Address by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad at the Opening Ceremony
of the 2nd Meeting of the South Africa-Nigeria Bi-National Commission Special
Implementation Committee (SIC), Tshwane, 5 May 2005
Excellency Prof. Mike Kwanashie
Your Excellency Mr Bangumzi Sifingo
from Nigeria and South Africa
It is both an honour and a privilege for me
to open the second meeting of the South Africa-Nigeria Bi-National Commission's
Special Implementation Committee. The first meeting of this Committee, you will
recall, was held two years ago, in October 2002, prior to the 2003 5th annual
session of the Commission.
On the eve of the 7th session of our Commission
due to be held in Nigeria later this year, we are reminded of the foundation on
which it was established, namely a mutual recognition of the fact that ours is
a special friendship and partnership that we should continue to deepen and broaden.
This present meeting allows both sides an opportunity to review the progress made
in implementing decisions of the Commission. In any relationship, I am sure you
will agree, there are always options to do things in a better way. This meeting
will therefore examine some of the structures of the existing Commission and see
whether restructuring options exist which could amplify its effectiveness. We
must candidly ask ourselves whether we have met the objectives set by our principles.
There is some perception that our Joint Commission has not achieved much. Is this
a correct perception? What is the role of the Implementation Committee? Has it
carried out its tasks? We must answer these questions.
We are acutely conscious
that we cannot successfully meet the challenges of poverty alleviation and sustainable
development if there is no peace and stability. I am therefore happy to note that
our meeting takes place at a time when the continent is making progress with regards
to conflict resolution. This season of hope brings with it prospects of enduring
peace, stability and prosperity. In this regard I would like to take this opportunity
to salute the role of HE President Olusegun Obasanjo for his selfless commitment
to bringing about a peaceful resolution to conflicts that continue to afflict
our continent. We pay tribute to Nigeria's role in bringing about an end to the
conflict in Sierra Leone and in Liberia. These two brotherly countries are now
going through a post-conflict resolution phase. The sounds of machine guns have
ground to a tumultuous halt in these two countries. Peace in Sierra Leone and
Liberia has brought with it prospects for stability in the Manu River Basin, and
by extension in the West Africa Region.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo,
the transitional government is making commendable progress with the implementation
of the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement. The DRC has entered a critical phase
in the transitional process, namely the phase of preparing for elections and finalising
the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) process. In so far as
elections are concerned it is crucial that outstanding legislation be passed expeditiously
and the necessary funds be availed for conducting the elections. At the moment
plans are afoot for voter identification and registration. Concerning the DDR
process thousands of combatants voluntarily laid down their arms at the end of
March 2005, and a sizeable number of these were able to make use of reintegration
programmes and jobs promised to them. More still needs to be done in this area
to ensure that all combatants are disarmed and reintegrated into Congolese society.
The announcement by the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR), on 31 March
2005, that they would unconditionally abandon the armed struggle and return to
Rwanda, has boosted prospects for security in the Eastern part of the DRC and
broadly in the Great Lakes Region. This development will without doubt contribute
towards the easing of tensions between the DRC and Rwanda.
At the beginning
of this year the government of Sudan and the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement
signed an historic Agreement, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which marked
an end to one of Africa's longest conflicts. This Agreement will contribute towards
building national unity and creating conditions for socio economic development.
We hope that the spirit that led to the conclusion of this agreement will prevail
amongst the warring parties in the ongoing Darfur conflict. In this regard we
wish HE President Obasanjo success in his untiring efforts at bringing about peace
in the Darfur region of the Sudan.
In so far as Burundi is concerned it
is heartening to note two major developments that took place recently namely the
adoption of an interim constitution by the transitional government and the Burundian
political parties, and the successful referendum that was conducted in a peaceful
atmosphere. Progress has also been made with the DDR process and most importantly
the PALIPEHUTU/FNL; the only armed grouping outside of the Arusha process has
indicated its interests in joining the transitional government. The approval of
the Electoral Code and Communal Law by the Senate that will allow the National
Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) to finalise the elections timetable is
another positive development that is worth mentioning. Many challenges remain,
including the announcement of the election timetable, the integration of returnees,
and internally displaced persons. The urgent resuscitation of the Burundi economy,
especially the Agricultural Sector on which 95% of Burundians rely for their livelihood
and the infrastructure in general, remains crucial. This will commence after the
elections, and will be implemented within the framework of the reconstruction
With regards to Cote d'Ivoire, we are happy to note
that the parties to this conflict are currently implementing the Pretoria Agreement.
