White Paper on foreign policy to see light of day

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The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) will be presenting a draft White Paper outlining the principles and framework of South Africa’s foreign policy, minister

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says.

“As mentioned during my previous budget vote speech, DIRCO will be presenting a Draft White Paper outlining the principles and framework of our foreign policy – after an extensive consultative process that has seen the department interact with business, academia, labour and broader civil society.” She did not add when or where the paper would be tabled.

However, Cabinet approved the draft White Paper for submission to Parliament in November last year and agreed that it should reflect South Africa’s interests as they relate to South Africa’s role in the global geopolitics. Then-government spokesman Vusi Mona said once the parliamentary process was finalised, the consolidated White Paper would be submitted to the Cabinet Committee on International Corporation, Trade and Security for further consideration.

Nkoana-Mashabane in her budget vote yesterday said South Africa’s “task as a nation emerging from a troubled past has always been to create the political, economic and social spaces to address the challenges of poverty, underdevelopment and marginalisation.”

South Africa will “continue to focus its foreign policy on promoting the integration of the SADC, the unity and the renewal of the African continent, South-South cooperation, North-South dialogue, and working with other countries for a global system of governance that is democratic and responsive to the interests and aspirations of developing countries, she added. “Using bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, our programmes on the continent and the world have been aligned to our national priorities.
“Next year we will be celebrating ten years of the African Union which was launched in Durban in 2002. Ten years on, we should assess the progress the AU has made since its establishment; and prioritise the establishment and strengthening of the AU organs to ensure that it effectively executes its mandate.
“It is with this in mind that South Africa has been instrumental in supporting the AU audit report and the 2009-2012 Strategic Plan of the Commission. The audit report outlined measures that are needed to ensure that the AU is able to deliver on its mandate. We will continue to utilise our concurrent membership of the United National Security Council (UNSC), AU PSC and the SADC Organ on Peace and Security to work towards a peaceful and prosperous Africa in a just world,” she avered.



Her deputy, Marius Fransman, in his budget address added that he draft policy White Paper noted that:
“We have been remarkably successful in promoting the African Agenda in the last fifteen years
“acknowledges that the proliferation of new formations, including emerging powers among the countries of the South, has introduced new dynamics in geopolitics
“in the context of the North-South cooperation, it acknowledges that whilst emerging powers have managed to lift millions of people out of poverty, there are still growing inequalities between and within states;
“notes that challenges facing the world in the 21st century are complex and global in nature, and that no single country or few countries can address them on their own
“comes to the conclusion that the often-times ineffectiveness of the AU is due to lack of common interpretation of common values among countries in the continent, and the effect of dependence which lends common positions to the vagaries of real politik, with countries pawning the policy independence to the highest bidder.
“We wish to re-assure this august gathering that our domestic priorities and national interests continue to inform our international engagements. In our effort to rise to the Minister’s call to have ‘our foreign policy assessed against the weight of rising expectations’, we have ensured that it becomes a product of extensive inputs that were compiled through consultative processes,” Fransman said.
“Comrade Speaker [sic], plans are at an advanced stage for the establishment of a Foreign Policy Council to be referred to as the South African Council on International Relations (SACOIR). This will be an advisory council on international relations, to again strengthen our resolve to make our foreign policy as inclusive and participatory as possible.” The council was also mooted last year.