South-South union will contribute to development - Zuma

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Venezuela - The South-South union between South American and African regions will contribute to the development of both regions, says South African President Jacob Zuma.

"Our relationships have a great potential for success that will realize the long-awaited development of our two continents," Zuma said on Saturday, during the opening of the second Africa-South America Summit (ASA).

Zuma warned that failure to take into account the link between the regions, the global economic crisis that has affected millions of poor people worldwide, will bring worse consequences.

He called for forging closer ties and a global multilateral system of benefit to all, enabling strict controls in the banking system.

Other topics of interest to the South African delegation were climate change, human rights and non-proliferation and disarmament, according to him.

According to the African Union Commission, African countries were ready to play their roles in the construction of a new South-South cooperation model with Latin America.

Jean Ping, chairman of the commission, said that the way to build the new model was to boost friendship and exploit the real power of both continents.

Ping also urged materialisation of the agreements reached during the first ASA Summit in Abuja in 2006.

"We should not conform with a diplomatic and political rhetoric because this time the credibility of the South-South cooperation is in risk," Ping said.

According to the chairman, this summit was held in the frame of a wonderful alliance formed between two continents, an alliance that has been fed by similar historical characteristics, same economic aspirations and the wish to establish a new international order.

Africa has the will to walk on the path of economic growth, during which a joint work based on mutual respect is needed, Ping said.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also stressed in particular the need to translate the mechanisms established at the first ASA summit.

At the first summit, "two documents were approved ..., but it lacks performance. Three years later, the importance of these documents has decreased," he said.

In response, Chavez proposed to create a mechanism of round-table of presidents or their advisers, so that it can be dedicated exclusively to designing a strategic program for the ASA.

"We must give strategic vision and feasibility" to the idea of integrating South America and Africa with the structuring and implementation of a working agenda for the period 2010-2020, he said.

In addition, he proposed to create a bank of the ASA between South America and Africa, "I already got the name of Bancasa for it. This bank could repatriate our reserves in the North to provide credit to ourselves," he said.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi proposed to create an organization that brings together the nations of South America and Africa.

He said the organisation should be created immediately to provide a real platform in the South, which is similar to that of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). "This organization could become a South Atlantic Treaty Organization," he said.

The goal is that all nations have the opportunity to participate actively in the decision-taking procedure about their development and are not subject to unilateral decisions by NATO or the Security Council of the United Nations, explained Gaddafi.

Representatives of 61 countries from both regions attended the summit which ends on Sunday.

Under the theme, "Closing the gap, opening up opportunities," the summit is aimed at boosting cooperation among the participant countries, coping with the food, financial, economic and environmental crisis, and following up agreements and plans of action adopted at the first ASA Abuja summit.

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