Media Briefing by the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Marius Fransman, 21 September 2011, Cape Town

Good morning ladies and gentlemen,

We have called this media briefing to outline some new developments regarding the South African government’s international relations programme.

Specifically, we will focus on the following matters:

  1. New developments regarding Libya

  2. The recent SADC Troika Meeting held in Madagascar;

  3. The ongoing 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly;

  4. The recent SA-EU Summit held at the Kruger National Park;

  5. Status update on preparations for COP17/CMP7; and 

  6. Upcoming international visits

 1.  NEW DEVELOPMENTS REGARDING LIBYA

1.1.  By now, you may already be aware that the South African government has noted and welcomed the decision taken yesterday, 20 September 2011, by the African Union (AU) to “recognise the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the representative of the Libyan people”.

1.2.  The pronouncement by the Chairperson of the AU, His Excellency Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasongo, President of Equatorial Guinea, followed a briefing from the Ad Hoc Committee of the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) regarding the developments in Libya. The briefing was based on the outcomes of the meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council held in Addis Ababa on 26 August 2011 and the meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Libya held on 14 September 2011 in Pretoria.

1.3.  At both meetings, the AU encouraged the Libyan stakeholders to form an all-inclusive transitional government that would work towards the promotion of national unity, reconciliation and democracy and urged the NTC to protect all foreign workers, including AU workers.

1.4.  The leadership of the NTC, in its letter to the Chairperson of the Commission on 05 September 2011, provided assurances stressing their commitment: (1) to the African Continent; (2) to give priority to national unity and to bring together all Libyan stakeholders, without any exception, to rebuild the country; and (3) to protect all foreign workers within Libya, including African migrant workers. These commitments were in line with the provisions of the AU Roadmap.

1.5.  The AU’s decision to recognise the NTC was taken collectively after consultations. Accordingly, the South African Government recognises the NTC as the representative of the Libyan people as they form an all-inclusive transitional government that will occupy the Libyan seat at the AU.

1.6.  It should be stressed that South Africa, through the AU Ad Hoc Committee, remains ready to offer its full support in this respect and to the overall efforts to stabilize the situation, promote democracy and reconstruction; and encouraged the Chairperson of the Commission to expeditiously take all steps required for the AU to play an active role in the ongoing efforts in Libya, in line with relevant AU Peace and Security Council decisions.

1.7.  The Government of South Africa would also like to further reiterate its readiness and commitment to work with the United Nations, the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the European Union, and NATO, to ensure a coordinated support to the Libyan people.

2.  SADC TROIKA MINISTERIAL MEETING 

2.1. The SADC Ministerial Committee of the Organ Troika fielded a mission to Madagascar from 11 – 17 September 2011.The mission was mandated by the SADC Summit held in Luanda, Angola on17 August 2011.The mission comprised of the representatives from the Republic of South Africa as Chair, the Republic of Zambia and the United Republic of Tanzania.

2.2.  The mandate of the mission was to engage the political stakeholders to fully implement the roadmap as amended by the decisions taken by the SADC Summit in June 2011 and subsequently reiterated by the Luanda Summit as a matter of urgency, with a view to finding a lasting solution in Madagascar. The Mission was supported by the SADC Mediation Team and the Executive Secretary.

2.3.  After extensive consultations with political stakeholders, it merged that there was sufficient consensus for political stakeholders to sign the roadmap as amended. To this end, the Troika Mission to organize the signing ceremony which continued into the early hours of the morning of 17 September 2011. Ten of the eleven political stakeholders signed the roadmap and nine other supported the roadmap.

3.  66th SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

3.1.  President Jacob Zuma is currently leading a South African delegation at the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA66).

3.2.  Some of the key focus areas for the South African government at the UNGA66 include (1) progress on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), (2) the global financial and economic crisis, (3) climate change, (4) reform of international institutions which include the UN itself, (5) promoting the African Agenda, (6) peace and stability in the Middle East as well as (7) promoting South-South relations.

3.3.  Palestine

With regard to peace and stability in the Middle East, South Africa calls upon the international community to support Palestine in its efforts towards statehood, which South Africa recognised in 1995.

South Africa has indicated that it supports the Palestinian intention, in line with the decision of the African Union made at the recent Malabo Summit

Ultimately, whatever transpires, it remains crucial for the Palestinians and the Israelis to return to negotiations on final status issues.

