Item 1423 - Mandela's Official visit to South America : Media Statement on President Mandela's Official visit to South America

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ZA COM MR-S-1423


Mandela's Official visit to South America : Media Statement on President Mandela's Official visit to South America


  • 1998-07-10 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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At the end of this trial, on 7 November 1962, Mandela was convicted and sentenced to three years' imprisonment on the charge of incitement and two years for leaving the country without valid travel documents. At the close of the trial the crowd ignored a

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  • English

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President Mandela will be attending the MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market ) Summit meeting in Ushuaia, Argentina, from 19 to 25 July 1998.

He will also pay his first official visits to the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Argentine Republic respectively.
President Mandela has been invited by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil and President Carlos Menem of Argentina to visit their countries.

President Menem visited South Africa in 1995 and President Cardoso visited South Africa in 1997. Deputy President Mbeki visited Argentina, Brazil and Chile in 1997 and Deputy Foreign Minister Pahad visited the South American region in 1996. Minister Nzo also visited the region in 1995.

At the MERCOSUR Summit meeting, the President will deliver an address to the assembled heads of state of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile. This is the first time that a foreign head of state has been invited to address the MERCOSUR summit. The President will also hold separate discussions in Ushuaia with the heads of state of Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia.

The visit of President Mandela comes at a time when South Africa's relations with the countries of the South American region are entering an important and dynamic period of development. The MERCOSUR Summit is also one of a series of engagements which are lending a multilateral emphasis to the President's involvement in foreign policy during this year.
Consular relations with Brazil date back to the turn of the century and full diplomatic relations were instituted in 1948. With the ending of apartheid, all round relations have expanded rapidly.

Brazil is South Africa's biggest trading partner in Latin America, with bilateral trade reaching more than 2.75 billion rand in 1997. Brazil is the world's fifth largest country and the world's ninth biggest economy. The country has attracted some 100 billion rand in foreign fixed investment in the past year and is regarded as an important emerging market. Brazil has developed extensive interests in Africa and plays a significant role in multilateral affairs. Brazil has taken the lead on a number of regional initiatives in South America and played an important role in the creation of MERCOSUR.

South Africa's diplomatic relations with Argentina stretch back almost one hundred years. Bilateral trade between the two countries reached more than 1.6 billion rand in 1997. Argentina has developed into an attractive market for foreign investors. Economic growth in Argentina has resulted in stronger International commercial links for that country.

Argentina is actively involved in multilateral issues and has launched a number of initiatives related to peace keeping programmes, some of which, such as the White Helmets peace keeping programme, are presently being conducted on the African continent.

South Africa is in the process of negotiating a number of bilateral agreements with Latin American countries, including Brazil and Argentina. These agreements, when completed, will create a strong framework for the deepening of our relations with these countries in the fields of commerce, science, culture, sport and security cooperation. Argentina and Brazil are the biggest sources of tourism to South Africa from Latin America.

The MERCOSUR summit meeting will provide an excellent opportunity for the President to discuss regional issues affecting Southern Africa and MERCOSUR, especially in the context of growing globalisation and the emergence of new regional trading blocks. MERCOSUR, comprises Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay with Chile and Bolivia as associate members. MERCOSUR is in the process of negotiating closer relations with the Andean Community, which consists of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, with regard to the reduction of tariff barriers and regional trade cooperation. These two regional trading blocks, together, cover the entire South America. MERCOSUR alone represents more than 204 million consumers with a total market of 1.1 trillion dollars and average per annum growth rates in the region of 6%.

Within the context of closer ties with South America, South Africa also has a specific interest in another multilateral organisation which is strongly supported by the South American countries, namely the Zone of Peace and Cooperation in the South Atlantic (ZPCSA), of which South Africa is the current chair.

Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil are also members of the ZPCSA, an organisation comprising 24 member states which are littoral to the South Atlantic, and who are in the process of developing coordinated strategies to address commercial, technological, security and environmental cooperation in the South Atlantic. One of the main goals of the organisation has been to establish a nuclear free zone in the South Atlantic. The next meeting of the ZPCSA will most likely take place in Argentina in October this year.


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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation. Accessioned on 05/02/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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