17 July 2002

Africa: Dlamini-Zuma to Seek Russian Analysis of G8 Africa Plan

Pretoria — Foreign affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is expected to jet off to Russia tomorrow, to meet with her counterpart, Igor Ivanov, to get the Federation's interpretation of the Group of Eight (G8)'s Africa Action Plan. The plan is the G8's response to Africa's recovery plan, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), to provide with aid, trade opportunities and help to resolve conflicts to African nations that commit themselves to reform. Addressing the media in Pretoria yesterday, foreign affairs deputy minister Aziz Pahad said the Friday meeting was expected to give a broader view of Russia's interpretation of the plan 'not in their capacity as members of the G8 but as an individual country.' Last month, at its 28th meeting in Kananaskis in Canada, the group, which comprises eight of the world's richest nations, earmarked for Africa six billion of the 12 billion dollars they promised all poorer countries, at a conference in Mexico recently. Mr Pahad said Russia's membership to the G8 and its Working Group that focused on Nepad, and President Vladimir Putin's support of the Action Plan, were vital for Africa's development and progress. 'Given Russia's close involvement with these processes, minister Dlamini-Zuma and Dr Ivanov will exchange views on further practical cooperation between Africa and the Russian Federation,' he explained. The minister is currently in New York, US, where she is co-leading together with UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, the discussions aimed at resolving outstanding issues relating to the draft implementation plan of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg next month. During her Russian visit, the minister is also expected to meet with President Putin, where she will convey a personal message from President Thabo Mbeki and also inform him (Putin) of developments in the country, the region and the continent. Dr Dlamini-Zuma and Dr Ivanov will also discuss bilateral, political and multilateral issues. The bilateral talks will encompass political and economic issues whereas multilateral talks will pay more attention to international issues such as the reform of the United Nations, cooperation in conflict resolution and disarmament in Africa, the situation in the Middle East as well as international terrorism. 'Other issues, such as the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) as well as further progress in the field of science and technology, will be discussed,' the deputy minister said.

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