As President of the United Nations Security Council in January 2012, South Africafocused on the strengthening of the relationship between the UN Security Counciland the African Union in the maintenance of international peace and security. Therest of our tenure at the UNSC will be to promote the African Agenda and peaceand security not only on the continent but also in the rest of the world.Mr Vice Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen,South Africa is also placing much emphasis on the development of the agenda of the South as both a member of India, Brazil, and South Africa (IBSA) and as of early this year, also of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), asignificant block of emerging economies, whose combined economies is workthUS$ 13 trillion. Two months ago in India during the 4
BRICS Summit, it wasdecided, inter alia, to establish a BRICS Development Bank to assist the memberswith infrastructure development. It is expected to be established in 2013 whenSouth Africa hosts the 5
BRICS Summit.As have been observed, the culture of human rights and the respect for dignity of the human spirit have become the characteristics of South Africa and we, as aNation,have been following with keen interest developments in the Middle Eastregion which is on the global peace and security agenda, at the centre of which, isthe Israel/Palestine conflict.We wish to reiterate our assurances to both parties - Israel and the Palestiniangoverning bodies – that the South African Government supports a two-Statesolution with Israel and Palestine existing side-by-side in peace withininternationally recognised borders (based on the June 4, 1967 borders) with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.My Minister like others has expressed her concern that “the patience exercisedby the people of Palestine is wearing out and there is mounting fear that hope willsoon be replaced with hardened attitudes”.South Africa has offered, on several occasions its readiness to share itsexperiences in, inter alia, conflict resolution etc., just as we are engaging with Tunisia, Egypt and Libya our experience in transitional justice and constitutionmaking, among others.Unlike many other countries, South Africa does not delink its political policies frompolicies pertaining to, amongst others, aspects such as trade, culture, etc.Political interaction between South Africa and Israel this past year witnessed acourtesy call by South African Deputy Minister of International Relations andCooperation Mr Marius Fransman on Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, MrDanny Ayalon. Minister Livnat, Israel’s Minister of Sport and Culture during aprivate visit to South Africa earlier this year, also met with Mr Paul Mashatile,South African Minister of Arts and Culture. The South Africa/Israel and Israel/South Africa Chambers of Commerce are muchat the forefront in promoting trade between the two countries. Total imports of products from South Africa last year was $103 million and exports to South Africatotaled $ 434 million.