Statement by the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim, on international developments, OR Tambo Building, Pretoria, 25 July 2013
Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for joining us.
In our briefing today, we will focus on (1) political developments in South Sudan, (2) upcoming elections in Zimbabwe, (3) Minister Nkoana-Mashabane’s visit to South America and (4) the inauguration of the new President of Iran.
1. Political developments in South Sudan
South Africa has noted with concern the current internal situation in South Sudan, which has manifested recently in the removal of the Vice President and the Secretary General of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), and the dissolution of the entire Cabinet.
South Africa calls for calm in the entire South Sudan, especially among the different communities and urges all communities to exercise restraint.
South Africa calls on the leadership of South Sudan not to allow the dissolution of the Cabinet to impact on the progress of the on-going negotiations with Sudan, as well as the progress recently achieved by South Sudan in addressing her socio-economic challenges.
South Africa hopes a lasting solution to the current problems between South Sudan and Sudan will be found in the near future, through peaceful negotiations.
2. Elections in Zimbabwe
The Summit of the SADC Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation plus Mozambique, which was held in Pretoria on 20 July 2013, considered the political and security situation in the region and took a number of decisions.
On the Republic of Zimbabwe, the Summit was pleased to note that all the political parties have committed themselves to ensuring that the forthcoming elections are held in a peaceful environment. The Summit encouraged the Government, all political parties and leaders to continue with these commendable efforts which will help realise credible elections.
The Summit commended the Government of Zimbabwe for extending an invitation to SADC Member States to deploy election observers and the manner in which this Observer Mission has been received in Zimbabwe.
The Summit commended H.E. Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa and SADC Facilitator, for his tireless efforts in ensuring that the Zimbabwe political stakeholders hold successful elections.
South Africa welcomes the fact that the overall atmosphere remains calm as no major instances of violence or intimidation have been reported.
The success of the elections in Zimbabwe will contribute to an improvement in the regional political and security situation. This will create positive conditions for socio-economic development, contributing to an improvement in the quality of life for the people of Zimbabwe and the region.
3. Visit to Brazil and Argentina
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will undertake a Working Visit to Brazil and Argentina between 30 July and 01 August 2013.
In Brazil, the Minister will co-chair the fifth session of the South Africa-Brazil Joint Commission with her Brazilian counterpart on Tuesday, 30th July May 2013. The Joint Commission is a structured mechanism to manage and monitor bilateral relations between the two countries.
The visit to Brazil will confirm our view that good bilateral relations with Brazil remain fundamental in the success of our other formations such as BRICS, IBSA and our actions in the G20 etc.
In Argentina, the Minister will co-host the 4th Session of the South Africa-Argentina Bi-National Commission (BNC) with her Argentinian counterpart, scheduled for 01 August 2013 in Buenos Aires.
The fourth meeting of the BNC takes place in accordance with a Bilateral Agreement signed between South Africa and Argentina in September 2005.
The fourth BNC present the two countries with a platform to, amongst other things; share our experiences in the UN Security Council as Argentina is currently a non-permanent member for the region for the 2013/14 period.
4. Inauguration of the new President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will undertake a Working Visit to Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, on 04 August 2013 to attend the inauguration of Dr Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s new President. Dr Rouhani was elected in presidential elections, which took place on 14 June 2013.
President-Elect Rouhani has already been congratulated by His Excellency President Jacob Zuma, who expressed the hope that bilateral relations between South Africa and Iran would be consolidated under his leadership.
President Zuma also requested Dr Rouhani to give priority to resolving all outstanding issues with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as far as Iran’s nuclear programme was concerned. Doing so would not only allow Iran to reclaim its rightful place in the international community, but it would also result in the lifting of international sanctions, which have caused immense hardships to the Iranian people.
The Minister is expected to re-emphasise these messages in her engagements with the Iranian authorities, while at the same time demonstrating South Africa’s desire to give new impetus to bilateral relations.
In October 2013, South Africa will host the Eleventh Meeting of the South Africa–Iran Joint Commission. The Joint Commission with Iran is one of the longest running structured bilateral mechanisms that South Africa has with any country.
South Africa maintains a friendly relationship with Iran, even though the international sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic have made trade increasingly difficult.
One of the effects of these sanctions was that South Africa had to end its oil imports from Iran in June 2012. The Joint Commission will allow the two Governments the opportunity to take stock of relations and to consider means in which bilateral ties could be expanded.
For more information, please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, 082 884 5974
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road