President Zuma wraps up visit to Trinidad and Tobago

Sunday, November 29, 2009

President Jacob Zuma, expressed satisfaction with the direction and future of the Commonwealth Group as he ended his visit to Trinidad and Tobago today Sunday (29 November 2009). The President attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit which began on Thursday 26 November 2009.

Amongst the major outcomes of the summit was a declaration on climate change ahead of the Copenhagen summit in December and the admission of Rwanda into the Commonwealth Group.

"The agreement on climate change reflects the Commonwealth''s readiness to confront serious challenges currently facing the world. This is a very positive step towards a brighter future for the Commonwealth", said President Zuma.

On Saturday 28 November 2009 President Zuma held bi-lateral meetings with Danish Prime Minister, Lars Loekke Rasmussen and Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The President also met with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon. The meetings were held during day 2 of the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit in Trinidad and Tobago.

In the discussions with Prime Minister Rasmussen, President Zuma commended the Prime Minister's energetic engagement with South Africa and other world leaders in the build up to the Copenhagen summit on climate change.

"Denmark's participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Government deliberations on climate change has added value to the robust discussions that have led to the Commonwealth's declaration on climate change", said President Zuma.

South Africa also welcomed Denmark's acceptance of South Africa's call for developed countries to commit to funding the responses to the effect of climate change on poorer countries. Denmark and South Africa agreed on the need for a summit outcome that produces a legally binding treaty.

President Zuma assured Prime Minister Rasmussen of South Africa's ongoing participation in the established regular preparatory talks ahead of the summit.
On the 17th of November 2009, President Zuma participated in a video- conference on the Copenhagen climate change talks, convened by the Prime Minister of Denmark together with the United Nations Secretary General Mr.

Ban Ki Moon and other leaders, including Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. The discussions sought the views of the leaders regarding the achievement of a strong outcome to the talks.

In bi-lateral talks with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, both President Zuma and Prime Minister Rudd agreed on the need to enhance bi lateral relations between South Africa and Australia. The strong historical links between the ruling parties of South Africa and Australia present an opportunity for closer political, diplomatic and trade ties.

Prime Minister Rudd wished South Africa well in hosting the FIFA Soccer World Cup in 2010 and indicated a strong desire to attend the games. President Zuma expressed South Africa's readiness to welcome the Prime Minister and the Australian football fans to South Africa.

Other issues on the agenda included Australia's involvement in promoting development in the African continent, Zimbabwe, the G20 and areas of mutual interest in multi-lateral engagements.

Climate change also featured prominently in President Zuma's meeting with the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon. President Zuma thanked the Secretary General for his leadership in the build up to the Copenhagen summit by highlighting the impact of climate change on poorer countries and the desired response out of the summit.

The President and the Secretary General also discussed a number of issues related to the African continent ranging from Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Sudan, the Horn of Africa, the DRC and Burundi.

President Zuma called for the United Nations to continue supporting all efforts aimed at bringing stability to Somalia and other parts of Africa. The President expressed South Africa's willingness to continue providing assistance to the work of the United Nations in Africa.

The Secretary General wished South Africa well in hosting the FIFA Soccer World Cup in 2010 and like the Danish and Australian Prime Ministers; the Secretary General expressed a desire to visit South Africa during the games.

On Sunday (29 November 2009) President Zuma met with the CARICOM Heads of State. The meeting discussed the forging of links between CARICOM and South Africa, CARICOM and the African Union, the African Diaspora summit, the impact of the global financial crisis on middle income small States and climate change.

The President emphasised the need for stronger cooperation between CARICOM and the African Union, South Africa and countries in the Caribbean.

"The history and future of the peoples of Africa and the Caribbean are intertwined. This necessitates that we form stronger links at both bilateral level and at multi lateral level between the AU and the CARICOM."

"We must speak with one voice to advance our interest on trade and economic relations including tourism, climate change, peace and security and other matters of mutual interest." said President Zuma.

President Zuma held his last bi-lateral meeting with Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam of Mauritius. The discussions focused on issues of mutual bi-lateral interest, SADC, Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

The CHOGM summit ends on Sunday 29 November. President Zuma arrives back in South Africa on Monday 30 November 2009.

Issued by the Presidency

For more information contact: Vincent Magwenya, Presidential Spokesperson +27 72 715 0024.