December 17, 2001
Transcript of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov's Remarks at Joint Press Conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Africa Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma Following Talks with South African Leadership (Pretoria, December 15, 2001)
I would like to express my profound gratitude to Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and our South African colleagues for the hearty welcome and attention that have been accorded us here.
As to the atmosphere of our talks, I can add that first of all we attach special importance to the initialing of the Treaty on Friendship and Partnership which has just taken place. This document is called upon to consolidate, and make forward-looking, the cooperation existing between our states.
As has just been said, we in the course of the talks reaffirmed the similarity of our approaches to key international issues. This concerns the strengthening of the role of the United Nations, promotion of strategic stability in the world, the reinforcement of solidarity in counteracting the new threats and challenges with which humanity has been faced today, as well as the overcoming of the adverse consequences of globalization and others.
Readiness was expressed on both sides to build up our cooperation in questions of the establishment of a global system of counteraction against the new threats and challenges.
Serious attention was paid to the problems in the implementation of the New Partnership for African Development program. We discussed at length the developments in the situation on the African continent. We are grateful to our South African colleagues for the information which they provided on this question.
We have agreed to continue our contacts on a full rage of questions of the international agenda and bilateral relations. I conveyed to Ms. Dlamini-Zuma an invitation to visit Russia at any convenient time for her and hope that we will soon be able to greet her in Moscow and to give her as hearty a welcome.
In conclusion I would like to congratulate Ms. Dlamini-Zuma and our South African colleagues on the national holiday Reconciliation Day, and on the 40th anniversary of the creation of Umkhonto we Sizwe and the approaching 90th anniversary of the African National Congress.
Question: Igor Sergeyevich, all major political events are now occurring on other scenes: in Asia and in other regions. You, nevertheless, are now in Southern Africa. What does this region mean for the foreign policy life of Russia?
Answer: First of all, I would like to say that many events are occurring in the African continent as well. The problems of the African continent were specially considered at the last Group of Eight summit. The G8 leaders appointed their special representatives for African affairs who will be preparing proposals for subsequent summits. It cannot be said therefore that this region is secondary. On the contrary, it stands in the first rank of contemporary international problems requiring the closest attention, including from Russia.
For the well-known objective and subjective reasons a certain decline was noted in the 90s in our relations with African countries. Now that the transitional period is over in Russia, and internal political stability and economic growth are observed, we hold that the positive cooperation that was accumulated over the decades in previous years and which meets our interests should be restored. This applies also to the states which we have now visited.
After the visits to Angola, Namibia and South Africa I can say with full confidence that our countries have good opportunities for the development of cooperation in various fields, including the trade-and-economic area, and for coordination in the international arena. In other words, real opportunities and a real interest exist on both sides for such cooperation. It would be a great mistake to miss these opportunities.
December 16, 2001
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