Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the media.
In our briefing today, we will focus on the outcomes of the recent SADC Extraordinary Summit on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the meeting yesterday between President Zuma and his Mozambican counterpart, the emergency aid provided by South Africa to countries in the Sahel region and an update on preparations for the 5th BRICS Summit.
1. Extraordinary SADC Summit
The Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of Southern African Development Community (SADC) took place in Maputo, Republic of Mozambique, on 8 February 2013.
The summit was chaired by H.E. Armando Emilio Guebuza, the President of the Republic of Mozambique and the Chairperson of the SADC.
The summit considered the political and security situation in the region, in particular the latest developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Summit commended:
(i) the Republic of Angola, Republic of Malawi, Republic of South Africa, Republic of Namibia, United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Zambia, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Mauritius and the Republic of Zimbabwe for pledging to contribute to the Neutral International Force (NIF); and
(ii) continued collaboration between SADC and the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) on the deployment of NIF in the eastern DRC.
The Summit urged the African Union Commission, SADC/ICGLR to urgently engage the United Nations on the deployment of the NIF in the eastern DRC and reiterated its decision to expedite the deployment.
Furthermore, the Summit welcomed the UN Secretary General’s initiative towards bringing peace and stability in the eastern part of the DRC and commended the UN Secretary General for the proposed Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the eastern part DRC and the Region.
2. President Zuma’s meeting with President Guebuza
The President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, hosted His Excellency Mr. Armando Guebuza, President of the Republic of Mozambique, in Pretoria on 12 February 2013.
During the meeting, President Guebuza briefed President Zuma about the floods that have devastated parts of Mozambique. Furthermore, President Guebuza expressed his gratitude for South Africa’s rescue operation and humanitarian assistance during the floods by availing two helicopters and two fixed wings aircraft.
President Zuma expressed South Africa’s solidarity with President Guebuza and the people of Mozambique during these challenging times. Furthermore, President Zuma reiterated his confidence that the affected families and the entire population of Mozambique will unify in responding to these floods, as they have done previously.
3. Humanitarian assistance to Mali
We are pleased to announce that the first consignment of humanitarian aid to Mali from the Government of South Africa arrived in Bamako this Tuesday, 11 February 2013. The consignment consists of 1 000 tons of maize, 1 000 tons of sugar and 42 tons of milk powder. The remaining aid is due to leave South African ports in the next few weeks.
South Africa remains concerned about the security of the invaluable historic manuscripts that document Africa’s contribution to scientific evolution and the reported damage caused to the Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research in Timbuktu a few weeks ago.
4. Fifth BRICS Summit
In conclusion, we would like to provide some update on our preparations for the 5th BRICS Summit.
The Summit, which is scheduled for 26 to 27 March 2013 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban, is fast approaching with a number of high-level events taking place as part of the run-up to the Summit.
Just yesterday, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane hosted her counterpart, Minister Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation. During the Official Visit, the two Ministers discussed, amongst other things, preparations for the upcoming 5thBRICS Summit and the State Visit by President Vladimir Putin, which is scheduled for 28 March 2013.
On 19 February 2013, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will receive her counterpart, Mr Yang Jiechi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in Cape Town. It is expected that the upcoming BRICS Summit will be high on the agenda of the bilateral consultations.
This Friday, 15 February 2013, the BRICS Deputies (Directors-General level) will meet in Moscow to discuss the draft report of the BRICS Joint Working Group on the idea of a New Development Bank.