine appeal because where you have these genuine processes taking place focused on changing people’s lives and people centred development as Prime Minister Singh has just talked about it really is sad that the people with the possibility to communicate to the millions of people ignore that when there are very important developments taking place under their noses.
So with regard to progress, you will look at the documents as we were saying: one of the things you will see is the very rapid expansion of trade amongst the three countries. Any notion that this co-operation among the three countries is not moving is false. This may arise from the lack of familiarity with what is happening. I have just mentioned the fact that we have set up a development fund and the fact that we are already funding projects in poorer countries - Guinea Bissau, Haiti. There are other projects we are looking at in other countries.
So, we have agreed, you will see in the documentation, on the various steps we need to take to advance this co-operation in all sorts of fields.
Prime Minister Singh has mentioned we need to ensure the volume of trade amongst ourselves reached US$ 15 million by 2010. That is a timeframe and you would see it reflected in the agreements reached in the IBSA Business Council. This is not just a sentiment. For instance, in the agreement signed by three companies to set up a joint venture ICT to precisely express this co-operation amongst the three countries.
So I was saying, you might have heard us mention at the close of the meeting that we are meeting in New Delhi in 2008 and the timeframe we have set is that with regard to all of the working groups they have to give some specific reports and seek to secure deliverables by the New Delhi Summit in 2008. That is a timeframe.
We want to focus the 2008 Summit on the challenge of social development so that we do indeed bring together all of the different interventions that are being made so that we are able to say: are we in fact together addressing this challenge of having a people centred society.
So, we know one another very well.
The real real challenge is you people who have this responsibility.
I really do hope you have a look at what is happening because I am quite convinced that what is happening in this IBSA context is very very worthy of proper reporting to the public.
(President Lula) I believe that it is important to travel in time to understand the importance of IBSA. IBSA does not have a timeframe if one day the world no longer needs projects to aid the poorer nations then we will no longer need IBSA.
But let’s see what is happening: South Africa – not long ago, was merely a country recipient of aid from world organizations. Many people had social programmes from South Africa. India, also, had many international movements of solidarity towards India financially. Brazil was in the same situation – a country recipient until very recently. We still have millions of projects of aid from civil society. The change that has happened is that we are no longer countries of recipients of international aid in order to transform ourselves. That is the big idea. That is what is really happening.
We are emerging economies. We have a lot of problems in each of our countries – poverty, we still receive internal criticism from those who say, how is it possible that you are helping Guinea Bissau and Haiti when you have so much poverty in India, Brazil and South Africa?
It is because we are proving that even if we are poor countries, not so poor, but we are poor, we are able to share some of the bread that we have with those who have less bread than we have.
The fact that the UN has given an award to the project of IBSA in Guinea Bissau and Haiti is something to be proud of because we started with very little but we did start on the right track. And Brazil, very soon will be able to give more money as will India and South Africa. And very soon we will have a fund with a reasonable amount of money to help poor people. Therefore if it depends on me, IBSA should last for ever.
Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
17 October 2007