S. Africa Minister Conveys Message of Goodwill, Partnership

S. Africa Minister Conveys  Message of Goodwill, Partnership S. Africa Minister Conveys  Message of Goodwill, Partnership

The South African minister of international relations and cooperation said her country seeks to restore economic ties with the Islamic Republic, especially in the field of energy.

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane made the remarks in a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani on Monday, IRNA reported.  

"Today, I am carrying the message of goodwill, solidarity, partnership and extensive cooperation between South Africa and the Islamic Republic of Iran," she said.  

Emphasizing South Africa's commitment to cooperation and partnership with Iran, Nkoana-Mashabane noted that strong political relations can set the stage for enhanced economic ties.  

President Rouhani, in turn, expressed Tehran's interest in expanding ties with Pretoria, saying the two sides need to step up efforts to achieve the aim.  

Referring to the Iranian people's "historical memory" of the African nation's struggle against apartheid to achieve independence, Rouhani said it is "a big capital" which needs to be used to establish closer ties between the two nations in economic, cultural and scientific fields.

He also called for expansion of ties in science and technology in an effort to end the monopoly of a few countries in the field.  Rouhani also urged closer cooperation between the African Union and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), expressing readiness as the NAM president to make efforts to facilitate collaboration between the two major blocs.   

  Position on Nuclear Issue

Nkoana-Mashabane said the position of senior South African authorities on the peaceful use of nuclear energy by the Islamic Republic is "totally clear," adding that Pretoria unconditionally supports the path taken by Iran to resolve the dispute over its nuclear activities, namely the path of negotiations, bearing in mind that the Iranian nation seeks nothing but peace.  

Criticizing the intensification of sanctions against Iran in recent years, she said, "South Africa has never approved of unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic," which have been employed in violation of international norms and have harmed the interests of the African country.

Rouhani, for his part, stressed Iran's determination to help settle the dispute over its nuclear activities and said, "In the course of negotiations we have based (our policies) on respecting international rules and regulations and at the same time continuing peaceful nuclear activities in the path to development."  

Rouhani reiterated Iran's position that imposing pressure and economic sanctions was not the right solution to the dispute and was only to the detriment of all parties.

  Virus of Violence  

Turning to regional issues, Rouhani underscored the need to take joint measures to combat terrorism and violence, which are being spread to all parts of the world, likening the phenomenon to "a dangerous virus" which needs to be eradicated through international collaboration.  

He also called for helping the nations which are suffering from civil wars and foreign attacks, especially Yemen, saying that military action is no solution to internal problems of regional states. Rouhani repeated Tehran's appeal for the establishment of national dialogue in the crisis-hit Arab country and the provision security for relief work to help the war-affected people in Yemen. Nkoana-Mashabane had also met Majlis speaker Ali Larijani on Sunday at the premises of the Iranian Parliament in Tehran.  

"The resolution of global issues demands international collaboration," said Larijani.  

The South African minister, for her part, praised Tehran's effective role in the region and stressed diplomacy as the only means to find a way out of regional crises.