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South Africa to support India, Brazil for Security Council seat

By Amit Baruah

NEW DELHI, MARCH 5. The South African Foreign Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said today that Pretoria would support the entry of India and Brazil to the United Nations Security Council as permanent members even though her Government had not taken a decision on bidding for a Council seat.

Speaking in the presence of the External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, and the Brazilian Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, after a Trilateral Commission Meeting of the IBSA Dialogue Forum, Dr. Zuma said: "We feel strongly about this [the non-representative character of the Council]."

Already, India and Brazil have announced mutual support to enter the Council.

In a joint statement after the meeting, the Ministers agreed to jointly explore innovative solutions to issues of Security Council reform in order to "accelerate" the decision-making process.

On the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, they took "note of the avowed commitments of the Governments regarding the transfer of technology related to the manufacture of WMDs and expressed hope for observance of these commitments unequivocally."

"They also underlined that implementation of and compliance with non-proliferation and disarmament commitments suffered from serious inadequacies, which should be redressed through appropriate forward looking multilateral actions."

Interestingly, Brazil and South Africa, who had taken a tough line on adhering to Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines on transfer of technology for producing nuclear energy, agreed with India to intensify cooperation at the IAEA and other forums with a view to "ensuring unimpeded growth and development of peaceful use of atomic energy through supply of technology, equipment and material under appropriate safeguards."

The three countries expressed their willingness to play a constructive role in resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict and bring about a just, durable and comprehensive peace in the region.

According to Mr. Amorim, this was not a mere formality; the three countries acting together could make a difference. "We could help the quartet [the U.N., the U.S. the European Union and Russia] in the implementation of the roadmap [to an independent Palestine]."

"The three countries noted the convergence of their views on Iraq. They stressed the maintenance of unity and integrity of Iraq as well as the restoration of security and stability in the country and called for transfer of full sovereignty to the people of Iraq as soon as possible.

"In this context, they agreed that the U.N. must play a vital role. They also emphasised the urgency of reconstruction in Iraq under a democratically-elected sovereign Government," the statement said.

Taking a strong stand against terrorism, the three countries also agreed to pursue a common approach with regard to the activities of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other relevant multilateral fora.

On the issue of health, the IBSA countries agreed that their national statutory frameworks should reflect all the flexibilities allowed for by the WTO TRIPS (Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement, the Doha Ministerial Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Declaration-related decisions. They also decided to oppose bilateral/multilateral agreements that were "TRIPS Plus."

The IBSA Facility for Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger would be a trust fund within the United Nations Development Programme and all developing countries would receive funding from this Facility.

According to Mr. Sinha, while India and Brazil would contribute $100,000 each to the Facility, South Africa had announced an initial contribution of $50,000. "This will act as seed money for the Facility..."

The Ministers also announced their intention to increase trade flows between the three countries from $4.6 billion to $10 billion by 2007 and to hold IBSA business summits by rotation in each country.

(Separately, senior officials said they agreed to introduce daily air services between the three countries. There would be flights between Mumbai, Johannesburg and Sao Paulo in the next few months. This, they said, was essential if IBSA cooperation was to take root).

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