S.Africa to meet EU over Iran oil sanctions

Pretoria – South Africa will be sending a delegation to Brussels to discuss the impact on South Africa caused by the European Union-led sanctions on Iran crude oil exports.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said it was important that South Africa briefs the EU on the effects of such sanctions on the economy, considering that South Africa depended on imports for oil.

“We have agreed to send an inter-ministerial delegation to Brussels to discuss the impacts of the application of EU sanctions on Iran on South Africa and the rest of the Southern African region,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

She met with EU foreign policy head, Catherine Ashton, in Pretoria on Friday.

Any disruption to crude imports could affect petrol prices in South Africa, which have reached their all-time high in recent months. The restrictive sanctions are targeted at Iran’s nuclear programme, the people who run it and the money that funds it. South Africa imports about 20% of its oil from Iran.

The EU sanctions include a ban on the provision of insurance and reinsurance by EU insurers to Iran and Iranian owned companies. The EU also bans new contracts on imports of petroleum and petroleum products from Iran and demands an end to existing contracts by July 1.

Nkoana-Mashabane said Pretoria’s relationship with the EU has intensified over the years.

“We are strong on issues of mutual interest… We talked about Africa and the Eurozone crisis and agreed on a number of things,” she said.

Over the past year, South Africa and the EU had worked together in dealing with some of Africa’s challenges, including crises [in] Madagascar, Somalia, Mali and progress to bring about constitutional normalcy in Zimbabwe.

Ashton said the EU’s partnership with South Africa was crucial economically.

“These are not the easiest times economically for either of us but I believe we should continue to work harder together to ensure that we provide the opportunities to simulate growth to provide jobs for our people,” she said.

It was important for the EU and SA to stand together in the responsibility to show leadership of conflict resolution on the continent. – SAnews