Zuma speaks on BRICS, Libya and Climate Change

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma said that South Africa's recent invite to join the economic grouping comprising Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICS) has augured well for the country.

The invitation indicated the high regard with which the country was viewed internationally, he said on Thursday in the National Assembly.

"BRICS is an important grouping to be part of given the role of emerging economies in advancing the restructuring of the global political, economic and financial architecture into one that is more equitable, balanced and which rests on the important pillar of multilateralism.

"South Africa and BRICS member states already collaborate and will continue to work together closely in various international organisations and formations such as the United Nations, the G-20 and the IBSA Dialogue Forum.

"All BRICS countries serve on the UN Security Council as permanent or non-permanent members. This augurs positively for enhanced cooperation efforts on issues of common interest," he said 

"In addition to BRICS, we also value our membership of the India, Brazil and South Africa group or IBSA," the President added.

Zuma was responding to questions from various political parties in the National Assembly including those around BRICS, the on-going violence in Libya and his expectations on the upcoming 17th Conference of Parties on climate change to be hosted in the country.

He said that South Africa would attend its first BRICS Summit on April 14 at the Chinese province of Hainan. 

On the Libyan question, he said that South Africa with other countries through the African Union and United Nations were working to end the fighting there.

He reiterated that the government had from the beginning regarded the matter as serious and had not been silent or inactive about it.

South Africa does not operate in a vacuum on international matters. It operates within the ambit of the African Union and the United Nations, he said.

"We also called on the Government and people of Libya to seek a speedy and peaceful resolution to the current crisis in accordance with the will of the people," he said. 

On the up-coming COP 17 meeting, Zuma said that SA would work closely with Mexico - current President of COP 16 - towards reaching a good outcome for the developing world which bore the brunt of climate change the most.