Address to the 6th Ministerial Meeting of the Zone for Peace
and Cooperation in the South Atlantic Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad Republic of South
Africa, 18 June 2007, Luanda, Angola
His Excellency, the
Minister for External Relations of Angola,
Your Excellencies, the Ministers
of the Member States of the Zone,
Let me firstly
state my delegation's sincere appreciation for the opportunity to be here amongst
the Member States of the Zone of Peace and Cooperation. South Africa had the privilege
to join the Zone in 1994, albeit as the last Member.
As we gather today
it is important to recall that the Zone at the 50th Plenary of the United Nations
General Assembly, in the first year of its existence unequivocally reaffirmed
"that the elimination of apartheid and the attainment of self-determination
and independence by the people of Namibia, as well as the cessation of all acts
of aggression and subversion against States in the Zone, are essential for peace
and security in the South Atlantic region, and urges the implementation of all
United Nations resolutions pertaining to colonialism, racism and apartheid."
Namibia is independent and South Africa is a democracy. Our successes were a result
of international solidarity. It is therefore our responsibility to make a contribution
to ensuring that the Zone becomes a strong foundation for South-South solidarity
in our fight for peace, sustainable development and democracy.
presence here in Luanda, is also further testimony to the values held dear by
the Members of the Zone, for it is also as a result of the Members of the Zone's
persistent pursuit of peace and stability that contributed significantly to the
end of the civil war that our hosts Angola fought in order to achieve the peace
and stability that its people now enjoy. I wish to congratulate the Angolan government
and people for the excellent hospitality and organization of this conference.
very fact that we are meeting in Angola underscore some of the key principles
of our Zone, inter alia, the inter-connectedness of peace, development and democracy.
Angola after 27 years, of externally engineered war, in five years is making
excellent progress economically, politically and socially.
A peaceful Angola
will make a major contribution to the development of Africa and the continuing
re-vitalization of our Zone.
My delegation also extends our appreciation
to the outgoing Chair, Argentina, for so capably holding the reins of the Zone
since it hosted the last Ministerial in Buenos Aires in 1998. We also congratulate
Uruguay for hosting the Ministerial meeting in 2009. We also want to express our
appreciation for the work of Safer-Africa to making this a successful conference.
The principles adopted by our Zone 20 years ago are
more relevant today.
As we look to the other regions of the world, the peace
dividend appears to be slipping from within the grasp of the international community.
International peace and stability continues to be threatened by events in the
Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Iranian nuclear issue. We in the Zone however,
can lay claim to several successes of which many of our own members have reaped
the benefits of stability and democracy. Some of us are embarking on post conflict
reconstruction, others have given their citizens the choice through the ballot,
and some of our members are about to embark on multiparty elections. The DRC is
at peace and currently consolidating its democracy. Liberia, Sierra Leone and
Guinea-Bissau have successfully traveled down the path of peace, democracy and
reconstruction and we are confident that the Ivorian peace-process is on track.
However challenges on our Continent still remain in Sudan (Darfur) and Somalia.
We are confident that the African Peace and Security Council will successfully
intervene to bring about peaceful solutions to these conflicts. We welcome the
commitment of our partners from South America to intensify their co-operation
with Africa in our efforts re conflict prevention, resolution and post conflict
We are acutely conscious that there can
be no true and sustainable peace until the war on poverty and under-development
has been decisively won, both in the Zone and elsewhere. Our engagement in the
Zone must at the very least and in no small measure contribute meaningfully to
the efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals. We have the opportunity
presented to us by the Zone, to aspire to some of the ideals that our leaders
urged at the Millennium Summit in New York in 2005. Key amongst these was the
target to reduce global poverty and for African countries to reach the Millennium
Development Goals by 2015.
The reality is that most of our countries in
Africa will not meet the MDGs. Clearly there is no political will in many of the
developed countries to implement the lofty ideals they proclaimed at the historic
Millennium Summit and other international gatherings.
The recent meeting
of the G8 once again announced an increase in ODA to Africa. The reality is that
many reports indicate that despite the commitments made at the Gleneagles Summit,
actual ODA has decreased. South-South co-operation is therefore absolutely vital
for us in Africa to meet our MDGs.