3.4.  Other noteworthy engagements at the UNGA66 include President Zuma’s scheduled address the General Assembly later today, 21 September 2011. The theme for this year’s session is: “The role of mediation in the settlement of disputes by peaceful means.”

4.  SOUTH AFRICA-EUROPEAN UNION SUMMIT

4.1.  The 4th SA-EU Summit took place on 15 September 2011 in the Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga. The Summit reviewed the rapid expansion of the bilateral relationship between South Africa and the EU, manifested by a strengthened Strategic Partnership and growing cooperation in a number of areas.

4.2.  In its assessment of the implementation of the Joint Action Plan, the Summit welcomed, amongst other positive developments:

  • The effective implementation and increased ownership of the European Union’s development assistance programme for South Africa and the excellent relationship between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and its South African partners.
  • The launch on 14 September 2011 yesterday of the Primary Health Care Programme, worth € 126 million, aimed at increasing life expectancy, reducing maternal and child mortality and supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis.
  • The successful cooperation in the area of science, technology and innovation, (including the recent supporting seminars to this Summit on minerals and mining and climate change research), as well as on environment and sustainable development including green growth, climate action and biodiversity.
  • The consistent progress in our space cooperation, also involving the South African National Space Agency and the European Space Agency, especially the advanced preparations for the extension to South Africa of the European Geographic Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS), a platform which will significantly enhance global navigation satellite system services in South Africa.

4.3.  The Summit also deliberated on a number of strategic matters, including Infrastructure Development, Development Cooperation, Global Issues, G20, Climate Change and Rio+20, Regional Issues, EU-SADC EPA Group negotiations, Africa-EU radio astronomy cooperation , Political and Security issues, Sudan and South Sudan, Zimbabwe as well as Middle East and North Africa.   

4.4.  The full Summit declaration is available online and copies have been made for your easy reference. The 5th SA-EU Summit will take place in Brussels next year, 2012.

5.  COP17/CMP7

5.1.  South Africa as incoming COP17/CMP7 President, arranged an informal Ministerial consultation meeting as mandated by the Cancun Agreements to facilitate the work required for the preparations of COP17/CMP7. The meeting started on Monday, 5 September 2011 with consultations by Stakeholders, followed by a Negotiators’ meeting on 6 and 7 September 2011. The Ministerial segment took place on 8 and 9 September 2011. Some 21 Ministers participated and 43 countries were represented.

5.2.  The meeting considered Finance and Technology development and transfer as means of implementation, adaptation and mitigation, as well as the state of readiness to deliver on the operationalisation of the Cancun Agreements. Ministers also touched on the outstanding political issues which were not addressed in Cancun. A number of valuable inputs were received where political guidance was given to the negotiators.

5.3.  A Pre-COP meeting has been scheduled for 20 and 21 October 2011 to take place in South Africa. This will be the last opportunity for Ministers to consult informally on relevant outstanding political issues in order to give political guidance to their negotiators before COP17/CMP7 takes place in Durban on 28 November to 9 December 2011.

5.4.  For Durban to be a success, the following key factors will be necessary:

  • Agreement on operationalisation of agreements reached in Cancun IN 2010.
  • Second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol; and
  • A framework on a future legal climate change agreement. 

5.5.  The next formal inter-sessional Negotiators’ Meeting under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place in Panama City, Panama, from 01 to 07 October 2011.

6.  UPCOMING OFFICIAL VISITS

6.1.  Official visit to the People’s Republic of China

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is scheduled to undertake an official visit to the People’s Republic of China from 27-30 September 2011 at the invitation of Vice President, Mr Xi Jinping. The main objectives of the visit are to strengthen and consolidate political and economic relations between South Africa and China.

6.2.  Official visit to the Republic of Mongolia

My colleague, Deputy Minister Ebrahim I Ebrahim, is to undertake an official visit to the Republic of Mongolia on 23 September 2011.The visit will take place within the context of expanding bilateral and multilateral relations, and to increase economic cooperation between the two countries, especially in mining-related fields.

That brings us to the end of the briefing.

Thank you.

For further information, please contact Nelson Kgwete on 076 608 8567 or 012 351 1105

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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21 September 2011

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