Opening Remarks by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and Chairperson of the SADC Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, H.E. Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, on the occasion of the opening session of the Ministerial MCO meeting, Monday, 20th July 2015

Honourable Ministers,
Heads of Delegations,
SADC Executive Secretary,
Directors-General, Permanent Secretaries and Chiefs of the Army and Police;
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners;
Senior Officials,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Members of the media here present,

It is my honour to welcome you to the 17th meeting of the SADC Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

The Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation is an essential body that is entrusted with the maintenance of peace, stability and security in our region, but also forms an integral part of our efforts towards regional integration and development.

The SADC Treaty commits all its Member States to “consolidate, defend and maintain democracy, peace, security and stability” in the region. Our region can only be successful if there is peace and stability.

Honourable Ministers,

Your presence here today is a clear demonstration of our collective and unwavering commitment to working towards a region that is peaceful, stable, secure and prosperous.

We gather here this morning at a time when our region enjoys relative stability with the exception of a few challenges that face three of our sister countries. Even in these countries, our glorious Organisation, SADC, remain fully engaged in efforts to assist its fellow members.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are quite pleased to report that in the past eight months, six countries in the region held general elections -- all of which were declared peaceful, credible and free and fair. It is noteworthy that SADC Member States continue to hold elections on a regular basis and adhere to the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic elections. This is a demonstrable sign of a maturing and deepening democratic culture in the region.

Honourable Ministers,

During our meeting, we will receive reports from our officials who have been meeting here for the past three days. Their report will cover the political and security situation in the region and other issues.

I would like to, once more, welcome you all. I am confident that we will have constructive deliberations as we prepare our report for the August 2015 Summit in Botswana.

I thank you

ISSUED BY THE DEPATMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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