South Africa — European Union Strategic Partnership — Joint Communique from the ministerial meeting in Kleinmond, South Africa
Within the framework of the South Africa- European Union Strategic Partnership, the eighth Ministerial Troika was held in Kleinmond, South Africa, on 16 January 2009. The meeting was co-chaired by H.E Dr Nkosazana DLAMINI ZUMA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, and H.E. Mr Karel SCHWARZENBERG, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and President of the Council of the European Union.
The South African delegation also included Mr Martinus VAN SCHALKWYK, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mr Mandisi MPAHLWA, Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob DAVIES, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, and Mr Nhlanhla NENE, Deputy Minister of Finance.
The EU Troika delegation included Mr Louis MICHEL, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid of the European Commission and Mr Joakim STYMNE, State Secretary for International Development Cooperation of Sweden.
1. BILATERAL RELATIONS
Implementation of the Joint Action Plan of the SA-EU Strategic Partnership Ministers reaffirmed their common commitment to promoting peace, security and stability in the world, and in Africa in particular. Ministers welcomed that the first SA-EU Summit, which took place on the 25th of July 2008 in Bordeaux, provided a landmark in EU-South Africa relations and elevated the Strategic Partnership to the highest political level. Further, they noted the outcomes of the meeting of the Joint Cooperation Council of 3 and 4 November 2008. In this context, Ministers took stock of the broad range of areas of cooperation between South Africa and the European Union.
Ministers noted the ongoing cooperation on energy matters, particularly in the area of clean coal technology and carbon capture and storage. Ministers welcomed the Terms of Reference defining the scope and objectives of the SA-EU Energy Dialogue Forum as agreed in December 2008. The first meeting of the Energy Dialogue Forum should take place during the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Ministers recalled the Bordeaux Summit statement for Parties to initiate bilateral SA-EU negotiations to adapt existing air services agreements between South Africa and the EU Member States in order to bring them into conformity with community law on the single aviation market in the EU, and that discussions on cooperation on broader transport issues will continue in parallel to these discussions. In this regard, Ministers noted the impact assessment being carried out by South Africa.
Ministers encouraged further technical contacts between the competent departments and endorsed the Terms of Reference defining the scope and objectives of the SA-EU Maritime Transport Dialogue.
Ministers welcomed the structured bilateral dialogues that have been established. In this context they endorsed agreed Terms of Reference for bilateral dialogue and cooperation on energy, space, migration, health and maritime transport. In this regard, Ministers issued a Declaration on Deepening Policy Dialogues and Cooperation in the Context of the SA-EU Strategic Partnership.
Furthermore, Ministers welcomed ongoing work to establish structured dialogues in social issues, information and communication technology and education and training. Ministers further recalled the desire to deepen cooperation in other areas agreed upon with a view to fully implementing the TDCA and the Joint Action Plan of the SA-EU Strategic Partnership.
It was further agreed to hold a first meeting between South Africa and the EU Political and Security Committee (PSC) in a troika format during the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU.
2nd SA-EU Summit
The Parties agreed to hold the second summit in South Africa during the second half of 2009 under the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
2. REGIONAL & GLOBAL ISSUES
EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agreement
Ministers reiterated the objective that the SADC-EU EPA negotiations support regional integration and development in Southern Africa. They also agreed that South Africa and the EU should intensify their cooperation and address issues to ensure a conclusion to the EPA that is acceptable to the parties. In this regard, they agreed that both sides should consider the implications of the EPA on current processes of regional integration in SADC. They agreed that both sides should seek to find mutually acceptable solutions to the concerns raised in the negotiations. South Africa and the EU remain committed to reach an outcome that consolidates SACU’s common external tariff, which constitutes the essential underpinning for the proper functioning of the customs union.
Global Financial Crisis
Ministers expressed their concern at the global financial crisis, and affirmed that all efforts should be made to reduce the negative impact of the crisis on the developing world, and especially Africa.
Ministers discussed the current financial crisis and its impact on the global economy in general, and on the economies of Africa and the EU in particular. They noted with concern that the negative impacts of the crisis are likely to worsen the macroeconomic fundamentals of African economies; exacerbate the impact of the recent food price crisis, and reverse the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
Ministers agreed that international financial stability requires a more efficient, coherent and adequately regulated international financial system. Ministers welcomed the outcome Declaration document of the G20 Summit in Washington which calls for a comprehensive reform of the Bretton Woods Institutions and reaffirms the development assistance commitments made and the importance of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Ministers called for a better African representation in international efforts and fora to ensure that the interests and needs of African countries are duly taken into account.
Ministers therefore welcomed globally coordinated efforts to review the international financial and monetary architecture and global economic governance. In this respect Ministers stressed the importance of jointly addressing these issues in the context of the next G‑20 meeting in April 2009.
