SA elected to United Nations Security council

It’s official, South Africa has earned a seat on the United Nations Security Council. Voting  took place at the UN head office in New York today, where South Africa earned a seat as a non-permanent member of the UN council.

Being elected for the third time, South Africa is the only African country as part the council. This is a new dawn for both South Africa and Africa ahead of the government elections in 2019. In her new term as the Foreign Minister of South Africa, LindiweSisulu has a big task ensuring that the African Union and BRICS policies are upheld.

NtsikeleloKuse

Mexico sets tariffs against US products

U.S. President, Donald Trump announced last week that the U.S. will levy tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that comes from Mexico, Canada and the EU.

In response to that, the Mexican government has also set new tariffs on US products, the list includes whiskey, cheese, steel, bourbon and pork.

This decision by the Mexican industry will hit domestic businesses, who will face a 20% tariff on their exports to Mexico, because Mexico was the highest imports of US pork. The tariffs amount to $3 billion worth of the US exports, the tariffs on the products range from 15% to 25%, which will raise the prices of US products. 

Mexico is the second largest market for the US exports, Canada being the largest. Mexico is estimated to buy close to $227 billion word of US products. The tariffs are surely impact the US economy, business and thousands of jobs.

(Source: CNN Money and BBC)

Operation: First Carrier Strike Group, China’s Navy Moves to elite level

China’s navy has made another step in solidifying itself as a major naval force. This week the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) aircraft carrier reached initial operational capabilities named the Liaoning aircraft carrier.

China has been steadily growing its navy with new ships being produced at an impressive pace. While the Liaoning, built from a Russian Soviet-era hull, has been in use for several years. It’s mostly been involved in training exercises and only this week came into combat readiness. It’s a comprehensive system of offense and defense that has now been effectively tested.

The Type 001A is another aircraft carrier completely built in China, is slated to join the fleet but is still in the testing phase. The Chinese government has suggested, it may developing six carriers to complete its fleet.  Six aircraft carrier is seen as efficient enough to advance China’s regional interests and help deal with emergencies on several fronts.

There’s no exact number of carriers china is planning to build but it stated it has no interest in having the same number of carriers as the United States.

source:  sputniknews.com

SADC Grows as Comoros Joins the Southern African Bloc

The Union of the Comoros (a former French colony), on the 25th of May announced it will be joining The Southern African Development Community (SADC), which will be made Official at the Annual SADC Summit hosted by Namibia in August this year. The French speaking archipelago’s goal in joining SADC is to branch out, to do more business and trade with more English speaking nations.

Comoros, which is known for being one of the most impoverished countries in the world, is already a part of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), is made up of three islands in the Indian Ocean near the North East of Mozambique and its economy is mainly dominated by primary sector production, like agriculture, fishing, forestry and hunting.

Comoros will become the 16th member state of SADC. Foreign Minister Mohamed Elamine Souef of Comoros said the reason in joining is that SADC had nothing to do with resent disagreement with France over the disputed island of Mayotte and the ending of French Visa’s to Comoros citizens.

Source: businesslive.co.za

Foreign Ministers in preparatory meeting in Pretoria ahead of BRICS Summit.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu opened up the second meeting of the BRICS Foreign Ministers. She shared that forums of this nature strengthen the long-standing bonds of friendship and cooperation. 

The meeting is in preparation for the 10th BRICS Summit that will take place in South Africa from the 25th to 27th July 2018.

Sisulu stated that ministers are making further concrete contributions to BRICS cooperation through deliberations. 

“There can be no doubt that our shared commitment to BRICS will bear fruit and we will make  advances in confronting our common challenges and realising our common objectives for  peace, harmony and greater representation in global governance institutions.” she said 

The Minister added that “ the current global geo-political realities make a meeting of this nature, not only necessary but timely. We meet in the face of multilateralism under siege; when the integrity of international agreements can be hastily and expediently compromised; when more and more countries take an inward-looking position at the expense of others.” 

South Africa is fortunate to host a number of BRICS related event this year. 

“It is fortuitous for South Africa to hold the Chairship of this august Forum, and to have the responsibility of hosting the 10th BRICS Summit in this year that coincides with the Centenary commemoration of a world icon, former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Throughout the year, we will honour the life and legacy of our leader, a distinguished global statesman and father of our nation. 

