Position of the South African Government, holding the African Union's Peace and Security Council Chairpersonship for August 2004, regarding the Support of the Sudanese Government of the Militias committing Atrocities in the Darfur Region of Western Sudan

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NUMBER: 2

DATE: 19 AUGUST 2004

The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the Deputy President:

(1) Whether in the light of the fact that the President holds the African Union's Peace and Security Council chairpersonship for August 2004, the President has officially rebuked the Sudanese Government for its support of the militias committing atrocities in the Darfur region of Western Sudan; if not, why not; of so, what steps have been taken in this regard?

(2) Whether, in the light of the US Congress decision of July 2004 to declare the atrocities being committed by Government-backed militia in the Darfur region of Sudan to be genocide, and given the fact that the Presidency has so far maintained a silence on the humanitarian crisis in the Sudan, the Presidency supports the US Congress resolution; if not, why not; if so, what factors were used to determine such a decision?
N518E

REPLY:

(1). While the South African Government has taken keen interest in the resolution of the Darfur conflict and the ensuing humanitarian crisis, a fundamental objective of South Africa's foreign policy is to deal collectively with problems occurring in other African countries in regional and continental bodies established specifically for this purpose. For that reason South Africa will continue to work, within and through the AU Peace and Security Council, towards the resolution of the Darfur crisis and will not make any unilateral statements on the crisis.

Through the African Union South Africa is committed to ensuring that there is peace, security and stability in the Darfur region. As a result we have been fully behind every effort taken by the AU aimed at resolving the crisis.

This includes the decision by the AU Peace and Security Council, as the situation deteriorated, to transform its Military Observer Mission into a fully-fledged peace-keeping mission of approximately 2 000 troops, responsible for, among other things, disarming the Janjaweed militia.

(2) With regards to the US Congress resolution on Darfur, the South African Government would like to reiterate the fact that South Africa supports and concurs with the AU views on the Darfur situation. In this regard, the South African government supports the AU Peace and Security Council Communiqué of 4 July 2004, which states that, "even though the crisis in Darfur is grave, with the attendant loss of lives, human suffering and destruction of homes and infrastructure, the situation cannot be defined as a genocide."


 

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa