Foreign Affairs White Paper cleared for Parliament

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Cabinet has approved a White Paper on South Africa’s Foreign Policy for submission to Parliament and has agreed that the White Paper should reflect South Africa’s interests as they relate to South Africa’s role in the global geopolitics.

Government spokesman Vusi Mona says once the parliamentary process has been finalised, the consolidated White Paper will be submitted to the Cabinet Committee on International Corporation, Trade and Security for further consideration.

In fulfilling the lead role assigned to South Africa in the New Partnership on Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC), Cabinet endorsed the proposed approach to ensure South Africa’s maximisation of the opportunity presented by the President’s initiative, Mona added. A Presidential Infrastructure Task Team, supported by a corresponding working group of directors-general, “will focus its work on ensuring South Africa’s centrality in regional and continental infrastructure development, with emphasis on South Africa championing the [continental] North-South Corridor.”

A concentrated effort will be made to ensure that the interests of South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are integrated into the African Union (AU) New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), Mona added.

Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thabang Makwetla in August told defenceWeb’s Peacekeeping Africa 2010 conference South Africa was likely to increase its commitment to peacekeeping. In February this year SA had about 2000 peacekeepers deployed in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (1192), Darfur in Sudan (794) and smaller numbers elsewhere. He told his audience the South African National Defence Force was overstretched but national foreign policy imperatives, including SA’s quest for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, meant it was likely deployments would be “scaled up rather than down.”
“South Africa, as a country is in this peace-keeping endeavour for the long-haul, as President Zuma said, to: ‘Support the peace efforts of the African Union and the United Nations on the African continent’,” Makwetla said.
“Critical to the success of this, our security doctrine and foreign policy, is the diligence we exercise in ensuring that the political solutions, the frameworks of the settlements our peace operations are mounted to support, are credible, inclusive, fair and sustainable, because unilateral political solutions are costly and seldom succeed.”



Pic: Participation in peacekeeping is a major plankin South Africa’s foreign policy