Notes following briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahd, Imbizo
Media Centre, 120 Plein Street, Cape Town Thursday 24 August 2006
Republic of Congo
· All the observers have noted that given the
challenges in the DRC and despite some irregularities, there have been no signs
of massive fraud and the polls were free and fair.
· There have been
some complaint, these can be dealt with through the IEC.
· Before the
announcement of the provisional election results were made, there were incidents
of violence in Kinshasa.
· As you know President Joseph Kabila acquired
44.81% of the vote while Vice President Jean Pierre Bemba received 20.03%, Mr
Antoine Gizenga acquired 13.06%. None of the Presidential candidates obtained
more than 51% in the first round. Consequently the presidential second round has
been scheduled for 29 October 2006. The second round of the presidential elections
will run concurrently wit the provincial elections. The final results for the
first round of presidential elections are expected on 30 August 2006 after the
Supreme Court has received objections and verified the provisional results.
While Ambassadors forming part of the International Committee in Support of the
Transition (CIAT) were meeting with Vice President Bemba to discuss the violence,
the home in which they
were meeting was attacked with heavy artillery and
machine gun fire.
· Contrary to reports received, the Ambassador was
not at this meeting - he was already at the airport preparing to return to South
Africa for consultations. Our Deputy Head of Mission Kenny Pedro was attending
· CIAT held urgent meetings with the Head of State
and Vice-President Bemba on 21 and 22 August. During these meetings it was decided
to establish a working group with as aim the normalisation of the situation as
soon as possible. This group is composed of the Minister of Defence, the Chief
of the Defence Force of the FARDC, the Inspector General of the National Police,
the Commander of the Republican Guard, the Military Counsellor of the President,
officers of the guard of Vice-President Bemba, of EUFOR, EUPOL and MONUC.
The working group also decided on the following actions with immediate effect:
The consigning of all FARDC troops deployed in the capital to their initial positions
in view of re-establishing the statu quo ante;
· The establishment of
two mixed verification teams to ensure the implementation of the consignment by
· The National Congolese Police, solely responsible for
public order, will resume, as from tonight its patrols in the city together with
MONUC, EUFOR and EUPOL;
· Each of the parties committed themselves to
scrupulously respect these measures.
· At this stage, at least 25 people
are reported killed.
· South African embassy staff are safe and under
the protection of the SANDF Special Force. If the situation deteriorates, evacuation
will have to be considered.
· This violence has been unnecessary
and could indeed have disrupted the entire process. It could also have an impact
on preparations for the second round of voting. The working group that has been
established will therefore have a very important role to play.
The Security Council: They expressed their serious concern about the violent clashes
between armed elements that have taken place in Kinshasa on 20 and 21 August 2006.
They demanded that the Congolese political leadership exercise restraint and immediately
implement the ceasefire agreed between their forces and henceforth refrain from
any threats or use of force or intimidation against political opponents or their
supporters. They emphasised that there can be no military solution to political
issues in the DRC and urged all parties to take immediate steps to support the
democratic process that is underway. They called on the Congolese leadership not
to allow the progress made by the people of the DRC to be jeopardised at this
They expressed appreciation for the effective operation of EUFOR
DRC in support of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (MONUC). They renewed their support for the International Committee in Support
of the Transition (CIAT) and for MONUC and condemned any action threatening their
· There is some concern regarding the possibility of continued
fighting. We therefore call on the European Forces and the international community
to continue to support the political processes.
· The IEC has already
gone on tender for the printing of the second round presidential as well as the
Provincial ballots. It is envisaged that the printing of the ballots will start
from 1 to 10 September with delivery by the SANDF to the 14 hubs starting 15 september
till 2 October to allow internal distribution in time for the date of the 29th
October election. We will be recommending to the government to send observers
for the second round as we did for the first round.
· The South African
government will also continue its co-operation with the government of the DRC
through the Bilateral Commission that is already in place. Such co-operation entails
security sector reform, including the integration and demobilisation of the armed
forces and police training, training of immigration officials, the development
of a population register, the registration of public servants, a census of public
servants, development of an organic law for provincial and local governance and
encouraging investment in the DRC.
There are continuing tensions relating to:
· Suspension of the audience
· The issuance and delivery of the national citizenship certificates
The presidential decree changing some of the magistrates who were to participate
in the audience foraines
· The guidelines on the audience foraines published
by the PM's office.
