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Joint Press Conference by IBSA Leaders at the end of 3rd Summit of IBSA Dialogue Forum

October 15, 2008

Official Spokesperson (Shri Vishnu Prakash): Good evening and welcome to the Joint Press Conference. Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, His Excellency the President of Brazil, His Excellency the President of South Africa, in that order, would be making opening statements. Thereafter they will take one question from each side. Thank you.

Prime Minister of India (Dr. Manmohan Singh): Your Excellency President Lula; Your Excellency President Motlanthe; Excellencies; ladies and gentlemen of the media:

We have just concluded the Third Summit of the IBSA Dialogue Forum. We have had very friendly and constructive discussions. I thank President Lula of Brazil and President Motlanthe of South Africa for their guidance and for their contribution in making the Summit a success.

This Summit completes the first cycle of IBSA annual summits. Our unique forum has covered considerable distance since we established it. Our cooperative programmes are beginning to take effect. The process of coordinating on international issues of importance and of assisting other countries in the South has also taken root.

We exchanged views in depth on some of the crises that confront the international community today, viz. the international financial crisis and the rise in energy and food prices. We agreed on some ideas to tackle them and to collaborate closely as the international community grapples to find satisfactory solutions. To this end, we have decided to instruct our Finance Ministers and Governors of Central Banks to convene a meeting, as soon as possible, in order to establish a coordination mechanism. We already have Working Groups on Energy and on Agriculture and these bodies would carry forward our discussions.

India has circulated a paper on possibilities in cooperation in agriculture within IBSA and there are suggestions there on how to deal with food security.We discussed the role of clean energy in dealing with our energy needs. I thanked the Presidents of Brazil and South Africa for their support in opening up civil nuclear cooperation for India.

Trade and investment linkages among our three countries are growing. The current crisis affecting the international economy has made it that much more important for us to explore one another’s markets for mutually beneficial opportunities.

It is our expectation that the target of US$ 15 billion by 2010 would be achieved. We have accordingly agreed to set a target for trilateral trade of US$ 25 billion by 2015. For this purpose, we have agreed to instruct our appropriate financial authorities to explore new mechanisms to facilitate and increase trade among us and our trade negotiators should address the negotiation of the India-MERCOSUR-SACU trade arrangement in a time bound manner. Inadequate connectivity, in particular air connectivity, continues to impede greater trade and investment linkages. The Business Summit has discussed some proposals and we will examine them expeditiously.

We are currently in the phase of consolidation of the IBSA Forum and of propagating its benefits within our three countries. In this context we agreed on the importance of greater association and participation of civil society in our activities.

We are, therefore, pleased that the academic, business, editors and women’s forums met just prior to our Summit and made useful suggestions for further strengthening collaboration among our three countries. We look forward to expanding the coverage of the forums to include our Parliamentarians in the near future.

I am fully satisfied with the outcome of our Summit. We look forward to the fourth summit to be held in Brazil in early October, 2009.

I thank you.

President of Brazil (Mr. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva): My dear friend and Prime Minister Singh; my dear friend President of South Africa President Motlanthe; dear friends from the press; Ministers:

I believe that at the end of this Summit meeting it gives me the certainty that we were following the right path when we decided to create IBSA. It is very important for the press to perceive that IBSA has no executive secretariat; it has no headquarters. What drives IBSA is motivation and the understanding that three very strong countries from the South are together adding up their forces, are becoming even stronger; and together we can do much more.

I believe that it is extremely important, the participation of civil society representatives at IBSA. I believe the participation of the segments - business community, women, intellectuals, Ministers, judges from the judiciary power, editors - is extremely important because they give us the substance and they embody what we plan to do from here onwards.

Certainly we are discovering everyday the need that we have to work more and more. The number of agreements and memorandums of understanding that our Ministers have signed here today was really very important. But at the same time it demonstrates that we are still far away from achieving a fulfillment of all the potentiality that exists for South Africa, Brazil and India. That is why I would like to thank Prime Minister Singh for conducting the work today, for the warmth and hospitality that we received here in India.

I hope that next year I will host the meeting in Brazil and receive you all and have the same performance to reach the same number of agreements that have been signed here, and to treat you with the same warmth that I received here.

So my dear friend, thank you very much. I can reassure you that our meeting was extraordinary.

President of South Africa (Mr. Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe): His Excellency Prime Minister Singh, His Excellency President Lula of Brazil, hon’ble Ministers, members of the media:

We have emerged from a very successful IBSA Summit. We had fruitful deliberations covering a whole range of subjects, but most important of all we emerged with concrete plans contained in the memorandums of understanding and cooperation and action plans. We discussed and analysed the current financial crisis raging through Europe and the United States of America, and agreed that we need to direct our Ministers of Finance, Governors of Central Banks, Ministers of Trade and Industry, to come together and develop an adequate response to this crisis.

We have also explored possibilities of consolidating and strengthening trade among the IBSA countries with a view of expanding on participation of our people in order to ensure that we meet the Millennium Development Goals as set by the United Nations. The natural affinity between our countries and our people is a strength that we believe, properly tapped and harnessed, could elevate IBSA into a very important player in matters of wealth and development.

I take this opportunity to thank His Excellency Prime Minister Singh for his hospitality and the able manner in which he guided the deliberations today. I also take this opportunity to thank President Lula for his incisive analysis of the current situation. I believe that going forward in a concerted effort we could place IBSA on a very high pedestal and ensure that it serves as an engine for the economic development of our three countries and our three continents.

