Statement by H.E. Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Preparatory Ministerial Meeting XV Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non Aligned Movement, Sharm El Sheikh, 13 July 2009

Your Excellencies, Ministers, and Ambassadors,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to join others in thanking our host the Arab Republic of Egypt for the excellent arrangements and the friendly hospitality shown to us.  I would also like to use this opportunity to congratulate Egypt as the incoming Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement. We realize that with the challenges facing the world in the Twenty-First Century the task at hand is immense.  We are confident that with your leadership the political, economic, social and humanitarian challenges facing NAM member countries as a result of global challenges.  I would like to assure Egypt of South Africa’s full support for the task ahead.

South Africa would also like to convey its appreciation and gratitude to Cuba, for the outstanding manner in which it has steered our Movement with distinction over the past three years.

Chairperson,

South Africa is of the strong view that our august Movement must continue to be better organized, coordinated and coherent to effectively deal with the current and immediate crises that face humanity, specifically food security, the flu pandemic, fuel price increases the financial and economic as well as the threat of climate change.  Our struggle to eradicate poverty and hunger cannot be won if the crises stated above are not mitigated and overcome.

We must remain united in all our endeavours to rid our planet of weapons of mass destruction and achieve a world free of nuclear weapons and stop the elicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

A strong revival of the Movement on the international scale of a peace Movement is vital.  Our Movement and other organizations that stand for peace and development e.g. Socialist International, have to do a lot to create conditions for the world and our countries to enjoy peace.  The solidarity for peace cannot come without active participation of grass root organizations in all formations.  Without these humanity cannot and will not realize the realms of the founding fathers that created the UN and those that gathered in Bandung to create our esteemed Movement.

Human dignity must be restored as it is a human right we cannot allow to be compromised.

Chairperson,

Another essential pillar of our foreign policy is the promotion and strengthening of South-South co-operation.  It is our view that the co-operation between countries of the South will contribute towards the speedy recovery of the world economy.

The strengthening of South–South relations has in recent years developed into high level intercontinental engagements, a development that bodes well for the strengthening of solidarity and development of interdependence amongst developing countries in addressing common socio-economic challenges related to poverty, education, health, population, women and children.  Another key aspect in this engagement is the co-operation in the scientific, technical and trade fields.

Moreover the crises require us to enhance our political solidarity when addressing the need for the reform of the multilateral architecture.    It is incumbent upon us to ensure that all multilateral institutions improve their delivery to all the people of the world, especially those living in the South and abject poverty.

Chairperson,

South Africa’s foreign policy is shaped by a strong belief in multilateralism.    It is through active participation in the multilateral system of global governance and the partnership it creates that we are able to address these global crises.  At the centre of the multilateral system is the United Nations.

South Africa consequently works actively towards global political and socio-economic stability and security within the multilateral system through which we promote development, security, human rights and international law.

In 2005 we all agreed that the UN, especially the Security Council, is in urgent need of reform.  Today, having just completed a term as Elected Member of that body, South Africa is more convinced than ever that we need to redouble our efforts at reforming the Council.

The Security Council is undemocratic in its composition and in its functioning and its early reform is a priority in order to ensure that the Council fulfils its mandate of securing international peace and providing security to the most vulnerable.  We are, and will remain, actively engaged in the negotiations currently taking place aimed at its reform.

Chairperson,

Within the global system of governance South Africa continues to reaffirm its commitment to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and is striving for the strengthening of the mechanism for the protection of, as well as the acknowledgement of, economic, social and cultural rights on par with all other human rights, including the right to development.

South Africa remains strongly committed to the goals of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control.  Our positions in this regard arise out of the Government’s commitment to a policy which covers all weapons of mass destruction and extends to concerns about the proliferation of conventional weapons.  These policy positions are integral to and a direct extension of South Africa’s commitment to democracy, human rights, sustainable development, social justice and environmental protection.

South Africa endorses the current international debates that draw attention to the full spectrum of human vulnerabilities as they relate to women’s lack of access to and control of resources, continued food insecurity, climate change, the current global financial and economic crises, and the threat of conflict to the building of sustainable peace on the Continent and beyond.  Within this context it remains important to highlight the plight of women and children, as they are disproportionally affected.

Chairperson,

It is therefore encouraging for my delegation that the Movement supports the lifting of economic sanctions against our neighborly country of Zimbabwe.  We are equally pleased that the NAM Summit will dedicate a session of the Committee on Palestine to a discussion of the resolution of the Palestine problem.

Lastly my delegation is also appreciative of your support for the Nelson Mandela International Day. I am convinced that we will also have your support when we table a Resolution in this regard in the General Assembly during its 64th Session.

We believe there is much work to be done if we want to ensure better lives for the billions of people this Movement represents.  South Africa is convinced that we can achieve these goals, but only if we do so in partnership, first of all with each other, but also with the developed world.

I thank you.

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