“Facebook Revolutions in Africa”, keynote speech by the special adviser of the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa Dr. Eddy Maloka

(September 2nd, 2011, 5:30 p.m., Sheraton Hotel, Sofia)

The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria together with the Embassy of South Africa in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Diplomatic Institute and the Bulgarian School of Politics, and with the support of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, organized a public lecture with the special adviser of the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa Dr. Eddy Maloka, entitled “Facebook Revolutions in Africa”.

Dr. Eddy Maloka began his speech by emphasizing on the good bilateral relations between Bulgaria and South Africa. He also laid particular stress on the shared values and principles between the two countries, like the commitments to global peace, human rights and securing the international law globally. Mr. Maloka continued by outlining one of the main weaknesses of the South Africa’s foreign policy and emphasized the need to strengthen the communication by closing the information gap between South Africa and the rest of the world.

 By stressing on the synergy between the national priorities and international commitments, Dr. Eddy Maloka outlined the core and the goals of South Africa’s foreign policy, namely, to secure through continuous international partnerships further development in the fields of education, job creation, improved living standards, agricultural reform and fight against crime. Furthermore, as he added, the South Africa’s foreign policy is people-centered, valuing cooperation over competition and collaboration over confrontation, thus committed to establish mutually beneficial and development-orientated international partnerships. Nevertheless, South Africa’s foreign policy remains faithful to its international commitments, like promoting democracy and human rights outside of scope of political freedom, to maintain the international peace, to value the interests of Africa, and to facilitate the economic development of the region and the world.

 Dr. Maloka insisted on the continuously growing regional involvement of South Africa by emphasizing on the commitment to the African Union and its institutions, and by outlining the success of the NEPAD initiative, which South Africa was honored to chair. Moreover, under the light of the events in North Africa, he stressed on the vital importance of APRM as a tool to build better and stronger coordination between states, to strengthen democracy and to serve as mechanism for early intervention. Dr. Eddy Maloka addressed the support and contribution of South Africa to the UN peace missions. South Africa and the AU maintain the view that the future of Libya should be decided by Libyans themselves. While closely watching the unfolding situation in Libya, Dr. Maloka urges the Libyan authorities to swiftly institute a political dialogue of peace and value of human rights. Although turning a new leaf in its history, there is still a lot of work to be done in order to stabilize and restore Libya, a process which has to lead to referendums and the first free elections in Libya. Dr. Eddy Maloka continued by outlining South Africa’s continuous participation in UN’s peace-keeping missions in the region, and by providing South Africa’s views and guidelines on how to approach the questions of Sudan, Somalia, piracy and Zimbabwe .

Dr. Eddy Maloka laid stress on the tactical importance of the Northern states, like Bulgaria, in securing the interests of the region, by promoting international trade, transferring of technology and providing FDI to the African states. Initiatives like the SA-EU Strategic partnership and the Africa-EU Partnership highlight the potential for building political dialogue and economic cooperation. According to Dr. Maloka, South Africa’s participation in IBSA and BRICS is an important pillar for strengthening the muscle of the South in global affairs, and for advancing the role of the emerging economies in the reconstruction of the global political and economic infrastructure.

Dr. Eddy Maloka believes that South Africa’s participation in the UNSC as a non-permanent member will seek to establish a closer cooperation between the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council. This improved relation will enhance the convergence of the two bodies in tackling the security challenges in Africa. Moreover, according to him, South Africa’s foreign policy goals are based on four main pillars - promoting the interests of Africa, addressing the challenges of underdevelopment, building an effective North-South economic partnership and strengthening the multilateral system.

Dr. Maloka continued by addressing once again the question of the Middle East as a key geographical position in the direction of global peace. He emphasized on the importance of establishing a functional and internationally recognized Palestinian State. He condemned all forms of violence by any of the parties in the conflict in Syria and called for Syrian-led political reforms in order to allow the exercise of fundamental political freedoms.

In the end of his speech, Dr. Eddy Maloka reassured the audience that South Africa’s experience in dealing with the question of Climate Change is rich and institutionalized and that South Africa is ready to host the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban in late November this year.