With these words I would like to pay my respects and thanks to President Lula because among the three of us he is a co-Founder together with those who came before us, in my case former President Mbeki, for their vision of establishing IBSA because I believe it has got a very important role to play in today’s world affairs.

Thank you.

Question (Mr. Manish Chand, Indian Media): Two quick questions. The first is addressed to the South African President. Sir, your country is very rich in uranium. Now that the NSG has granted waiver to India, will your country consider selling uranium to India? My second question is addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Sir, a very grim situation is developing in Sri Lanka. Apparently thirty MPs have threatened to resign over the situation in Jaffna peninsula. Have you spoken to the Sri Lankan President on this issue?

President of South Africa: As you would no doubt know, we supported India’s efforts in their negotiations with the United States of America regarding nuclear power, and we have absolutely no difficulties or objections to selling uranium to India. That we will do without any difficulties.

Prime Minister of India: To the question that was addressed to me with regard to the situation in Sri Lanka, let me say that the situation in Sri Lanka remains a cause of serious concern to the Government of India. We are concerned about the escalation of hostilities, the losses suffered by the civilian population and also the increasing number of internally displaced persons. Also we have been concerned about the harassment and killing of Indian fishermen while fishing in the neighbouring areas. In all these matters we have made representations to the Government of Sri Lanka. Only a week ago, the National Security Advisor called the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to make necessary representations to Sri Lanka. We have always believed that the situation in Sri Lanka does not call for a military victory. It calls for a negotiated political settlement which respects the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka and at the same time respects and grants the essential human rights of the minorities, particularly the Tamil minorities.

Question (Mr. Paulo, Brazilian Media): President Lula has talked a few times about the need of a new architecture for the world both to tackle this crisis and the new architecture that should arise after this crisis is finished. President Lula, what role should the major developing countries such as ours play on this new architecture? And concretely what should we do to get to such role; what should we do to tackle this crisis; and what should our countries do concretely to fulfill this role? Secondly, President Lula, I would just like to extend the question of my Indian colleague to you also. Is Brazil intending to sell uranium to India?

President of Brazil: I just have to remember the first part of your question and that is what do the Brazilians do; what is our share? First on the economic crisis, the first task that should be undertaken by the emerging countries, we have done it already. Our economies are stabilized. We all have reserves in hard currency. We all have surplus. We have a positive balance in our trade balance. And we have full control over our financial system. So this first part of the issue, we have done well.

Now the second part is not to allow that this crisis should come and affect our countries. What should we do? In my opinion, against the crisis we should be more bold. We should have much more determination. And at the same time we should establish, we should have much more understanding to increase the trade flow amongst the emerging countries to enhance our domestic markets and continue with the stabilization of our economies in our countries. Here in the IBSA meeting we have decided that it is necessary to call for immediate meeting of the Finance Ministers of Brazil, South Africa and India, that we should also call the Governors of the Central Banks of the three countries, the Trade and Industry Ministers of the three countries, plus the Foreign Affairs Ministers. So we can assume a joint position of the three IBSA member countries. And I will even say that this call is urgent. The second issue that we have to undertake is to talk with our friends either in the US or in the European Union that they should undertake the action that they should do immediately so that the effects of the crisis should not reach the less-developed countries that did not participate in this financial casino. They did not attend the casino and at the same time they were concerned and implemented surveillance and supervision in their financial systems. So, what are we watching?

The first time I mentioned about the subprime crisis was in September, 2007. We are already in October of 2008 now. And it was only in the last two weeks when the main leaders of Europe and of the US finally understood that there was a crisis going on in their countries. This is something unimaginable that it took more than a year for them to assume the responsibility that there was a crisis when they could have acted ten months ago, or five months ago, and thus could have avoided the situation to reach the results that it has reached now.

Can the crisis reach the emerging countries? If there is a deep recession in the European Union and in the US, yes, it may affect the emerging countries because they are buyers and we are sellers. That is why we need to diversify our trade relations. Brazil and India for example do not even exploit ten per cent of the trade potential that they have; and Brazil and South Africa are far away from exploring their potential fully. So, now what we have to do is to take care of our domestic economies, strengthen our domestic market. We will not stop investments in major infrastructure work and expect that the money that has been hidden will show up to guarantee liquidity at the international financial system.

Last but not least, I hope that now the IMF should tell the US that it is necessary for them to undertake regulatory measures for the functioning of the financial system, and that the Central Banks gathered in Basil should determine that it is forbidden that an investment bank should have no cap for leverage. So, if the rich countries now undertake what we did yesterday, I think the economy will go back on the track again.

Question (Mr. Dumisane, South African Media): My question can be responded to either by the Prime Minister or President Motlanthe. It seems that the WTO negotiations are still not moving forward as expected. What can the IBSA countries, as the ones leading the G-20 nations, do to move the talks to their conclusion?

Prime Minister of India: It is certainly a fact that the WTO negotiations have not moved as was anticipated. The July meetings of Ministers reached an impasse. There are issues which are of concern to developing countries particularly in the area of agriculture, the livelihood strategies of small and marginal farmers. There are also concerns about NAMA issues. There are other issues, services, intellectual property rights. But we all believe that every effort should be made to resume the dialogue. At this meeting the three of us have agreed that we should make every effort to send the right message to the world at large that we are keen to have the dialogue process resume so that an agreement can be reached as soon as possible.


Text in italics is official interpreter’s translation from Portuguesel.
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