Closing Remarks by Ambassador NM Sibanda-Thusi at the Meeting of BRICS Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs / International Relations on developments in the Middle East and North Africa, 22 May 2015

Honorouble Ministers;
Your Excellencies;
Ladies and Gentlemen

Once more, on behalf of Deputy Minister Mfeketo, I would like to convey the following message from the Government and People of South Africa:

Deputy Minister Bogdanov, thank you for convening this meeting.  I believe we had fruitful discussions on the developments in the Middle East and North Africa region in preparation for the VII BRICS Summit coming up in July 2015.

We believe that as BRICS we should hold regular consultations on the Middle East and North Africa at various venues, including at meetings of multilateral fora.

Deputy Ministers, South Africa is pleased with our discussions on the Middle East Peace Process between Israel and Palestine.  We concur with the meeting, that negotiations between Israel and Palestine on the establishment of a viable Palestinian state within the borders based on 04 June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as a capital should resume as soon as possible. 

We remain concerned about the scourge of violent terrorism and other forms of extremism engulfing the Middle East and North Africa.  In this regard, we remain deeply concerned with the spread of the Islamic State, which is now expanding and touching all of us.  The spread of the Islamic State has reminded us that no-one is immune to threats of terrorism and extremism.  We, therefore re-iterate that we must work together as the international community to contain and defeat the spread of all forms of terrorism and extremism.

On Syria, South Africa is concerned with the dire humanitarian situation affecting innocent Syrians.  We re-affirm that Syrians must be supported in finding a political solution to their crisis.  We urge all external forces to refrain from interfering and exacerbating the situation in Syria.

Honourable Ministers, we urge the international community to support the Government and People of Iraq in their efforts to rebuild that country.  We believe that a stable Iraq will deny all those who believe in terror and extremism fertile soil to fester and grow.

Honourable Ministers, we are pleased that there have been positive developments between the P5 + 1 negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme.  While we express our hope for the conclusion of a final comprehensive agreement, we re-iterate our view that all parties to the NPT have the inalienable right to develop, research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

We express our deep concern over the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.  We call on parties to the conflict to engage in efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict.

Honourable Ministers, I have the honour, on behalf of my Deputy Minister, to express that in South Africa, we managed to resolve our decades-long conflict through all inclusive South African-led negotiations.  We firmly believe that this approach can be followed by countries in the Middle East and North Africa, with external forces playing a positive role.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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