STATEMENT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON BILATERAL MEETINGS THAT PRESIDENT THABO MBEKI HELD IN NEW YORK
President Thabo Mbeki continued to champion the cause of the poor and developing nations in his address to the UN General Assembly whilst urging the world body to utilise capital, technology and human skills afforded humanity to address problems of poverty, deprivation, under-development.
During the course of the day, the President held bilateral meetings several world leaders attending the UN Millennium Summit. These included discussions with President Vladimir Putin, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and attended a joint meeting with Presidents Olesugun Obasanjo, Abdel Aziz Bouteflika hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori.
In the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, issues discussed included the need for economic bilateral co-operation between the two countries; the necessity for co-operation in conflict resolution mechanisms; and the imperative for adherence to international treaties regarding nuclear disarmament and anti-ballistic missiles.
The President continued with his efforts to help Israelis and Palestinians find an amicable resolution to the Jerusalem issue as per request of leaders of both Palestine and Israel.
The meeting hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Mori discussed the question of reform of the UN and United Nations Security council reform as well as the need for a review of the UN scale of assessment.
In this regard, the meeting was of the same view that the UN must ensure the voice of the continent of Africa, representing a population of over 800 million people, is heard within the corridors of the UN system.
The meeting reiterated its view that the litmus test for the developed world remains the need for it to accept that Africa is part of humanity but represents a developmental challenge of the new Millennium.
In addition, the meeting agreed on the need for the UN to be seen to be acting with the requisite speed and determination in responding to conflict situations in the continent as it does elsewhere in the world.
In this regard, the meeting agreed on the need co-operation on conflict resolution, poverty alleviation as well as South-South co-operation. The meeting also exchanged ideas regarding the possibility of holding TICAD III Conference between African countries and Japan.
The President will wind his day with an address to the Foreign Policy Association on South African realities within the context of "Managing Globalisation and the new economy".
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will, on behalf of the President, address a dinner hosted in honour of Heads of State/government by Nigerian President Olesugun Obasanjo, while Mrs. Zanele Mbeki will attend a reception hosted by US President Bill Clinton, in honour of Heads of State and Government.
For more information contact Ronnie Mamoepa at 091-917-567-4601
C/O South African Permanent Mission to the UN New York USA.
Issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, 7 September 2000