Remarks by Ministers Dlamini Zuma and Winston Peters on Conclusion of Bilateral Discussions Union Buildings, Pretoria Monday 18 February 2008

Remarks by Minister Dlamini Zuma
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we are very happy to welcome Minister Peters to our shores and we have had a very fruitful discussion with him.

We have discussed both bilateral issues and some international issues.  We have discussed the potential that exists between our countries that we have not yet tapped and also concrete areas of co-operation including students visiting New Zealand for training purposes as well as on working holidays.  We have discussed issues around cultural exchanges that will obviously include sporting exchanges particularly to try and ensure special co-operation in rugby.  We had good discussions.

We discussed regional issues in Africa like Kenya and so on.  We also discussed some of the issues in the Pacific region and our common heritage around the Antarctic.

So we have had very good wide-ranging discussions.

We have agreed that South Africa will support New Zealand’s candidature for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council in 2014.

We have also discussed when South African diplomats will be based in Wellington and we think this will be possible by 2009.  We will this year begin to make preparations.

So you can see we have had very wide ranging discussions.

I thank you.

Remarks by Minister Winston Peters

Thank you very much Minister Dlamini Zuma.

I am delighted to be in South Africa and I am also very grateful for the Minister having given me her time and her experience and knowledge on countries we share a concern for - like Kenya – any country with democratic traditions and aspirations for a better future for those people.

But we have a lot of work to do between our two countries for our futures including people to people relations, arts and culture, training and skills and on our international engagements where we share positions on the contributions we can make.  I suppose, we from New Zealand look at South Africa knowing how crucially important it is in the African Union and on this continent where we can join South Africa to improve the economic and social future of the people here and on the wider continent.  We will seek to do this.

We also have issues, for example, Antarctica, climate change, environmental sustainability where peoples futures are concerned and we share similar views here as well.

That said, I am here to learn and ensure I leave South Africa will a more committed and enhanced relationship, with a more firm plan to put things into place in 2008 and for the years beyond.

Thank you very much.

Questions and answers

Question           Ministers, did you discuss Kosovo with this issue dominating world headlines today?  What are your views on Kosovo’s declaration of independence?

Answer                (Minister Dlamini Zuma) Well, to be honest, we did not discuss this matter because we had a lot else to discuss. 

As you know, this is a development that has taken place only yesterday and our government has to discuss it and see what the implications are.  So this is a matter that we are seized with and as I say, our government as a whole has to discuss it and decide on how to proceed.

(Minister Winston Peters) New Zealand’s position is as follows: we do not make statements of recognition of countries and/or new nations as a result of domestic declarations.

Our regard for them can be inferred by the way our connections and/or relations with them develop over the years but we do not jump in on day one and make that decision on day one even though this was perhaps a likely probability given the trend of developments over the last few years.

Question           Ministers, you discussed Kenya – is there a way in which the two countries will assist Kenya or was it more a statement of observation?

Answer              (Minister Dlamini Zuma) Well, we discussed what was happening and also discussed what assistance might be needed in the medium to long term.  Because, in the short term, there is a team led by Kofi Annan, discussing the immediate needs.  Clearly, even in their own statement, they have said they have immediate as well as medium to long terms things that have to be done.

That is why we think most of us will be most useful in that period rather than now because as I have said, there is a team looking at the now.

Question           Ministers, regarding Zimbabwe: President Bush in Tanzania yesterday said that Zimbabweans deserve to have free and fair elections.  These are just around the corner.  What prospects do you see for such free and fair elections?

Answer              (Minister Dlamini Zuma) Well, the view of the South African government is that if the Zimbabweans implement everything that have agreed upon during their negotiations on matters that had kept them apart – if they implement the laws passed by Parliament around security, information, media and all those laws – as you are aware, there was a battery of laws that the opposition wanted in place.  They have now all agreed on these matters.

The important thing is that all those things should be implemented in the run-up to the elections and if those are implemented, the prospects for free and fair elections should be good.

(Minister Winston Peters) Unless an election is free and fair, it is not an election – it is a jack up, a construction, organised deceit – so we would support free and fair elections and it is only in the light of such an event that one could have positive thoughts for Zimbabwe.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

18 February 2008

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