Statement by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on the occasion of the media briefing on the outcomes of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union

Statement by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana MashabaneGood morning ladies and gentlemen,

In this briefing today, we will focus on the outcomes of the recent 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, which met for its beginning-of-the-year Summit at the Africa Union headquarters in Addis Ababa on 30 – 31 January 2016 under the theme: "2016, African Year of Human Rights, with a particular focus on Women’s Rights”.

Deliberations at the summit were on the following main issues:

1. UN Security Council Reform;
2. The state of peace and security on the continent, with particular focus on the situations in Burundi, South Sudan, Libya and the DRC;
3. The Summit also issued three political declarations namely on Palestine, Cuba, and an appeal to the United States to lift its sanctions on Sudan.

On the theme of the Summit, the 9th AU Gender Pre-Summit Meeting was held from 18 – 20 January 2016 with the objective of ensuring that women’s voices are captured in the main Summit as this is the second consecutive year that the AU theme for the year focuses on women. Issues discussed during the deliberations included: harnessing the demographic dividend (Africa's population is predominantly youthful), women in the blue economy, women in peace and security, the impact of climate change on women and the financial inclusion of women.

A Special Summit of the Committee of Participating Heads of State and Government of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APR Forum) was held on 29 January 2016 and was preceded by a Meeting of the Committee of the APRM Focal Points on 28 January 2016. Some of the decisions of the Special Summit include:

Available: http://www.dirco.gov.za/docs/speeches/2016/mash0204.htm 

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South Africa's conduct of international relations, especially its role in international organisations like the UN Security Council, its choice of strategic partnerships, its leadership role in Africa, its public engagement and foreign policy decision making, has been intensely debated in the recent past. The FPA programme aims to provide a nuanced analysis and facilitate a structured discussion of South Africa's foreign policy in a changing world environment for purposes of informing its future direction.

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The purpose of this focus area is to unpack the extent to which the policy in its making, its nature and its application constitutes a principled and pragmatic response to a complex international environment. In doing so, we hope to be guided by an objective to promote a foreign policy that positions SA as a responsible global citizen committed to building bridges between various power blocs for the benefit of Africa and South Africans.

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