Last week President Gbagbo announced that he had accepted the determination of
the Mediator with regards to the contentious Article 35, therefore paving the
way for Mr Alassane Ouattara to contest the Presidential Elections scheduled for
October 2005. We are hopeful that this step will be key to unlocking a major problem
which has beset Ivorian politics for the last decade. In a series of meetings
on implementing the DDR process, the Chief's of Staff of FANCI and the FAFN, together
with Prime Minister Diarra met in Bouake following the signing of the Pretoria
Agreement and agreed that all heavy weapons would be withdrawn from the Zone of
Confidence. In addition they agreed that the DDR process would commence officially
on 14 May and extended to 31 July 2005. These are indeed positive and encouraging
developments which call on us to maintain the momentum and accompany our Ivorian
brothers and sisters in their search for peace. The resolution of the Ivorian
conflict will without doubt contribute to peace and development in West Africa.
Togo, we welcome the decisive intervention of the ECOWAS Chair, Niger, following
the death of President Gnassingbe Eyadema. We also welcome the intervention by
Nigeria in seeking to defuse the volatile situation following the elections that
were held on 24 April 2005.
We can confidently proclaim that many of the
conflict areas on our continent are moving in the direction of peace and stability.
Recent events have proven that Africa is taking its future into its own hands
in addressing these remaining areas of conflict.
Sadly, in relation to
conflict resolution, we Africans do not take sufficient credit for successes achieved,
this interalia, include
While the crisis was deepening
the international community hesitated and were reluctant to take timely action.
at its own expense, hosted several meetings which finally led to the Global and
All Inclusive Agreement.
We remained seized with the situation and are involved
in various initiatives in the administration, military and economic fields.
was generally accepted that the "negative forces" from Rwanda based
in the DRC, were the major source of instability and conflict in the DRC, however
there was no decisive action to deal with them.
It was only after the Peace
and Security Council decided to send in a contingent of 7 000 troops to forcibly
disarm the negative forces that they decided to form the Democratic Liberation
Forces of Rwanda and committed themselves to finding a political solution.
According to the UN mandate, it could not send troops to Burundi
until there was a complete cease-fire. However, after the Arusha Agreement, it
was absolutely essential to consolidate the progress made. Africa therefore decided
to send an African force to help create conditions for a UN intervention.
Africa once again had to act timeously and decisively to stabilise
I believe that Africa's experiences will serve the UN well
not only with regards conflicts in Africa but throughout the world.
me to use this opportunity to convey to the Government and people of Nigeria,
the congratulations of the government and people of South Africa on the major
role being played by Nigeria as the current Chair of the African Union.
must deal with progress but also identify some major challenges that remain.
importance of the Peace and Security Council.
Concretisation of all elements,
- the Standby Force
- Early Warning System
Defence and Security Policy
Reform of Global Governance
the proposed reform of the UN system, the Report by the High Level Panel establishes
a dialectical nexus between development and security issues. The issue of the
reform of the UN Security Council will be placed on the agenda for the 2005 Millennium
Review Summit, scheduled to take place in New York from 14 - 16 September 2005.
African representation in the UN Security Council will assist in advancing an
African agenda in the UN system, an agenda that seeks to deal with the twin challenge
of poverty and under development.
The report released on 21 March 2005
by the Secretary-General of the United Nations entitled "In Larger Freedom:
towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All", is the focus of
the debate on the UN Reform process and forms the basis on which the outcome of
the Millennium Review Summit (September 2005) is being prepared.
of the Ezulweni Consensus, we should undertake an active approach once the AU
has adopted a united African position on the report of the Secretary-General.
Differences have emerged. How do we deal with this?
Presently six African
candidates. How do we give concrete expression to our decision to jointly campaign
for the proposed two Security Council seats.
In the final analysis we must
never allow competition for the Security Council seats divide the continent, which
will prevent us from tackling the fundamental challenges of poverty alleviation
and sustainable development.
Democratisation of world governance should
not be restricted to the Security Council but should include all the UN structures
including the Bretton Wood Institutions.
enter a challenging period as Africa in particular and the South in general, as
we engage the developed countries of the North on issues of development. South
Africa and Nigeria, together with a number of others, will engage the G8 at Gleneagles
in Scotland in July this year. As developing nations, we are striving for a more
equitable, far and just international system. We should therefore use this SIC
meeting as a platform to develop views on finding for NEPAD, debt issues market
access within the framework of the Doha agenda, and official development assistance.
this regard we should be guided by the 13th meeting of the NEPAD Heads of State
and Government Implementation Committee that was held in Sharm Al-Sheik on 19
April 2005 to discuss the implementation of NEPAD and related projects as well
as its financing. It is incumbent upon you to fully study the decisions of this
meeting and consider how we can co-operate to ensure implementation.
should answer the question - what concrete progress we made in relation to NEPAD.