“We are excessively proud that out of a deplorable inhuman system, we produced one as he. The life of this remarkable human being urges us to recall that nothing is impossible to achieve, no matter the magnitude of the task and irrespective of how daunting it may seem at the time.” 

By Ntsikelelo Kuse

OPINION : Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu’s duties in the new era.

South Africa’s new minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, promises to breathe new life into the country’s foreign policy posture if her early moves are anything to go by. She has displayed a steady but firm hand, a quality that’s needed to navigate the tricky international relations in the era that features the likes of Donald Trump.

Sisulu’s main strength is her seniority in South Africa’s ruling party; the ANC. Life can be easier in the international relations era if you do not have to second-guess your bosses. Diplomacy can be smoother if you are not a lackey of the president and as such you do not have to consult all the time because you’re watching your back, because you know that there are people in your party who are more qualified to hold your position.

You can do what appeared to be unthinkable by your predecessors. You can recall the country’s ambassador to Israel without blinking even though you know that this has the potential to disturb your other interests.

Sisulu has wasted no time in stamping her authority on the world stage. A few days after she took over the new office in early March, Sisulu displayed a firm hand in dealing with the Australians.

An Australian minister of home affairs, Peter Dutton, made nauseating comments about South Africa’s land redistribution policy in March this year. Influenced by neo-colonialist views Dutton said Australia would consider offering refuge of sort to white South African farmers who according to the neo-colonialist view are facing persecution. This view comes to counter South Africa’s newly found sense of urgency to redistribute land to the dispossessed indigenous black majority.

She wasted no time in issuing a diplomatic démarche to the Australian High Commissioner in South Africa, Adam McCarthy. A démarche is a diplomatic petition or protest reserved for extremely serious matters. And she complemented the démarche with a strong public statement. South Africa, said Sisulu, demands a retraction. All indications are that she’s managed to discipline the Australians.

Sisulu made the situation look easy to handle but it was actually a tricky space for Sisulu. She had taken over the international relations’ reigns a few days earlier. She needed time to figure out the system. This could have easily rendered her indecisive. It’s almost certain that an inadequate leader would have staggered around Australian case and its timing. A dangerous vacuum could have developed if Sisulu deferred action, if she had opted to go into consultation with seniors in the ruling party the ANC.

Sisulu comes with an advantage of being a senior herself. As such she probably doesn’t suffer from the weakness of second guessing what her party is about. She’s one of the longest serving executive members of the post 1994 government. And she’s key positions like being minister of intelligence, housing, defence and public service administration.

And Sisulu’s name was strongly considered during the race for presidency in the run up to the 2018 ANC conference which elected Cyril Ramaphosa. Her seniority in the ruling party should make for a huge advantage. Presumably she doesn’t have to second guess her party’s needs.

 

 

 

South Africa’s Foreign Ministers hosts BRICS Foreign Ministers

On Monday, 4th June 2018, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation South Africa, Lindiwe Sisulu, will be hosting the BRICS countries’ Foreign Affairs/ International Relations Ministers for the second Formal Meeting in Pretoria, South Africa.

With the BRICS 10th Summit taking place in South Africa from the 25th to 27th July 2018, this formal meeting will be in preparation to the summit. Also expected to be discussed at the meeting will be practical cooperation amongst the BRICS countries, the current international political situation as well as the role of BRICS in the implementation of the UN’s Agenda 2030.

South Africa assumed the role of chair of BRICS on 01 January 2018 and will remain in this position until 31 December 2018

 

(ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

Media Statement on South Africa’s Media arrangements for the 10th BRICS Summit

The Minister of Communications, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane is pleased to announce the media developments of South Africa’s hosting of the 10th Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit to be hosted at the Sandton International Convention Centre from 25-27 July 2018.

The BRICS approach is informed by the need to deepen, broaden and intensify relations within the grouping and among the individual countries for more sustainable, equitable and mutually beneficial development. This approach takes into consideration each member’s growth, development and poverty objectives to ensure relations are built on the respective country’s economic strengths and to avoid competition where possible.

The bloc offers a unique opportunity for BRICS countries to extend and advance their cooperation in ways that meaningfully promote their economic development agendas as well as that of other developing countries.

South Africa assumed the rotational Chairship of BRICS from 1 January to 31 December 2018. The 2018 Summit will be a seminal milestone for BRICS cooperation, as it represents a decade of BRICS cooperation at the highest diplomatic level.

