Remarks from India-Brazil-South Africa Ministerial Meeting, Lord Charles Hotel, Cape Town, Sunday 11 May 2008

Opening Remarks by Ministers Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Pranab Mukherjee and Celso Amorim

Remarks by Minister Dlamini Zuma

Minister Pranab Mukherjee
Minister Celso Amorim
Distinguished IBSA Focal Points
Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Members of Delegation
Business Representatives
Representatives of Women’s Forum
Colleagues
Ladies and Gentlemen
Members of the Media

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you on behalf of the government and people of South Africa to the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the India – Brazil – South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue.

Yesterday we also had the pleasure to welcome the leaders and officers of the joint naval exercises which was indeed very exciting and historical.

Since the formation of IBSA in 2003, it is clear that IBSA has gathered unprecedented momentum and the dialogue is beginning to be noticed and to play a role in international affairs.  Our strategic alliance in pursuit of the common interest of developing countries has been noted and offers a unique opportunity not only for trilateral but for global and international co-operation.

Today we are gathered here at Somerset West to take stock and to reflect on progress and challenges since the New Delhi Ministerial meeting and also since the second Summit that took place in Tshwane, South Africa last year.  And off course, we will also prepare for the forthcoming third Summit that will take place in India in October this year.  It is imperative to all of us that the implementation of joint initiatives and agreements take place with the necessary urgency and that we deliver on what the three heads of government have urged us to do before the next Summit. 

As we have witnessed, IBSA has developed to the stage where the Dialogue functions at three distinct levels of interaction – co-ordination of joint positions on important global political issues, on sectoral co-operation on a government – to – government level and also people – to – people co-operation on a non-governmental level.  Good progress has been made on widening co-operation within IBSA as we see the people-to-people with the woman’s forum and the business forum but we still need to ensure that we not only broaden but deepen the co-operation sufficiently.  We need to apply our minds creatively on how we can better streamline our sectoral co-operation through improvement of co-ordination, a clear division of leadership roles per sector, less bureaucracy, and more action and tangible programmes.

We also need to revisit our commitments in certain co-operation areas in order to ensure that the excellent potential that IBSA has to be a catalyst for economic growth, knowledge exchange, and shared prosperity is not lost.  And we do hope that eventually we will have the training arrangements in place but we all know that the final product will have to be agreements, despite what we may now refer to them.

I am very pleased that once again we bear witness to the realisation of our call that IBSA be a forum that is driven by the people, for the people.  In this regard, we have noted with satisfaction the participation of the women and the business forum on the sidelines of the Ministerial meeting and on the sidelines of the 10 IBSA sectoral working groups that have successfully met from the 6-10 May 2008.  These working groups have deliberated on their joint working plans and challenges and the ways forward to unlock possible obstacles.  They will all be presenting their joint reports and action plans and timeframes.  This is what our leaders called for in the second Summit that South Africa has the pleasure to host last year and if we agree we may want to publish some of those action plans and timeframes to make them an incentive for achievement.  During the course of our session today we will listen to progress reports from the representatives of the IBSA Business Council and the Women’s Forum as well as to receive feedback in terms of the sectoral co-operation.  This deepening of our trilateral co-operation to become more concrete and invincible as demonstrated by the first IBSA Joint Naval Exercise which is taking place of the Western Cape coast since the 5th May 2008 and will continue until the 16th.  Yesterday, we were hosted to a cocktail reception on one of the naval vessels that forms part of the exercise.

