President Zuma returns from UNGA

Friday, September 22, 2017

President Jacob Zuma has returned from his working visit to the United States where he participated in the General Debate of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

“The President returned to the country via the South African Airways flight SA 204 from John F Kennedy to OR Tambo International Airport,” the Presidency said on Friday.
 
Themed, “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for all on a Sustainable Planet”, deliberations focused amongst others, on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); climate change; peace and security issues and UN reforms especially UN Security Council reform.

President Zuma’s schedule began with a meeting of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change.
 
The President also took part in the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General's High Level Meeting on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and the Establishment of the Circle of Leadership.
 
Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

On Wednesday, President Zuma signed a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Presidency said the signature of the Treaty reflects South Africa’s continued commitment towards the achievement of a world free from the threat posed by nuclear weapons and ensuring that nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes only. 
 
"South Africa is of the firm view that there are no safe hands for Weapons of Mass Destruction," President Zuma said in his address to the United Nations General Assembly.
 
"The only viable solution to the problems of nuclear weapons is their total elimination as expressed in the recently UN adopted Treaty banning Nuclear Weapons," said the President.
 
President Zuma nevertheless reaffirmed the inalienable rights of states to peaceful uses of nuclear energy as reinforced in the Non Proliferation Treaty.

Call for reform of UNSC
 
South Africa also continued to raise concern regarding the strength of the institutions of global governance, including the United Nations, specifically the Security Council, and advocated for the urgent reform of these institutions with the aim of correcting the historical injustice against Africa, reflected in their outdated structures.
 
In this regard, President Zuma reiterated his call for the reform of the United Nations Security Council, arguing that failure to achieve the long awaited ideal would result in the UN irreversibly losing its legitimacy.

Climate change, peace, human rights

The President also warned about the effects of climate change on the globe, urging all nations to act together urgently in order for future generations not to suffer untold consequences.
 
President Zuma further committed South Africa to working with the United Nations to promote peace, human rights and sustainable development.
 
In addition to the UNGA General Debate, President Zuma attended the working luncheon hosted by US President Donald Trump in honour of African leaders.
 
President Zuma also hosted the commemorative reception in honour of President O.R. Tambo, who was born one hundred years ago as part of government’s “the Year of O.R. Tambo" celebrations.

President Zuma was accompanied by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo; Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, and Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane. - SAnews.gov.za

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