Environment and Climate Change
Ministers re-emphasised the issue of global climate change and the need to address the issue as a matter of urgency. It was again highlighted that Africa is one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change and that it was essential to redouble efforts to mitigate the consequences on the developing world in general and Africa in particular. In this regard it was acknowledged that the impact of climate change would have serious implications for meeting the Millennium Development Goals and for food and water security for the people on the African continent.
Ministers noted the Joint Africa-EU Declaration on Climate Change and stressed the importance of harmonising and aligning this initiative with already existing climate change processes within AMCEN (The African Ministerial Conference on Environment). Furthermore, they noted that the EU-Africa Ministers of Environment meeting is scheduled to take place in February 2009 on the margins of the UNEP Governing Council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.
Implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy
Ministers welcomed progress made in the implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and its first Action Plan (2008–2010) and in particular, commended the Joint Experts Groups for the work done so far. The EU welcomed South Africa’s active involvement in the implementation of the First Action Plan of the Joint Strategy. Ministers called on all parties to expedite efforts with a view to attaining tangible results within the timeframe of the first Action Plan, particularly the elaboration of roadmaps with concrete timetables for the second meetings of the Joint Expert Groups. Ministers also stressed the need for adequate financial resources to effectively implement the First Action Plan and in this regard called on both parties to intensify efforts to identify financial requirements, sources of funding and procedures for accessing these financial instruments. They moreover underlined the necessity to involve Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Non State Actors, Parliaments and the Private Sector in the implementation of the partnership.
Ministers expressed concern at the ongoing global food crisis, and agreed on the need to further strengthen the agricultural sectors in Africa and the developing world in general as a long-term response to the crisis. In this regard, Ministers welcomed the establishment of the € 1 billion Food Facility for a response to the food crisis in developing countries.
3. PEACE & SECURITY ISSUES
The meeting exchanged views on the current situation in Zimbabwe. Ministers expressed their concern at the prevailing situation and its negative impact both on the Zimbabwean population and on the sub-region.
Ministers in particular expressed concern over the ongoing cholera epidemic, its consequences for the affected both in Zimbabwe and in neighbouring areas. In this regard, they would welcome increased cooperation between the Zimbabwean authorities and the international community.
Ministers expressed grave concern at the ongoing violence and abductions and recognised that a political solution to Zimbabwe’s problems is critical to bringing an end to this cycle.
They called on the Zimbabwean parties to act with urgency and cooperate in good faith towards the successful conclusion of the negotiation on the basis of the 15 September Power Sharing Agreement and avoid unilateral decisions which contradict the spirit of the Agreement. Ministers observed that the Agreement can extricate Zimbabwe from its current socio-economic challenges. In this respect, they urged SADC and AU to persist in their efforts supporting negotiations that should reflect the will and choice of the Zimbabwean people as expressed in the 29 March 2008 elections.
Great Lakes Region
Ministers exchanged views on the latest developments in the DRC with a particular focus on the current conflict and instability in the Eastern DRC and called for a ceasefire between the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the Mai-Mai militia, Le Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) and Les Forces armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) in order to allow humanitarian assistance to the growing number of displaced people. They condemned the human rights violations and crimes committed against civilians by all parties, in particular by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The Parties supported regional, continental and international efforts to find a lasting political solution for peace, stability and development in the Eastern DRC and the Great Lakes Region, based on the Nairobi communiqué and Goma Peace Agreement.
Ministers expressed support for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions in efforts to secure peace in the DRC and welcomed the renewal of MONUC’s mandate for another year, as well as the clear priorities set for the mission by Resolution 1856, including the protection of civilians.
Ministers underlined the need for all Parties to urgently engage in an inclusive political process to find a lasting solution to the Darfur conflict and to ensure full respect for humanitarian law and humanitarian access. Ministers welcomed the efforts of the Joint UN-AU Chief Mediator, Djibril Bassolé, and the Qatari sponsored peace initiative. Ministers called upon the Government of the Sudan (GoS) and the Darfur armed groups to commit without delay to a lasting ceasefire and a ceasefire monitoring mechanism with support of the UNAMID. They called for concrete follow-up and implementation of the Sudanese People’s Initiative commitments to further peace in Darfur. Ministers agreed to work closely together for an early resolution of the conflict in Darfur and the promotion of long-lasting peace and reconciliation in Sudan as a whole. Ministers emphasised the necessity of putting an end to impunity in Darfur.
Ministers underlined the strategic importance of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) for the peace and security of the whole of Sudan and the region. They took note of the progress made in the implementation of the CPA, particularly the appointment of members of the National Electoral Commission. They further expressed their support for the establishment of the Abyei administration in line with the Road Map for the return of Internally Displaced People’s and the implementation of the Abyei Protocol. Ministers stressed the responsibility of the parties to the CPA for the full implementation of the peace agreement.