This Summit is held under the theme “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”.

The theme is reflective of the core priorities of each one of the BRICS members, notably to strive towards the creation of an inclusive society and global partnerships that will bring prosperity to all humankind.

The theme is intended to align and ensure strategic continuity with the approved themes for South Africa’s Chairship of both the South African Development Community (SADC) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).:

Plans are underway to ensure the successful hosting of the Summit. South Africa has made headway on media coordination and members of the media are now invited to apply to be accredited for the 10th BRICS Summit.

Media interested in covering the summit should use the link below to complete the online registration form.

https://macc.gcis.gov.za

In aligning with the customs regulations, journalists using passports as identification should note that the Passports should be valid for at least 30 days beyond the expected date of departure to South Africa.

The passports must have at least two (2) unused pages when presented for endorsements.

Yellow fever vaccination certificates will be required from the following:
 Guests over one year of age who come from yellow fever endemic regions or
 Guests who have passed through such regions
 Quarantine may be imposed as per the health regulations

All journalists who require a visa to enter South Africa must obtain it from the nearest South African Embassy/High Commissions in each country.

The closing date for the 10th BRICS Summit Media Accreditation is Monday, 22 June 2018.

For more information on the Summit, please visit: http://www.brics2018.org.za/

Members of the public are encouraged to follow the BRICS conversation by using the #BRICS2018

Accreditation contacts: Ms Mmemme Mogotsi on mmemme@gcis.gov.za 072 856 4288 or Ms Kgopotso Rapakuana on rapakuanak@dirco.gov.za 073 058 3876

10th BRICS Summit enquiries: Mr Ndivhuwo Mabaya, 083 645 7838

Issued by Government Communication and Information System
31 May 2018

BRICS New Development Bank may finance two projects In Russia

The BRICS New Development Bank is considering extending a loan for two projects in Russia.

 

Russian Finance Minister, Anton Siluanov has confirmed that the BRICS New Development Bank is considering extending a loan for two projects in Russia: the Amur gas processing plant (GCP) and the petrochemical plant in Tobolsk. The Finance Minister says: “The New Development Bank is currently considering in respect of possible financing the application of Sibur Company for construction of the petrochemical plant in Tobolsk and the Amur GPP construction project, implemented in the context of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline construction agreement,”

However, the decision on participation of the bank in these projects has not yet been taken and applications have not been presented to the NDB Board of Directors. The Finance Minister stated that “the applications undergo review by the management of the Bank and proactive consultations with potential borrowers are held. If all conditions are negotiated, the issue of credit extension can be considered by the end of this year.”

The Amur GCP is scheduled for commissioning in 2021 at the earliest. The gas chemical plant will process fractions of the natural gas. The main feedstock supplier for the GCP will be the Amur Gas Processing Plant of Gazprom, which will be built within the framework of gas supplies to China over the Power of Siberia gas pipeline.

 

MOSCOW, May 21. /TASS/.
Russian News Agency

http://tass.com/economy/1005443

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu reiterates good governance in Budget Vote Speech

South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu believes that SA is now in a period of renewal to good governance and responsiveness to its people.

During the Budget Vote Speech of the Dept. of International Relations and Cooperation, Sisulu said that the new era will re-energise the country’s foreign policy. “We want South Africa to be once again a moral compass and a voice of reason in a world increasingly overcome with selfish, narrow interests. We want to be the hope for all in times of despair.”

She also spoke about plans that will unleash not only South Africa’s potential but the African continent.   

“The President’s target is to raise R1 million in investments over five years, which we will not only use for South Africa, but also on the African continent. We believe that if we can create a stable Africa, we can unleash its potential. The resources of this continent are enormous and properly tapped will change the fortunes of the whole generations to come.”

Sisulu added that President Cyril Ramaphosa will be co-chairing a meeting of the High-level Global Commission on the Future of Work of the International Labour Organisation with the Prime Mister of Sweden.

“We continue to be committed to keeping peace. We stand for potential solutions whenever there is conflict. Our track record of keeping peace on the African continent is unchallenged by any one country. Our efforts in creating dialogue are hallmark of our foreign policy. We have had great successes in the past on the continent and we will continue to put at the apex in our interventions.”

 

Source: www.gov.za