Remarks from India-Brazil-South Africa Ministerial Meeting, Lord Charles Hotel, Cape Town, Sunday 11 May 2008
Closing Remarks by Ministers Dlamini Zuma, Pranab Mukherjee and Celso Amorim
Remarks by Minister Celso Amorim
Minister Dlamini Zuma, Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the environment of our meeting has been so fraternal, it has been so friendly that in truth it is really difficult to conclude. What we can really say is that everything that has happened during the work that has been done today confirms the vision of a real strategic alliance, an alliance that has endeavoured for the progress of our peoples, the feeling that we really need to reaffirm our relationships, deepen our relationships with civil society, that the interventions that were done here particularly in the women, business and trade fora do confirm the interest that we would like to see reflected in all sectors of society.
I think that part of our task here is particularly to try and disseminate IBSA because it really has the capacity to reach many sectors of society, certainly in our Brazilian society many do not know what IBSA is about and what its potential is and I would like to say once more how happy we are with this meeting because once more we have tried to develop visibility of IBSA, we have had a cultural festival, it was a very important one in the North east of Brazil.
Until New Delhi …
Remarks by Minister Pranab Mukherjee
Foreign Minister Dr Dlamini Zuma, Minister Amorim and all members of the delegation,
We have come to the end of our Ministerial Dialogue on the entire spectrum of relations. This has been an extremely successful process which has enabled us to review our activities and lay the foundation for the expansion of our future.
I am happy that this has been done, as in the past, in a very cordial atmosphere. Thank you Dr Dlamini Zuma for conducting this meeting with utmost professionalism and competence. The Ministerial communiqué that is being issued reflects the substance of our agreement on international and regional political issues but also on important international economic issues. More importantly, it replaced the promises we have made in a number of vital sectors as part of our trilateral co-operation. Finally, it also outlined the road ahead of us in other sectors as we collectively prepare for our next Summit in New Delhi.
As I see it, IBSA has completed an important section of its journey in the past five years … we have been able to move working together hand in hand to a stage where the concept has begun taking concrete and tangible form. I think we all like what we see today. At the same time, we are fully conscious that we have a great deal of work to do before this journey can be considered to have reached its desired destination. This journey is naturally important for India, Brazil and South Africa. It should be of equal significance and relevance for the development as we establish IBSA as a kind of model for co-operation among the countries of the South. To repeat the words of my colleague Minister Amorim, IBSA has just become increasingly visible on the international horizon.
It is gratifying to note that all officials are preparing intensely for the next Summit and have begun to look at the post New Delhi Summit scenario – we would need to focus on IBSA beyond 2008.
I should end by pointing out that our three governments have invested a considerable amount of political will in realising the objectives of IBSA. IBSA is work in progress. We are confident that by continuing to consolidate and intensify our dialogue and co-operation we would scale new heights in the months and years to come.
On behalf of my delegation and on my own behalf I would once again like to express my warm thanks and appreciation to our South African hosts and to you particularly Minister Dlamini Zuma.
I am looking forward to welcoming you all in New Delhi very soon.
I thank you.
Remarks by Minister Dlamini Zuma
Thank you very much.
As my two colleagues have said, this meeting, as have others, have taken place in a very cordial and friendly environment. It makes it much easier to reach agreements in that way. I would agree with all they have said and perhaps to add that in the past few days, including what is going on with the navy, has given us sufficient wherewithal for the forthcoming third IBSA Summit in New Delhi and as preparations gather momentum I am confident that we have emerged strengthened by the ideas and deliberations. This strength, I believe, will carry us forward as we ensure that the steps we have identified firmly address the challenges we have demonstrated and off course, we are looking forward to New Delhi but as the Minister himself has said we have already begun to look beyond New Delhi and therefore, we have our work cut out for us. We have enough work to do. The important thing now is that what we have agreed is now done.
I would like to thank all of you who have travelled across the two oceans to be here today.
Questions and answers
Question Ministers, on the question of the IBSA Facility Fund, you have identified vulnerable countries, with the food crisis being as it is, do you see any role that the Fund can play?