G8 Summit will also discuss priorities such as co-ordinated assistance, increased
support to regional programmes, increased international donor aid, conflict resolution,
infrastructure, private sector engagement as well as reform of UN institutions.
In this regard the Commission for Africa report, released on 13 March 2005 by
the G8 Africa Personnel Representative States and NEPAD Steering Committee, will
be an integral part of discussions. Your deliberations must enable us to have
a common approach at the meeting.
The Asia-Africa Summit held in Indonesia
from 18 - 24 April 2005 represents a critical step towards the implementation
of a New Asian - African Strategic Partnership. The attendance by 85 Asian and
African countries at the Conference is a demonstration of the political will and
commitment to forge a new strategic partnership between the two continents. Among
the documents produced during the Conference was the Declaration on the New Asian
African Strategic Partnership (NAASP). The Asia Africa Strategic Partnership,
will place emphasis on the promotion of trade and the development of infrastructure
and transport sectors between African and Asian countries.
As two major
players on the African continent how do we ensure that the new strategic partnership,
in concrete terms, helps us to tackle the major challenges of underdevelopment.
regard to world trade and economic development, the Millennium Project Report
(MPR) provides the UN Secretary-General with the mandate to develop concrete action
plans for the international community to reverse poverty, hunger, disease and
underdevelopment affecting many countries, especially the African continent. Various
programmes have been identified to enhance implementation of the MDG's at the
regional, national and international level. The global partnership between developing
and developed countries should be enhanced in order to address these issues. Strategies
focusing on poverty alleviation should be long term and therefore focused on sustainable
development and economic growth. It would be critical to promote coherence in
the international development policy, to promote reform of international institutions,
to encourage debt relief and to promote access to markets. It is critical that
African countries engage the international community on supporting cross- border
investments in developing countries. In keeping with the above, NEPAD is the key
socio-economic and sustainable development tool of the African Union. The United
Nations has therefore adopted NEPAD as the framework for the UN's engagement with
Both our countries support the Doha Declaration
in view of its development and poverty alleviation measures. We must continue
to demand better market access for all African countries in order to improve exports
as well as promote economic growth for African countries. We will continue to
support promotion of trade as this will undoubtedly increase foreign direct investment
and simultaneously increase employment opportunities, which will assist in extricating
poor countries out of poverty. We must continue to support the promotion and development
of agriculture and it is hoped that progress will be made on agricultural liberalisation
during the Round. One of the groups lobbying extensively for the promotion of
agricultural issues is the G 20 of which both South Africa and Nigeria are members.
The G 20 and the EU have produced a broad framework for agricultural negotiations
during a meeting held on 12 February 2004.
We seek to respond to the challenges
facing our two countries and our continent in conditions of specific realities,
this interalia, includes
Very few people can argue
that we can "roll back" globalisation. However while we accept that
globalisation opens up possibilities for the vast majority of countries, especially
in sub Saharan Africa it has had negative consequences, which further marganisalises
and impoverishes of people.
How do we respond to this?
2. Africa is
not high on the agenda of the USA. The fact that the Africa Committee of Congress
has been merged with the Human Rights Committee and the International Organisations
3. Negative reporting on Africa generally and NEPAD specifically
This increased markedly after the Zimbabwean elections. It seems
that the EU and the USA will continue to impose sanctions on the Zimbabweans,
further aggravating its precarious economic situation.
How do we respond
4. How do we respond to a recent article TERRORISM: NIGERIA - US
EXPERT: NIGERIA MAY BE AL-QAEDA'S NEW HAVEN
Lagos - A United States intelligence
expert and former ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Princeton Lyman, has said that after
the dreaded Middle East terrorist group, Al-Qaeda was chased out of Afghanistan,
it has shifted base to Nigeria in which its influence is growing by the day. Lyman
in a report on the American television news station, CBN News, quoted a United
Nations investigation which he said uncovered al-Qaeda's surreptitious training
and building bases in Nigeria in support of his conclusion that the country is
a natural target for terrorists seeking to expand their operations. Lyman, said,
"You have 60 million or more Muslims in Nigeria. It is the most populous
state, and it is a country in which there has been a long history of religious
tension, sometimes well-managed, sometimes not well-managed. If you wanted to
target a state in West Africa, that's the one you target." The CBN noted
that in a video message broadcast on the Arab television station al-Jazeera, Al-Qaeda
leader Osama bin Laden singled out Nigeria, because of its close ties with Washington,
as a country worthy of jihad -- making the threat of a terrorist attack on Nigerian
soil a very real possibility. Lyman noted: "...and that in itself is very
damaging to international interests." In justifying why Nigeria is a potential
area for al-Qaeda to show interest in, the report states that Nigeria is Africa's
leading oil producer and also one of the top sources for oil for the United States.
