H. E. Ms. Nkosazana C. Dlaminni Zuma, Minister for Foreign Affairs
29 September 2008
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NKOSAZANA DLAMINI ZUMA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, pointed out that the focus of the sixty-third session of the General Assembly was the global food crisis, climate change and reform of the United Nations. The confluence of the food, fuel, financial and climate change crises posed the real threat of undermining the progress made by developing countries in the struggle against poverty. Due in part to a failure to fully implement the global partnership for development in the form of trade, aid and debt relief, it was clear that many countries in sub-Saharan Africa would not meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Recalling that Heads of State and Government had adopted a special section of the Millennium Declaration on the Special Needs of Africa, she expressed hope that the high-level meetings organized by the Secretary-General this year would act as a catalyst to spur the world into a greater sense of urgency in that regard. In particular, there was a need for a massive transfer of resources through development assistance, investment, trade, technology transfer and human resource development to help meet the Goals. Special attention should be paid to Goal 3 on the empowerment of women.
Returning to the food crisis, she said the African Union’s Green Revolution needed partnerships to succeed. Support for NEPAD would be a major contributor to the struggle against poverty. The Doha Development Round had stalled, despite seven years of negotiations, and South Africa called for a rededication of the Assembly’s efforts to ensure its successful completion. It was also to be hoped that the climate change talks to be completed in Copenhagen in 2009 would set the stage for more concerted actions by all countries.
Stressing her country’s support for fundamental reform of the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions, she said critical global challenges could not be addressed effectively when many countries and regions were left out of key decision-making processes. The Security Council would have more legitimacy and credibility if it was expanded in both the permanent and non-permanent categories. It remained a travesty of justice that Africa, which constituted a large portion of the Council’s work, was not represented in the permanent category. As a country due to complete its term as a non-permanent Member of the Council this year, South Africa congratulated the Secretary-General for appointing the African Union-United Nations panel to explore financing modalities for African Union-led peacekeeping missions.
Turning to the situation in the Middle East, she noted that her country had participated in the 2007 Annapolis Conference with great expectations, and would continue to support all international efforts to help the people of Palestine and Israel find lasting peace and establish a viable Palestinian State. South Africa would also continue to work with the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Côte d’Ivoire in their efforts to consolidate peace and democracy. As for Zimbabwe, South Africa hoped its leadership would soon finalize aspects of the Power-sharing agreement; the South African Development Community (SADC), the African Union and the SADC facilitator stood as guarantors of that agreement. In addition, South Africa would do whatever it could, both bilaterally and within the African Union and the United Nations, to help the Sudan find peace, and to seek a just, mutually acceptable and lasting solution to the question of Western Sahara.