Ladies and gentlemen and Ministers, the global community is increasingly following developments within the trilateral forum and the potential to influence the global discourse on important developmental issues as well as to export the values of the South to the rest of the world should be maximised.  The outcome of this 5th IBSA Ministerial meeting and the negotiations we have been engaged in especially with regard to the conclusion of the Joint Communique should lay a strong basis for the next Summit in New Delhi.  The communiqué should further amplify the voice of the South on those issues of importance to developing countries such as the reform of global governance institutions to create a more equitable world order, the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals and our strong support for those joint poverty relief projects to which we have jointly committed ourselves to.  And off course, we cannot not talk about food security, energy security, climate change, and sustainable development.  And through the mechanisms like the IBSA Finance Facility Fund for the Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger, South Africa believes that this programme has the capacity to make a noticeable difference in the countries that we have identified.  Our objectives and commitments remain to end to the marginalisation of the countries of the South and for them to utilise the advantages of globalisation.  So we welcome the progress that has been made in terms of the existing projects in Haiti and Guinea-Bissau.  But we urge our institutional machinery to move faster with the implementation of other projects and not allow a situation where funds are blocked in New York to bureaucracy and the lack of urgency to ensure that funds achieve what they are meant to achieve.

In this regard, we look forward to the recommendations of the focal points on the way forward.

In conclusion I would like to emphasise that it is incumbent upon us to ensure that the decisions we take in terms of Ministerial meetings and Summits find practical implementation in our trilateral, regional and global interaction.  IBSA has the capacity to impact on the global arena.  It is our duty to ensure it does.

I wish all of you fruitful discussions and a fruitful stay in South Africa.

Remarks by Minister Pranab Mukherjee

Thank you Madame Dlamini Zuma.

(inaudible)

I am delighted to attend this important meeting of Foreign Ministers of the IBSA Forum.  May I take this opportunity to thank once again our gracious host Minister Dlamini Zuma for the warm welcome we have received and the wonderful arrangements that have been made for us.  We are meeting in this moment, less than one year after we met in New Delhi.  Since the New Delhi meeting we have had a very successful Summit in Tshwane last October.  It was then agreed that the next meeting would be held in New Delhi in October this year.  I want to take this opportunity to thank the focal points and working groups for their preparation of our meeting.  I am happy that they have reached agreement that is forward looking and action orientated.  The time has come for us in IBSA to transform Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) and agreements into real activities and joint projects on the ground.

I am also happy that the civil society segment of IBSA is growing.  This will provide the critical inputs for the IBSA Summit to be held in New Delhi (inaudible) several important MoUs and other documents are to be adopted at the Summit.  This broadening and deepening of our co-operative activities is important.  What is equally encouraging is the (inaudible) in different sectors of our countries to develop IBSA profiles.  We encourage this trend.  At the same time we must take a close look at the areas of co-operation that have already been decided upon but inadequate progress has taken place.  We need to uplift and improve the areas of co-operation amongst ourselves. 

The success of IBSA requires a substantive economic undertaking.  Our leaders have put down the target of up to US$ 10 million by 2010.  I am encouraged by the fact that at the end of 2007 we had exceeded a combined turnover of US$ 10 million.  If you are able to resolve connectivity problems in a timely manner and bring about greater interaction among the business communities it should be able to achieve the set target.  I am also encouraged by the fact that investment is growing amongst us.  This tendency needs to be encouraged.  Economic growth cannot happen in isolation.  It is essential for us in democratic societies to ensure that all sections of society derive benefits from such growth and participate in the growth process.  The three countries are focused on ensuring inclusive growth.  We have already benefitted from sharing experiences and programmes in this regard.  Our three countries are in the process of developing a Social Development Strategy for IBSA.  We must expedite work on this while continuing to strengthen the process of learning from each other’s experiences.

IBSA is not only a unique forum but also brings with it attendant appendages.  It enables us to co-ordinate on crucial issues of direct concern to us.  It (inaudible) to share the benefits of South-South co-operation not only amongst ourselves but also with other developing countries.  Most importantly it allows us to develop our trilateral partnership across the board.  It is for this reason that we attach great importance to this forum and to its successful development and strengthening. 

Excellency, before I conclude, I would like to say how much we feel at home here, just as we feel at home in Brazil.

I thank you.

Remarks by Minister Celso Amorim

I would like to convey my best wishes to all here today.  Everybody has really become like family.  There are those we meet quite often.

