Presence and Role of the of the United Nations Security Council in Somalia, the situation in the Comoros after the African Union intervention force went in, the role that the United Nations will play in Chad, and the benefits for South Africa from the Declaration of Intent signed in Pretoria with the Nordic Countries

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY 

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 47 

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 16 OF 13 JUNE 2008

Mr J M Sibiya (ANC) to ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs:

(1)(a) In what form will the United Nations Security Council be present in Somalia and (b) what role will it play? (2) what is the situation in the Comoros after the African Union intervention force went in. (3) whether the United Nations have any personnel in Chad; if so, what role do they play; (4) what benefits will South Africa gain from the declaration of intent signed in Pretoria with the Nordic countries?

REPLY:

1. (a) In what form the United Nations Security Council will be present in Somalia and (b) what role will it play?

(a) On 15 May 2008, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1814 (2008) on the situation in Somalia.  In the resolution, the Security Council requested that the Secretary-General continues with the contingency planning for possible deployment of a UN peacekeeping Mission to succeed AMISOM. The Security Council is currently awaiting the report from the Secretary-General detailing these issues.

(b) The deployment will be done in consultation with UN Political Office in Somalia and UN country   teams and will take into account possible options for the size, configuration, responsibility and proposed areas.  All this also depends on progress in the political front and the improvement in the security conditions on the ground.

2.         What is the situation in the Comoros after the African Union intervention force went in?

The security situation continues to be stable since the AU intervention. The first round of the Island Presidential elections took place on 15 June 2008 and the second round (run-off) of elections will be conducted on 28 June 2008 within the context of the Fomboni and Beit Salaam Agreements, which   seek to address, amongst others, the constitutional competencies between the Union Government and Island Authorities. The elections are organised by the interim government that was inaugurated immediately after the military intervention which ousted the former Island President of Anjouan, Colonel Bacar, on 25 March 2008. Of importance to note is that the ousted Colonel Bacar escaped to the French administered island of Mayotte and Reunion where he applied for political asylum, which was rejected by France. France had also rejected to extradite Colonel Bacar, despite the demand from the Comoros.

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) 127 932 voters have been registered on the electoral roll.  There were five presidential and 240 voting stations.  Furthermore, there were election observers from the African Union, the Indian Ocean Commission, the International Organisation of Francophonie and the League of Arab States that would be deployed in Anjouan’s five regions who described the elections as free and fair. The leading candidates Mr Djaanfari Mohamed (44, 18 %) and Mr Moussa Toiyibou (40, 12 %) could not win the required majority to avoid the 28 June 2008 run-off elections.

The Comoros is, in the medium to long term, faced with the challenges that include re-integration of Anjouan into the Union, financial protocols between the Union and Island Institutions; Security Sector Reform, preparations for 2010 and 2011 elections; organisation of institutions of law and order as well as the judiciary; economic development; governance; ensuring respect for the rotational presidential formula within the letter and spirit of the Fomboni and Beit Salaam Agreements as well as the National Reconciliation Process. 
 

3.         Whether the United Nations have any personnel in Chad; if so, what role do they play?

The UN Mission in Chad known as MINURCAT comprises of approximately 300 police, 50 military liaison officers and civilian staff responsible for Security and Protection of civilians, Human rights and the rule of law.

UN Security Council Resolution 1778 (2007) under Chapter VI of the Charter, mandated the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad (MINURCAT) with the following mandate in eastern Chad and north-eastern Central African Republic;

(a) Security and Protection of civilians

Create a special police force, from the existing Chadian police, whose duties and functions will be limited to the camps in ensuring the upholding of law and order. Liaise with the national army, gendarmerie and police forces, the nomad national guard, the judicial authorities and prison officials in Chad and the CAR to contribute to a more secure environment. Liaise with the Chadian Government and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in support of the latter’s efforts to relocate the refugee camps (which are close to the border with Sudan).Liaise closely with the Sudanese Government, the AU, the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS), the African Union / United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and other relevant regional and international agencies in the region     

(b) Human rights and the rule of law

Contribute to the monitoring and protection of human rights, including sexual and gender-cased violence, as well as to make recommendations to the competent authorities. Support efforts that strengthen the capacity of both governments and civil societies in attaining international standards on human rights compliance and to also prevent further recruitment and use of children by armed groups. Assist both governments in promoting the rule of law; strengthen the legal system through support for an independent judiciary in coordination with other UN agencies.

4.         What benefits will South Africa gain from the declaration of intent signed in Pretoria
........... with the Nordic countries?

(a) The Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Governments of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have, with this Declaration reached a common understanding on the overall framework for Partnership in Africa.

(b) There will be a systematic approach to sharing experience, knowledge and best practice in the area of south-south and tripartite cooperation.

(c) The Declaration will be a framework within which South Africa and the Nordic countries will cooperate in implementing joint initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and Sudan.

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