· Some parties are also arguing that the army must
be reformed before the peace process can move forward.
· Some issues
raised are technical and deal with the processes in which the Prime Minister has
said are manageable.
· The PM explained that he will be implementing
the audience foraines according to the guidelines issued. The issues raised about
the audience foraines and national identification can be managed without stalling
the peace process.
· There is also the matter that the whole country
is not fully under the control of the government - the North is still governed
by Forces Nouvelles.
· As you are aware, the
African Union has requested that the African Mission in Sudan (AMIS) be replaced
by United Nations forces. The government of Sudan has not accepted this proposal.
The British and US have proposed a draft resolution for the Security Council.
This was rejected by the Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting in Cairo on 20
August 2006. The meeting called on the Security Council to postpone the United
Nations Security Council meeting to allow time for consultation and co-ordination
between regional organisations on the role of the AU forces in Darfur.
The meeting also requested that the Security Council meeting be closed to allow
all participants to speak frankly.
· The Arab League Foreign Ministers
have also urged Arab countries to fund the AMIS which they have agreed to do for
6 months from 1 October 2006.
· We remain
very concerned regarding the situation in the Middle East.
· The security
situation in the Gaza is also deteriorating especially with the arrests of the
Secretary of the Palestinian Legislative Council Dr Mahmoud Al-Ramahi and the
Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Eddin Shaer.
· These arrests are added
to the arrests of the eight ministers and 62 Hamas leaders including 20 legislators
since 29 June 2006.
· These arrests are impacting negatively on President
Abbas's efforts to form a coalition government.
· We believe the situation
requires urgent attention.
· The South African
government along with others welcomed the adoption of Resolution 1701 despite
some reservations by countries.
· However, the resolution has been adopted
and must now be implemented.
· Our concern is that it took five weeks
of intense fighting and destruction for the Security Council to act on this situation.
This is of great concern especially since this is the body charged with ensuring
and protecting global peace and security.
· The United Nations Security
Council has expressed concerns about Israel's violations of the resolution including
the attack on Bekaa Valley at the weekend and now the violation of Lebanese air
· There are delays in putting together an international peace
keeping force to ensure the resolution is implemented.
· The ceasefire
is fragile and we face a very dangerous situation. If violence breaks out again
it could lead to a regional conflict threatening international peace and security.
It is vital we find a long term, comprehensive solution for the whole region.
The Palestinian - Israeli situation is the main cause of the tension in the region.
The quartet and the international community have not acted as decisively as they
should have. The dangerous situation demands that they accept their responsibilities
and urgently complete the Roadmap.
· As you know,
Iran has now responded the proposal of the G5 + Germany. We have not seen their
submission and can therefore not comment on it at this stage.
United Nations Security Council deadline is later this month. This deadline will
be preceded by a report of the SG of the IAEA so it will become evident if the
IAEA process is moving forward.
· We will study the submission by Iran
when we receive it and make the position of the South African government available.
Africa - Rwanda Joint Co-operation Committee (JCC)
Dlamini Zuma will depart for Rwanda early next week where she will co-chair the
4th session of the South Africa - Rwanda Joint Co-operation Committee in Kigali
from Tuesday - Wednesday, 29-30 August 2006.
· This is a very important
meeting since it impacts on our bilateral political relations.
economic bilateral relations have been steadily increasing - but there is greater
potential for growth.
· This meeting will also give both ministers
an opportunity to discuss political developments - Rwanda is key to the situation
in the DRC.
· Discussions will therefore also look at how the people
of the DRC can be assisted to move forward.
· We have noted that none
of the post-election violence has been orchestrated by the people of the DRC -
the people have spoken and the leaders must rise to the challenge being put forward.
Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will host her Belarussian counterpart
for bilateral political and economic discussions in Pretoria on Monday, 28 August
· Minister Dlamini Zuma will host Minister Martynov within the
context of South Africa's priority to promote bilateral political, economic and
trade relations with countries of the world with a view to ensuring a faster and
shared economic growth in South Africa.