I would very much like to make two or three references and observations:  the first of which is that in much the same way as the Ministers have already said, I would like to say how encouraged we feel by being here in South Africa.  I cannot count how many times I have been in this beautiful country that has so much in common with Brazil.  I have always been very well received and have always felt very much at ease.  Not only myself, but I am also certain that President Lula will feel very much at ease in India.

Minister Dlamini Zuma I would like to comment, the idea of a strategic alliance – I really think this does exist between India, South Africa and Brazil.  It is a real strategic alliance and with this peculiarity, which is different from traditional alliances because this is not an alliance against anyone.  It is an alliance in favour of our peoples.  I would also like to say it is in favour of humanity, in favour of a multipolar world that would be more socially just, where democracy would prevail, not just a political democracy but also a social and cultural democracy where all would feel integrated.  This strategic alliance is so strong and promises so much that in reality it almost awakes jealousy and we should not worry about this.  We should not not be friends with others because of our special and privileged relationship amongst ourselves.  I also would like to take advantage of the words you have uttered Minister to talk about the visibility of IBSA because I am very sorry that I personally could not be present during the naval exercises but I think that initiatives of this kind are very important.  It is very good that not only our peoples and the world sees how we are co-operating together.  This visibility and, I have already said this in previous meetings, must be reinforced not only through joint initiatives but also through individual initiatives by each of our countries which would allow a better knowledge of what IBSA is doing, what it promises and what it has as an identity. 

I remember a commentary that was once made about the United States that said that the true nature of the United States was not about race, language, a culture in particular.  It was in some ways an ideology in the best sense of the word.  Ideology has become very weak and is badly utilised but ideology of the US was liberty, freedom and that would identify the US as a nation.  I feel that in IBSA, and I can’t judge in terms of this definition, but I feel that in some sense we have a similar reality – we are not identified by a language, a culture, a single race, but we are defined perhaps by an ideology and an ideology in the best sense of the world – a ideology of democracy, diversity, tolerance, a search for co-operation – this IBSA Forum is a unique forum and we must preserve this forum with this very special characteristic.

It is not often that you can find three different countries, from three different continents, that speak three different languages, with different cultural backgrounds that can really meet together and understand each other.  I do think this is very special and as someone has said, that it is a very tender plant that needs to be watered everyday.  It is here that I wish to maintain the frequency of our meetings at Ministerial and senior officials levels.

Congratulations for the publicity South Africa has been able to give to this meeting.

Brazil, India and South Africa have been identified as countries that can play a constructive role in bringing their joint political weight to different areas and lending legitimacy to different initiatives.  An clear indication of this was the invitation to our three countries to attend the Anapolis Conference hosted by the United States in November last year.  Our countries have no involvement in that conflict and our presence in the region have thus far been limited yet the general perception was that our countries could constitute a helpful force by introducing new ideas and attitudes based on diversity and tolerance.  It is on the basis of this that we decided to contribute US$ 1 million over the next three years from the IBSA Fund. 

In recent years we have witnessed the growing importance and active participate on developing countries in world politics.  This is happening for, among reasons, that we have been able to relate to each other directly and are no longer subjected to the intimidation of richer, more powerful nations.  Since 2003 IBSA has overcome the scepticism of those whose behaviour is inspired by false pragmatism based on a spirit of conformity and submission.  The false pragmatism of those who believe that the alignment would produce new centres of power is (inaudible).  Our pragmatism if of a different nature – based on the relationship that the strong political will (inaudible) can change the course of things.  Institutional global governance has yet to mirror these changes as is the case with the UN Security Council.  I am certain that in this, as in other instances, IBSA will be able to contribute to a more favourable multipolar world.

IBSA has been working closely together to ensure a speedy outcome of the Doha Development Round.  We are in the middle of a crisis provoked by financial mismanagement and food shortages.  Both have originated from practices of the rich nations.  Now, more than ever rich countries are under increasing obligation to remove their agricultural subsidies. 

Over the past five years IBSA has not been short of innovative and daring ideas reflecting the dynamism of our societies.  We should continue to work towards establishing a free trade agreement between Mercosaur, SACU and India which takes into account different needs and symmetries.

I thank you.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

11 May 2008

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