Remarks by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Nkoana-Mashabane on the occasion of the First Plenary Meeting of the South African Council on International Relations (SACOIR), OR Tambo Building, 16 July 2015.

Distinguished Members of SACOIR,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I should like to welcome you to this very First Plenary Meeting of the South African Council on International Relations (SACOIR) and congratulate you for being the first group of distinguished individuals to be selected to serve on this prestigious civil society platform to discuss our foreign policy and its implementation. 

At the outset, I would like to mention that this platform was created for you to engage us on our foreign policy and you should therefore utilise it maximally to present us with policy options. This is your platform and I want you to use it effectively by bringing the various voices of civil society into the foreign domain.

SACOIR was created as a result of our experiences in the last two decades of our democracy. During this period, we realised that in order for us to succeed in our engagements with the rest of the world, we also need to democratize our foreign policy.

We also learned that foreign policy is not something that is foreign to the realities of our country hence we speak about foreign policy as an extension of a domestic policy.

This is simply to say that foreign policy has a huge role to play in assisting in tackling the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality facing our country.

As you are aware, a foreign policy that does not speak to the domestic realities is doomed to failure.

We further learned that increasingly foreign policy making is no longer preserve of the few and privileged in a society. 

Distinguished Members of SACOIR,

Your role in this Council will therefore be as follows:

  • To become the voice of the constituencies with which you engage in your daily activities;

  • To advise me on foreign policy matters and your assessment of its implementation;

  • To generate public debate and further create understanding of foreign policy; and

  • To become a consultative body for the regular review of South Africa’s foreign policy.

I would like to pledge my unwavering support to you in executing this important foreign mandate on behalf of civil society in general.

I wish you well as you join us on a long journey of ensuring that the South African foreign policy addresses the dreams and aspirations of our people as succinctly captured in the Freedom Charter, and projected in the National Development Plan (NDP).

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
Pretoria
0084

 

 

 

 

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