By Confidente Reporter
INTERNATIONAL Relations Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has urged diplomatic staff to ensure that the review of the Namibian Foreign Policy serves the interests of all Namibians with honour and diginity.
She was speaking at a conference to update Namibia’s foreign policy which started in Windhoek on Monday. The conference brings together stakeholders to review the country’s foreign policy, in realignment with current national priorities and programmes which are aimed at eradicating poverty.
“When we adopted our foreign policy issues of environment, human trafficking, terrorism, piracy and cybercrime did not feature very prominently on the international agenda.
“Today these issues have become global priorities as they transcend national borders and require collective international efforts to address them,” she said.
She further told a full packed conference room that international relations and cooperation were based on mutual benefit and understanding as Namibia is a member of various multilateral organisations and a signatory to numerous international treaties and conventions.
“The review of our policy is therefore to be guided by both domestic needs and national obligations to international legal instruments that we have signed and acceded to.
“While reviewing our foreign policy, we are to be mindful of the fact that we are living in a global environment that requires flexibility, hence we take cognizance of contemporary issues and development.
“I urge participants to this conference to ensure that the review of the Namibian Foreign Policy should serve as an opportunity to reflect on how best we can continue to serve the interests of the Namibian people with honour and diginity, while maintaining peaceful co-existence and mutual respect with the rest of the world.”
In his keynote address, President Hage Geingob outlined key precepts that should be captured as outcomes in the revised policy on international relations and cooperation.
“The evolution of communication technology has led to redundancy of traditional diplomats. Gone are the days of cumbersome and dated reports. In today’s world of social media and 24-four hour news cycles, diplomats are expected to be up to date and technology savvy to ensure that any information he/she generates has relevant context,” Geingob said.
He added that terrorism had also impacted the modern-day diplomat as terror threats have fundamentally changed diplomatic communication.
“As diplomats, we need to closely examine the root causes of the hate and hopelessness that drives these terror attacks and which provides fertile ground for our young people to subscribe to the message of terror as opposed to diplomacy. War starts where diplomacy fails.
“Globally, many countries have moved away from the traditional diplomacy characterised by niceties and subtle cajoling. The countries these days use diplomacy as a tool to carry out and execute their political and economic agendas. If we should redefine our international relations policy, it would be that it is an extension of our domestic policy. Therefore, our policy on international relations must serve our domestic interests,” he emphasised.
The President also spoke on embracing regional alliances.
“As pan-Africanists, it goes without saying that our African brothers and sisters will always be welcome in Namibia. As a first step we have recently abolished visa requirements into Namibia for diplomatic and official African passport holders. We are committed to extend this privilege to all-African passport holders by initially issuing visas on arrival and eventually abolishing visa requirements”.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015