Answer (Minister Dlamini Zuma) Well, on the question of the Facility, as you know, it is a Facility that is looking at having projects in certain countries we have identified and we work together with the UNDP. Right now we do not have an aspect of that Facility being an emergency relief facility but I am quite sure that our three countries do have emergency humanitarian facilities that we use. I am sure that in time that aspect of emergency relief will be considered. We have not discussed this.
(Minister Mukherjee) I would just like to add to what my distinguished colleague Minister Dlamini Zuma has said: this Fund is for developmental projects. This food crisis that has emerged must be addressed internationally and I do feel it falls outside the constraints of the IBSA Trust Fund which is meant for developing projects in developing countries. As Minister Dlamini Zuma has pointed out we all have arrangements to help our neighbours in terms of emergency relief as we are now helping with Myanmar. We would respond appropriately where necessary.
(Minister Amorim) The two countries that have thus far received assistance from the IBSA Fund are surely amongst the poorest in the world. I would also like to add that in relation to the food crisis, those who suffer the most are the poorest because of the lack of income. In Guinea-Bissau we have a project linked to agriculture, in Haiti a project that provides income for the poorest sector of society. All of this has an impact. Please look also at paragraph 33 of the communiqué. I would also like to say, because I am also in charge of trade and trade negotiations, the three countries here are amongst the leaders of the G-20 – the most significant impact on the food crisis would be the removal of off subsidies because this is what prevents developing countries from producing their own food. I have just returned from Sao Tome and Principe where I was told that rice had not been their staple food but because they received handouts from countries, they changed it to rice and now they cannot pay for the rice that they once used to receive for free. The most important contribution to the food crisis would be the removal of agricultural subsidies which can be achieved through the Doha Developmental Round.
Question Minister, regarding Zimbabwe, there are concerns that people may not be able to vote in the run-off elections. Is there anything IBSA can contribute to this situation?
Answer (Minister Dlamini Zuma) Clearly, although we did not discuss the specifics, none of us would approve of violence during the elections. We would all like to see peaceful elections. As you know, there is a team that the Facilitator did send to Zimbabwe to assist in trying to ensure the elections are peaceful and in fact, in will do no one any good, if there is violence during the elections.
Question Ministers (inaudible)
Answer (Minister Dlamini Zuma) Maybe as you can imagine we would not have discussed the changes in the ANC as such but we did discuss that there will be a new President in SA and that the work of IBSA would continue and if we also look at the policies that emerged from Polokwane, there are no major deviations from the policies this government has pursued. There are no contradictions with what we are doing. Governments come and go, Presidents come and go, but the countries remain, the ANC President himself has indicated there will be no changes. We are continuing. There will be a Summit in India this year and we are planning a Summit in Brazil next year. So there are no deviations in what we are doing.
Question Ministers, the joint naval exercises – why did you conduct such exercises? Is there a possibility of some treaty?
Answer (Minister Mukherjee) This type of joint exercises are not aimed at entering into some kind of military agreement. We are having these joint exercises and they were synchronised with the Ministerial meeting. As far as India is concerned we have such exercises with many countries with a view to establishing defence and security co-operation. It is for purposes of education and training.
(Minister Dlamini Zuma) As Minister Amorim commented in his opening remarks, he said this is a very unique alliance and not an alliance against anyone. It is an alliance for democracy, economic development, all the values we hold so dearly amongst the developing countries. But it is important to have these naval exercises. Clearly there is a lot that the three navies have learnt from one another. They learn some of the strengths of each other so that they can strengthen themselves. They have said regarding 2010 we have a lot to learn because during this time we have to ensure our countries are safe. It was a good exercise. It was one of the biggest naval exercises since we received our new submarines. There is no way that we are planning to have a military alliance with NATO. We are not against anyone. We are for ourselves.
(Minister Amorim) I agree with everything that has been said. Part of it is also the visibility of IBSA for the public. I don’t think that a group of sociologists meeting in a room causes such attention, but a group of boats assembling with their flags causes attention. It is also about the confidence we have in each other. We have co-operation in science and technology but this is also liked to the defence co-operation in particular areas. This therefore enhances relations. But finally, we all have a common interest in keeping our maritime roots safe, secure and peaceful.
Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853
Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
11 May 2008