America imports as much oil from Africa, as it does from Saudi Arabia and the
thirst for African oil is expected to double in the years to come. Lyman said,
"Twenty-percent of the new oil coming on the market over the next decade
is going to come from West Africa, and U.S. companies alone are going to be investing
about 50 billion dollars up and down West Africa. Nigeria is a major part of that."
It is further believed that slashing the West's oil arteries has become a major
part of Al Qaeda's terror tactics since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack
on World Trade Centre, New York and other places US security experts say that
by hitting oil targets overseas, terrorists can hit the US economically. In the
last 12 months, al Qaeda-linked groups have launched a series of attacks on several
oil-rich countries, including Nigeria. CIA's new director, while briefing the
congress after his appointment had expressed concern that the allure of fanatical
Islam is attracting an alarming number of people from Nigeria's Muslim community.
The rise of religious extremism is threatening to turn Africa's most populous
nation into a breeding ground for international terrorists. "As you know,
you don't need a large amount of people," Lyman observed. "You need
'seams' within populations to exploit frustrations that have been going on for
a long time.' Intelligence experts, he said, have warned that, for a long time,
the U.S. has ignored Nigeria on almost every level, including intelligence gathering.
Author Douglas Farah has documented al Qaeda's growing sanctuary in Africa. "The
U.S. intelligence involvement in West Africa, particularly after the collapse
of the Cold War, was minimal," said Farah. "The Africa, or the sub-Saharan
African bureaus of the CIA, were cut to the bone. They lost two-thirds of their
station in West Africa, and the stations that remained were staffed at less than
half the level they had been before. So you are talking about a huge cut in our
ability to monitor these areas of the world," he said. Farah says that is
one reason why U.S. intelligence failed to anticipate the stunning spread of radical
Islam across Africa. He added, "but particularly in West Africa. The Wahabbi
strain of Islam, which preaches hatred to the West and is largely funded by Saudi
charities, moved in very rapidly in the early 90s. And it is something that people
are only now discovering, and only now starting to focus on in a very minimal
way." Paul Marshall, a human rights advocate, says it is Saudi-sponsored
Wahhabi strain of Islam, that is fuelling much of the Islamic fervour in Nigeria.
Marshall said, "You go there and you'll find the Saudis, and you find the
Sudanese there, you find the Libyans there, you find Syrians there, Pakistanis
there, and it's all part of a world-wide Islamization." It is believed that
to try and checkmate the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, the Pentagon is deploying
huge amounts of resources to intelligence-gathering in Africa. Washington has
sent U.S. Marines and Special Forces to train local armies in several countries
where terror threats are believed to be growing. General Charles Wald who oversees
most of Africa for the U.S. military's European Command once said, "We are
developing information sharing -- some people might call it intelligence -- but
we are doing that, and we are helping train those countries to do a better job
of actually policing their borders." (Global Media)
Have we studied
the UN Report? What are the implications of what the report states and what Paul
Against this background, it is my opinion, that the Special
Implementation Committee is the most important mechanism with regard to our bilateral
relationship, as it provides us a platform to assess challenges and progress within
the different Working Groups that are encapsulated by our Bi-National Commission.
I am disappointed by the fact that it took us this long to meet again and I hope
that during your deliberations you will find a way for a more consistent plan
regarding the regular meetings of this mechanism. This institution is really envisaged
to be the engine room of the BNC.
Delegates, certain challenges have been
identified with regard to the implementation of some agreed projects by the different
Working Groups. It is my wish that by the time we are finished we would have also
identified ways and means to engage with such bottlenecks, and ensure the smooth
implementation of BNC decisions.
Our principals are conscious of the challenges
our countries and the continent face and demand that we take our Joint Commission
and the Implementation Committee serious.
This demands that we frankly assess
what we have achieved.
Time is not on our side.
Once again, I wish
you success with your deliberations.
I thank you.
Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa
on 082 990 4853.
Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152