Ministers noted the existing cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC) pertaining to Sudan and the Darfur conflict. The EU stressed the independence of the ICC and its role to promote international justice. South Africa and the EU would work to reduce to a minimum any negative impact there might be, stemming from an approval by the Pre-Trial Chamber of the application by the ICC Chief Prosecutor, on efforts being made towards peace in Darfur.
Ministers commended the continued efforts of the UN to bring about peace in Somalia. They stressed their support for the Djibouti Process that remains a viable way to provide peace and security for Somalia. In this regard, they welcomed the signing of the documents on Modalities for the Implementation of the Cessation of Armed Confrontation and a Joint Declaration on Common Political Aims by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) on 26 October 2008. Ministers noted the recent resignation of the President of Somalia and urged all Somalis to pursue an all-inclusive national reconciliation process and in this regard called on all Somali stakeholders to resolve the issues of concern according to the Transitional Federal Charter.
Ministers also expressed support for the strengthening of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and called for more contributions to the mission whose role will be crucial following the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops.
Ministers denounced the prevailing piracy situation on Somali shores and welcomed the involvement of the EU and other countries in dealing with piracy in accordance with relevant UNSC Resolutions, and the successful naval missions carried out by Operation Atalanta in December 2008 along the Somali coastline. However, the issue of piracy is part of the continuing political crisis in Somalia, which should be dealt with for the achievement of a long-lasting sustainable resolution to the problem of piracy.
In this regard, Ministers welcomed the establishment of the UN Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia on 14 January 2009 and noted that piracy is a symptom of a wider lack of security and rule of law in Somalia and continues to constitute a threat to regional stability. Furthermore, piracy is symptomatic of the overall situation in Somalia, and they noted that the Group concluded that the prevalence of illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping off the coast of Somalia adversely affects the Somali economy and marine environment.
The parties deplored the humanitarian situation in Somalia and called on the parties to the Somali conflict to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law and human rights.
Middle East Peace Process
Ministers are deeply concerned over continuing violence in Gaza between Israel and Hamas and especially the humanitarian tragedy and the suffering of ordinary citizens. Ministers stressed the urgency of a halt to rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel and an end to Israeli military action. They noted with grave concern the inordinately high casualty rate of women and children in this conflict, as well as the use of incendiary weapons in densely populated areas. Ministers further noted with concern the recent attacks on UN buildings and humanitarian convoy and called for a strict respect for international humanitarian law.
Noting that a dire humanitarian crisis had existed in Gaza even before the latest conflict, Ministers pledged to redouble their efforts to assist the Palestinian people. Only a full and immediate ceasefire will allow the delivery and distribution of the large quantities of humanitarian aid that Gaza desperately needs and for the resumption of basic services.
Ministers strongly believe that a viable Gaza economy is essential for a sustainable peace. In this respect the Parties call on Israel to fully open its border crossings with Gaza to allow the resumption of the flow of commercial goods and people.
Ministers welcomed the adoption of UNSC Resolution 1860 (2009) and urged all parties to implement it fully.
The meeting urged all Palestinian groups to continue with their reconciliation talks to establish a Palestinian Government, fully representative of the aspirations of the Palestinian people.
Both Parties continued to call for the resumption of the negotiation process inaugurated at the Annapolis meeting in 2007 so that its goals can be realised.
Ministers recognised progress made in Iraq and urged the Government of Iraq to intensify efforts towards national reconciliation and nation building while they expressed the hope that the Iraqi provincial elections, scheduled for the end of January 2009, would be conducted peacefully and in a free and fair manner, reinforcing democracy and the rule of law. Ministers noted the approval by the Iraqi Parliament of the Withdrawal from Iraq Act, which governs the presence of foreign forces in Iraq after 31 December 2008. Ministers agreed to continue to focus their efforts on supporting and promoting a central role for the UN in assisting Iraq in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
The Parties exchanged views regarding the ongoing dispute over the Iranian nuclear programme and expressed their commitment towards a peaceful resolution of this issue, within the context of the UNSC Resolutions and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Parties reaffirmed the right of all States Parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, in conformity with the Treaty. Ministers agreed that questions remain over Iran’s nuclear programme and called on Iran to fully comply with its obligations, UNSC Resolutions and the IAEA.
Ministers recalled the importance of consolidating stability and achieving reconciliation and noted the enhancement of the European perspective in the Western Balkans. In this respect, Ministers recognised the role of the United Nations, the EU and of cooperation with international partners. Ministers welcomed the EU‘s willingness to step up its involvement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The EU briefed South Africa on the successful launch of the rule of law mission, EULEX, as part of the efforts to strengthen institutions and the rule of law in Kosovo. Ministers encouraged further focusing on the protection of minorities, the fight against corruption and organised crime, economic reform and the improvement of living conditions.
Council Of The European Union