Transcript copy: Joint Media Briefing between Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and the Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg, Thursday 17 April 2008, Union Buildings, Preptoria

Question: Madame Deputy President how would you describe the relations between Norway and South Africa?

Answer:    (Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka) It is one word: Excellent. But just based on our discussions today where we looked at climate change, Millennium Development Goals as well as our international cooperation, especially trilateral cooperation on the continent.

I am sure the Prime Minister will say a bit more about the area that we focused on especially because of today’s trip, which is on climate change - the fact that they have chosen to work with us in such a detailed manner in this, it is part of building what is already very good relations. I would be the first one to say that we are looking for more and stronger economic cooperation because we can always use more Norwegian investment, as I was saying. And of course even though our trade is quiet robust we think we can encourage our private sector to do more.

Comments by Prime Minister Stoltenberg

I would like to take this opportunity to express some general point of view. First of all I would like to say how grateful I am to be able to meet with the Deputy President and to develop the bilateral relationship between South Africa and Norway. This is a new sign of the very excellent relationship there is between our two countries. It is a long standing relationship dating back to the Apartheid time when Norway was a strong supporter of the movement for freedom and democracy. We are very impressed about the developments in South Africa – we have seen strong economic growth and we have seen the reconciliation and the development of a democratic state.

We would like to develop further the bilateral relationship between South Africa and Norway – we would like to develop economic ties, we have a match-making programme which we believe we can improve and develop concrete projects within investment and trade business. We see the potential within energy, within tourism, within many other sectors.

The main issue during our talks today have been in climate change and energy and we just signed this Joint Declaration on Energy and Climate Change. The main message from Norway is that we believe that we have to create the situation or framework where we do not have to choose between energy and the environment but we have to reconcile energy and environment. And we see that there is an increasing demand for fossil fuels, for coal, for oil and for gas. Many countries, like South Africa, are in need for more electricity, more energy, and they are going to use coal and other fossil fuels to provide them with the energy that they need.

We believe that the technology of carbon capture and carbon storage is key because by implementing carbon caption and storage one can increase energy production; provide electricity to countries like South Africa and at the same time being able to reduce the emission of Greenhouse gases and CO2.

We discussed this morning with SASOL. We visited the Secunda plant and we saw the great potential we can utilise by implementing carbon caption storage because then we can capture the CO2 and re-inject it into the ground. And what we agreed on, both in the discussions with SASOL this morning but also with the Deputy President during the talks now, is that Norway and South Africa, we are going to explore the potential of cooperation. We agreed on having some representatives from the different ministries involved in South Africa and experts from Norway meeting and then to look into the potential of how we can develop the cooperation when it comes to carbon caption storage between our two countries. Norway is ready to assist, to take part in geological and technical assessments, and feasibility studies to see how we can develop carbon caption storage in general and in South Africa in particular.

In addition I think South Africa and Norway are very close and we are very much in the same position when it comes to the need of creating institutional framework, including carbon caption storage into the Kyoto mechanisms carbon trading. So we can mobilise the financial incentives, the financial flows to finance large scale carbon caption storage in South Africa and other countries.

This is an area where we think we can combine political cooperation, cooperation within the environment because there is great commercial potential when it comes to energy and carbon caption storage in our two countries.

We also discussed different other topics – the Millennium Development Goals, child mortality, maternal health, which we agree, are a great concern and we are going to mobilise more resources to try to reach the MDGs – that is going to be the main topic at the SADC Summit in Mauritius this weekend and I am going to meet with the SADC leaders and also with President Thabo Mbeki – and it is an important issue in the bilateral cooperation between our two countries.

Another issue we discussed is the African Agenda. Norway is strongly involved in the peace and reconciliation efforts as well as humanitarian assistance in a number of African countries – like in the Great Lakes, the Horn of Africa – Burundi, Sudan and Uganda. There we are involved in humanitarian and political assistance. Furthermore Norway supports the efforts of South Africa in Burundi and we are actively involved through the Peace-building Commission and our UN Ambassador. We have increased our humanitarian aid to the country and to the peace efforts.

The Norwegian government and myself are deeply concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe. (President Robert) Mugabe must respect the results of the Parliamentary elections and the results of the Presidential elections have to be published without any delay. We will press for that to happen but also urge South Africa and other countries in the region to put pressure on Zimbabwe and (President Robert) Mugabe to respect the results of the elections and to publish the election results as soon as possible. We agreed also on these issues and I think it was a very fruitful discussion.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

17 April 2008


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