Dialogue needed on SA's foreign policy: Nkoana-Mashabane

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pretoria-South Africa still needs to do more in terms of strengthening communication and dialogue on its foreign policy with residents and international stakeholders. 

This is according to International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. She was speaking at the Atlantic Club in Sofia, Bulgaria on South Africa's foreign policy recently. 

"One of the major outcomes of South Africa's fifteen year foreign policy review since 1994 is that despite the good foreign policy work that South Africa has been advocating in our continent and internationally, we need to do more to strengthen communication and dialogue on our foreign policy with South African and international stakeholders," she said. 

Nkoana-Mashabane said at the core of many of the foreign policy engagements is to continuously build international relations and partnerships that will contribute to the achievement of South Africa's five national priorities. 

The five national priorities are Education and Skills Development; Job Creation and Sustainable Livelihoods; Improving the Quality and Quantity of Health, Rural Development and Agrarian reform; and the Fight Against Crime and Corruption. 

"Ours is a foreign policy that is guided by Ubuntu (humanity) and a commitment to the establishment of mutually beneficial international partnerships that contribute to the achievement of the national development priorities of our continental and international partners as well," she said. 

The Minister said the foundations and strategic perspective of South Africa's foreign policy are derived from a long standing history, ideology and values that embrace the spirit of internationalism.

She said these also include the rejection of colonialism and other forms of oppression, our quest for the unity and political, economic, and social renewal of Africa; the promotion and defence of the plight of the suffering masses and poor of the world; and our opposition to the structural inequalities and abuses of power in the global system.

"Our struggle for a better life for all in South Africa is closely intertwined with our struggle for a better Africa and a better world all.

"These values are in ingrained in the South African Constitution and inform our foreign policy and my department's vision," she said. 

The Minister said other principles underpinning the foreign policy includes a commitment to the promotion of human rights not limited to political rights but including economic, social and environmental rights.

A commitment to the promotion of democracy; justice and international law in the conduct of relations between nations; a commitment to international peace and to internationally agree upon mechanisms for the resolution of conflicts; as well as a commitment to the interests of Africa in world affairs; and a commitment to economic development through regional and international co-operation in an inter-dependent world. -BuaNews

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