Remarks by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, on the occasion of the media briefing on South Africa’s hosting of the 25th African Union Summit, 08 June 2015, OR Tambo Building, Pretoria
Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the media,
As you are all aware by now, South Africa was designated by the African Union through a decision of the Assembly held in January 2015 in Addis Ababa to host the 25th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government, which takes place this week.
The last time South Africa hosted this important gathering was in the year 2002 in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal Province, where the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was transformed into the African Union (AU). The AU was launched with some of the following objectives in mind:
- To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the peoples of Africa;
- To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States;
- To accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent;
- To promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples;
- To encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
- To promote peace, security, and stability on the continent;
- To coordinate and harmonize the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union;
- To work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent.
Like other Member States of the AU, South Africa is committed to the realisation of these objectives, and we are prepared to contribute in whatever way possible to ensure that the AU is able to fulfil its mandate. Our own foreign policy vision is that of “an African Continent which is prosperous, peaceful, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and united, and which contributes to a world that is just and equitable.”
South Africa is an integral part of the African continent. Our future is inherently linked to that of the rest of the African continent. We are a member of the African family of nations, the AU, and we are fully committed to the success of the institution.
I wish to draw your attention to the fact that, although South Africa is hosting the Summit in the form of providing facilities and creating a conducive environment for fruitful deliberations, we do so whilst adhering to the established practices and norms of the AU.
The Republic of Zimbabwe was elected at the January 2015 Summit to be the chair until the January 2016 Summit and, as such, the Republic of Zimbabwe is presiding over the Summit as chair, starting with the Meeting of the Permanent Representatives Council which is currently underway in this very building, to be followed by the Executive Council and the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, both of which will be held in Johannesburg. A detailed programme has been made available to yourselves and is available on the DIRCO website.
This Summit is retaining the theme of the January Summit, which is “2015: Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development Towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”. The theme is in line with our aspirations as a continent as contained in Agenda 2063, and is also very relevant considering that it takes place midway through the decade 2010-2020, which has been declared by the AU as the “Decade of Women”.
The meeting of the PRC is expected to come out with a draft agenda for the Summit, which will be presented to the Executive Council for consideration and approval. I may nevertheless give an overview of some of the matters that are expected to be discussed. These include:
- Agenda 2063 and its First Ten Years Implementation Plan;
- The state of peace and security on the Continent
- Women’s Empowerment and Development (in line with the theme);
- Continental integration; and
- Operationalising the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDCP)
This year marks the 70th Anniversary of the formation of the United Nations (UN) and the deadline for the UN Millennium Development Goals. It is expected that the AU will use the occasion of its 25th Summit to reiterate the call for the UN to reform, paying particular attention on the role and level of representation of African states in the UN system.
The Summit will be attended by Heads of State and Government, including Presidents, Deputy Presidents, Prime Ministers and Deputy Prime Ministers. Others who are also expected to attend include Ministers, Special Envoys and Ambassadors. The leaders of Cuba and Palestine, countries that are known to be friends of the African continent, through thick and thin, have confirmed attendance.
As the host country for the Summit, we are confident that all arrangements are in place and that the environment is conducive for what we believe will be a successful Summit.
I wish to conclude by reiterating that South Africa is ready to welcome the AU and the leaders of the African continent. We have made available all the necessary arrangements for fruitful discussions; and we are ready as a country to also take up our seat amongst the other member states of the AU and make a contribution towards a united, prosperous, peaceful, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist Africa.
I thank you.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
O.R. Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road