Item 1456 - Visit by President Suharto of Indonesia to South Africa

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ZA COM MR-S-1456


Visit by President Suharto of Indonesia to South Africa


  • 1997-11-18 (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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  • English

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President Suharto of Indonesia will pay a state visit to South Africa from 20 to 22 November 1997, after having accepted an invitation from President Mandela, who visited Indonesia during July of this year. President Suharto is the leader of one of the most important countries of the developing world and hence cooperation with Indonesia holds benefits both in political and economic terms.
By mutual agreement, the two leaders have left the agenda for their meeting open, but a number of important topics will be discussed. A new world order is emerging and the two countries share a number of multilateral interests. South Africa is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) leadership troika, together with Indonesia (a founding member of NAM and previous chair country), and Colombia, the current chair of NAM. Within the context of the NAM, there are important issues to be considered and addressed: the international role of the United Nations, the re-structuring of the UN Security Council, arms control and nuclear disarmament.

The Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) is an important regional economic entity, upon which Indonesia is particularly focussed. The Indian Ocean Rim Initiative should create new paradigm for the countries of the South to serve their economic and trade interests and to be a counterweight to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the European Union (EU) which by far represent the interests of the developed countries of the North. The IOR, inclusive of all potential members, has a population of 1,6 billion people of 30% of the world's population. The total GDP of the IOR is US$1 trillion.

Another issue which will be discussed by President Suharto and President Mandela is the debt of developing countries. This affects many countries of Africa, Latin America and Asia and is linked to the present economic uncertainty prevailing in South East Asia at present. Indonesia has raised this issue before with the G7 countries in Tokyo in 1996. As is generally known, the debt servicing by some of the countries of these regions is crippling.

Bilateral trade and investment issues will also be discussed. A Trade Agreement and an Air Services Agreement will also be signed during the visit, which will add further substance to the good relations between the two countries. The Trade Agreement makes provision for the establishment of a Joint Economic Commission (JEC) which, once it is established, will provide a structure to promote and facilitate linkages between the private sectors of the two countries.

The issue of East Timor will be discussed. President Mandela may use the opportunity to brief President Suharto on the meetings that he has had with various people since his visit to Indonesia in July. The persons whom President Mandela has met in the four months since his return from Indonesia are:

- Portuguese President Sampaio - Mr Ramos-Horta - Ambassador Jamsheed Marker, UN Special Envoy on East Timor - Bishop Belo of East Timor

South Africa has stated its support for the current initiatives of the United Nations in bringing about a comprehensive and internationally acceptable solution to the question of East Timor. South Africa therefore also supports the tripartite UN sponsored talks, involving Indonesia and Portugal under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary General.

With over 200 million inhabitants, Indonesia has the fourth largest population and the largest Muslim population in the world.

South Africa's trade with Indonesia has increased by 30% since 1993. In 1996 total South African exports to Indonesia stood at R755,3 million, and imports from Indonesia totalled R486,6 million.


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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation. Accessioned on 08/02/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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