Statement by South African President Jacob Zuma during the Joint Press Conference by BRICS Heads of State at the Third BRICS Summit Sanya, Hainan Island, People's Republic of China

Your Excellency, President Hu Jintao;
Your Excellency, President Rousseff;
Your Excellency, President Medvedev;
Your Excellency, Prime Minister Singh;
Honourable Ministers,
Ambassadors and High Commissioners;
Ladies and gentlemen;

We have just concluded the 3rd BRICS Leaders Summit, which has been a great honour for South Africa as it was our first one as a member.

We thank the Leaders for a warm welcome and support.

Our presence here today underscores the changing world order. 

The original concept of BRIC has evolved into a multi-sectoral diplomatic force, promoting qualitative and quantitative changes in global governance.

Although our BRICS partners are leading economies in the world, South Africa nevertheless brings unique attributes which complement the BRICS mechanism. 

At a political level, our partners appreciate our unique value system which derives from our history and a particular experience.

We believe that they value the independent outlook we contribute to issues related to international peace, security and development.   

At an economic level, they recognise South Africa as a major economic player in a growing Africa. The country leads the continent in terms of mineral and industrial output, electricity generation, infrastructure, sophisticated financial markets and service industries.

As you may be aware, our BRICS partners are now the largest trading partners of both Africa and South Africa. 

They realise the exponential growth potential of our regional market.

There will be expanded opportunities with the imminent establishment in a few months' time of the Free Trade Agreement between regional economic communities, namely Southern African Development Community, the Common Market of East and Southern Africa and the East African Community.

It is just natural that our partners will look at South Africa as a spring board into the region and us providing guidance on economic development opportunities. 

A critical avenue for cooperation also arises from the fact that all BRICS countries serve on the UN Security Council this year, as permanent members such as China and the Russian Federation or non-permanent members such as Brazil, India and South Africa.

This augurs positively for enhanced cooperation efforts.

South Africa and other BRICS member states will also continue existing collaboration in various international organisations and formations such as the UN, the G20 and the India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum.

South Africa also views the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 as important for South-South interaction, especially within the framework of the UN.

South Africa seized the opportunity of today's meeting to brief the BRICS leaders on developments in the African Union's peace and security and economic programmes.

We provided a briefing on the situation in Libya and the importance of the African Union Roadmap, which is designed to assist the Libyans towards a lasting political solution, which should be based on the will of the Libyan people.

We underscored our support for multilateralism and the United Nations system, but are also agreed on the need for the reform of the United Nations including the UN Security Council, to make it more representative and effective.

We also agree on the need for the reform of international financial institutions in order to promote a just economic world order.

We shared our expectations for the 17th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which South Africa is hosting at the end of the year.

South Africa wants to ensure a legally binding climate change agreement that will govern the world's response to the increasingly visible effects of climate change.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We look forward to collaborating with our BRICS partners to deepen cooperation to benefit our respective peoples, but also in the interest of ensuring a more equitable and better world for all.  

I thank you

14 April 2011


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