ICC: Minister tight-lipped on SA’s stance

2013-10-08 14:18

Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was tight-lipped about the stance South Africa is likely to take on whether African countries should pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

At a press conference in Pretoria this morning, she urged journalists to wait for the outcome of the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this weekend, during which this proposal will be discussed.

“South Africa is going to that meeting to participate, fully aware of the developments that are taking place. We were there when the ICC was formed. We have all the rights as member states to sit back and say: Is this exactly what we thought we were forming?” she said.

This weekend’s deliberations follow on Kenya’s unhappiness with the way its newly elected president, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his deputy, William Ruto, are being prosecuted for their alleged role in the postelection violence in Kenya in 2007 and 2008.

Nkoana-Mashabane also briefed journalists about the upcoming state visit of French President Francois Hollande next week.

She denied that there were tensions between South Africa and France about issues of governance and dominance on the continent. “We have very cordial, warm bilateral relations with France based on mutual respect,” she said, adding that “South Africa has no declared enemies anywhere”.

The two countries cooperate in areas such as defence, development, science and technology, arts and culture, energy, and agriculture. France is South Africa’s third biggest trading partner in Europe.

Meanwhile, 142 civil society organisations and international organisations with representatives in 35 African countries have written an open letter in support of the ICC, addressed to foreign ministers due to meet at the African Union summit on Saturday.

Deliberations on the future of African support for the court are set to take place the next day.

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