Our respective peoples cannot expect
anything less than efforts by our governments to promote the easy movement of
goods and services through our respective borders - key elements that promote
sustainable growth. Our peoples cannot expect anything less than our best efforts
at ensuring that the environment that our children inherit, will be one that can
also sustain their well-being, that the valuable natural resources which most
of our Members are endowed with, would benefit amongst others in the South, our
own membership. We must also not fail our respective peoples by allowing the depletion
of our resources, both on land and in the seas, or through the illegal activities
of dumping toxic waste on our shores.
The efforts at
revitalizing the Zone can only signal the era of hope that we in Africa look forward
to that we South Africans aspire towards when we speak of a better Africa and
a better world. We are fortunate to have our brotherly countries from South America,
which have co-joined through the waters of the South Atlantic in our quest to
seek a better life for all.
We have, as members of the Zone, wisely and
consciously chosen the path through multilateralism, to aspire towards this goal.
The passing of a resolution on the Zone in the General Assembly only served to
strengthen our hand in fostering cooperation amongst ourselves on issues that
we have jointly identified to be of critical importance to us, whilst also reaffirming
our faith in the centrality of the United Nations as the arbiter in the collective
conduct of international relations.
Our peoples cannot expect anything less
than for us to use the cooperation arrangement through the Zone to share key expertise
and technology in ensuring adequate food supply and nutrition for our children.
Our peoples cannot expect anything less than our best efforts at sharing knowledge
and best practice in the life-saving medical environment thereby ensuring that
the spread of preventive and curable diseases are timeously arrested. The vulnerable
groups in our societies, especially the women and children cannot continue to
be the victims of conflict.
Our peoples cannot but expect our best efforts
in ensuring that this region is free of weapons of mass destruction, narcotics
and illegal small arms and weapons.
Our commitment to a Zone without weapons
of mass destruction remains consistent and we can be proud that we are a Zone
without weapons of mass destruction. In sharp contrast other Zones still have
weapons of mass destruction and other are seeking to become Zones with weapons
of mass destruction.
Our Zone's collective voice must become stronger to
demand a world without weapons of mass destruction, and respect for various non-proliferation
A challenge that now occupies centre stage in our foreign policy
is the fight against terrorism which is intrinsically linked to our fight against
international drugs and criminal syndicates. Our collective voice must be stronger
in all international fora to mobilize support to defeat the militaristic approach
to fight terrorism. We must also ensure that the fight against terrorism is not
a pretext to weaken multilateralism and role back fundamental gains in civil liberties,
human rights and democracy, even in the developed countries. The benefits of our
coming together today and in the future will all be lost should we not be successful
in developing and harnessing the human capital that we all share through our respective
We all correctly believe that the United Nations has to change
the manner in which it conducts its business. We all believe, correctly, that
the United Nations should entrench both in spirit and deed, democratic governance,
transparency and an equitable and accountable system that addresses the concerns
of all its Members. We believe that we in the Zone on the African continent, together
with our South American partners, can illustrate the benefits of these values
through our collective support for the work and objectives of the African Union.
We also believe that the New Partnership for Economic Development (NEPAD) offers
a useful mechanism for our membership in the Zone to promote our respective economic
We need more consultations to ensure that the Review of the
Law of the Sea and the Antarctic Treaty serves the interest of the South.
our collective voice on the need for reform and expansion of the UN Security Council,
without which the United Nations reform process remains incomplete, demands action
within our region that projects a Zone that is both stable and peaceful. The achievements
of the Zone in this regard must, as part of the broader developing South, reflect
our commitment and ability to represent the security interests of the developing
world in the Council.
The Luanda Initiative and Plan
of Action is timely in that it provides leadership on the way forward for the
activities of the Zone - leadership that tells each of us what we should achieve,
by when and it also proposes how we should go about monitoring such achievements.
My delegation lauds these efforts of the Angolan government and stands ready to
play its own role alongside the Zone's Members in order to realize these noble