· Issues of the agenda of
discussions between Ministers Dlamini Zuma and Martynov on Monday 28 August 2006
are expected to include, among others:
· The status of bilateral political
and economic relations between the two countries;
· A brief by Minister
Dlamini Zuma regarding developments in the region, including the outcomes of the
· Democracy building, good governance, peacekeeping
and conflict resolution in Africa including post-election Democratic Republic
of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Sudan, and Burundi;
· developments in
· The Middle East conflict; and
· Other issues
of global interest including United Nations Security Council reform.
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, have you as yet met
with representatives of the British government regarding the anti-mercenary bill.
This bill has now been delayed in Parliament - does this mean there is room for
Answer As you may know the Minister without Portfolio
and the Chairperson of the British Labour Party were in South Africa last week.
We did have discussions with them on this issue.
There were also meetings
with the ANC and this matter was also discussed.
Question Deputy Minister,
did the South African government find their views persuasive?
I am not able to respond to that suffice to say we took note of their concerns.
These discussions were confidential.
Question Deputy Minister Pahad,
can you give us more information on President Putin's visit to South Africa?
I will do a fuller briefing on this next week.
However, President Putin
will be in South Africa at a very crucial time - the matter of Iran, the Middle
East, the African challenges will all be looked at during discussions with President
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, you mentioned that there are problems
with the assembly of an international peacekeeping force for Lebanon - will South
Africa be looking at assisting with this?
Answer We have not
at this stage had any discussions re: support from sub-saharan African countries.
Israel has already said it will not accept troops from certain countries.
As I have already said, the situation is becoming increasingly dangerous and extremely
fragile. We urge the United Nations to move more decisively in this situation.
The troops that have been promised should be forthcoming and the force must be
operationalised as soon as possible.
Question Deputy Minister Pahad,
has the South African government worked out by whom the conflict in the DRC was
Answer It is very difficult at this stage to work
out by whom the conflict was instigated - its like the chicken and egg story.
It is our own view that although there have been serious clashes, both sides have
now committed themselves to working with the working group to normalise the situation
and we must concentrate on this.
Our objective should now be to ensure
the second round of elections happens as planned.
Question Deputy Minister
Pahad, Foreign Minister Dlamini Zuma on Tuesday this week said the offer by the
G5+1 to Iran was definitely the basis for discussion and negotiation. Does the
South African government consider this proposal a serious offer for negotiations?
The Minister is indeed correct that this offer could be basis of serious negotiation.
The debate is now: will Iran denounce its nuclear programme before negotiations
The Minister also reiterated South Africa's position: all
signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have the right to use nuclear
energy for peaceful purposes - the Iranian government consistently argues it is
cultivating its technology for peaceful purposes.
Clearly what is needed
is more serious dialogue on this matter.
China and Russia have made statements
that they hope this situation can be resolved through negotiations. It seems that
Russia and China are also not in favour of premature Security Council sanctions.
We are also awaiting the IAEA report which will be released just before the Security
Council meeting to see what progress has been made in terms of the IAEA processes.
Deputy Minister Pahad, regarding Zimbabwe - was any progress made at the SADC
Answer It was a closed meeting attended by Heads of
State and their Foreign Ministers. The agenda looked at the economic situation
in Zimbabwe and Swaziland. We expect to be briefed soon and depending on the nature
of that briefing, we may make the information available at next week's briefing.
As you know, former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa has been appointed the
special envoy dealing with this situation. The United Nations Secretary General
has also withdraw from the situation in favour of former President Mkapa.
There is also a SADC process which is separate to this process.
Deputy Minister Pahad, what did you mean when you said you had concerns about
the situation in the Middle East?
Answer If our view is correct,
and I'm sure it is, it will not be possible to have a comprehensive solution to
conflicts and improved government-to-government relations in the Middle East unless
the Israel-Palestinian situation is addressed.
Unless there can be a united
Palestinian government based on the Prisons document that has been unanimously
adopted by all parties, and which opens up the possibility for negotiations based
on the Oslo Agreement, the Arab League Plan of 2002 and UN resolutions and makes
provision for an independent viable state of Palestine and Israel existing side-by-side
within secure borders and improved relations between Israel and its neighbours.
If the Roadmap is not operationalised, the situation will become very dire and
The special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General
has said the situation is worse than it ever has been.
community now has the obligation to act more decisively in creating the basis
for this situation to be resolved. The two-state solution must be the centre of
Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152