President Jacob Zuma has this morning, 22 September 2017, returned from his working visit to the USA, where he participated in the General Debate of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Themed “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for all on a Sustainable Planet”,
Deliberations focused amongst others, on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); climate change; peace and security issues and UN reforms especially UN Security Council reform.
The President’s UN programme began with the Meeting of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change.
The President also took part in the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General's High Level Meeting on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and the Establishment of the Circle of Leadership.
President Zuma also signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 20 September 2017. Signature of the Treaty reflects South Africa’s continued commitment towards the achievement of a world free from the threat posed by nuclear weapons and ensuring that nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes only.
"South Africa is of the firm view that there are no safe hands for Weapons of Mass Destruction," President Zuma said in his address to the United Nations General Assembly.
"The only viable solution to the problems of nuclear weapons is their total elimination as expressed in the recently UN adopted Treaty banning Nuclear Weapons," said the President.
President Zuma nevertheless reaffirmed the inalienable rights of states to peaceful uses of nuclear energy as reinforced in the Non Proliferation Treaty.
South Africa also continued to raise concern regarding the strength of the institutions of global governance, including the United Nations, specifically the Security Council, and advocated for the urgent reform of these institutions with the aim of correcting the historical injustice against Africa, reflected in their outdated structures.
In this regard, President Zuma reiterated his call for the reform of the United Nations Security Council, arguing that failure to achieve the long awaited ideal would result in the UN irreversibly losing its legitimacy.
The President also warned about the effects of climate change on the globe, urging all nations to act together urgently in order for future generations not to suffer untold consequences.
President Zuma further committed South Africa to working with the United Nations to promote peace, human rights and sustainable development.
In addition to the UNGA General Debate, President Zuma attended the Working Luncheon hosted by US President Donald Trump in honour of African Leaders.
President Zuma also hosted the commemorative reception in honour of President O.R. Tambo, who was born one hundred years ago. South Africa has declared 2017, “the Year of O.R. Tambo".
The President returned to the country via the South African Airways flight SA 204 from John F Kennedy to OR Tambo International Airport.
President Zuma was accompanied by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; Minister of State Security, Mr David Mahlobo; Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa, and Minister of Water and Sanitation, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane.
Issued by the Presidency