Notes following Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, Media
Centre Union Buildings, Pretoria, Tuesday 29 August 2006
- There are indications that the agreement that brought
an end to hostilities on Tuesday 22 August 2006, is holding. The warring groups
have started returning to the locations they occupied before 20 August 2006 as
part of the agreement.
- As part of the agreement reached on 22 August 2006,
verification teams (military related committee) consisting of MONUC, PNC, EUFOR
and representatives from the warring groups have confirmed that indeed the warring
groups have returned to their original positions. The second committee of the
agreement, the Mixed Commission, which is supposed to deal with political matters,
has not met. This Commission is supposed to investigate what happened on 20, 21
and 22 August 2006.
- The situation in Kinshasa is calm but tense but there
has been a return to normality. Members of MONUC, PNC and EUFOR are patrolling
the streets of Kinshasa to ensure the ceasefire between the two groups holds.
to defuse the remaining tensions continue.
- It is expected the Cabinet,
who have not met since 29 June 2006, are expected to meet 29 or 30 August 2006.
It is vital for the Cabinet to meet to enable it to give direction to the ongoing
- Two television stations belonging to President Kabila
and Vice President Bemba have been suspended for failure to adhere to balanced
journalism and incidents of blatant inciting of people to acts of violence. The
High Media Authority took the initiative to launch a Code of Conduct for media.
The first such agreement was signed on Saturday 26 August and the second signing
session, with the aim of including all media in this arrangement, will be held
on Wednesday 30 August 2006.
- In terms of Article 71 of the new Constitution,
the second round of Presidential elections should be organised 15 days after the
results of the first round have been officially published. It is expected that
the Supreme Court will validate the provisional results on 30 August 2006. This
would mean the second round should be held around the 15 September 2006 although
this is logistically impossible. The Head of the IEC Rev Malumalu had initially
proposed the second round of elections to be held on 29 October 2006. This was
initially accepted by all parties with no objections raised regarding the unconstitutionality
of this date. It seems this matter will now be raised.
- In addition, representatives
to the Joint Commission created in terms of the 22 August 2006 agreement, have
not yet been nominated and the Commission has not been able to begin its work.
This commission should consist of representatives of the Kabila and Bemba groups
as well as MONUC. The Commission is also to have two sub-groups - one to investigate
the events of 21 and 22 August and the second to deal with complaints from the
two sides and to establish rules according to which the parties will act and interact
until the time of the second round.
- The IEC has decided to publish the
results of the legislative elections as it becomes available, the first of which
were published on 26 August 2006.
- With the elections, we may have forgotten
that security problems still exist in the DRC. There are suggestions by MONUC
that in the Ituri region, rebel leaders who signed the ceasefire agreement operating
in the Ituri region are recruiting fighters again. MONUC is investigating these
reports - this situation, if found to be true, cannot continue as it would only
serve to further destabilise the region.
1 and 2 August 2006 opposition party leaders - former Vice President Alphonse
Marie Kadege and former rebel leader Alain Mugabarabona - were arrested on the
grounds of breaching national security. On 21 August 2006 former President Domitien
Ndayizeye was arrested. No official explanation has been provided regarding the
arrest of former President Ndayizeye.
- The United Nations Security Council
on 25 August 2006 released a statement in this regard: "The members of the
Security Council expressed their serious concerns about the reports of a possible
coup attempt in Burundi and the subsequent arrests of political leaders. They
encouraged the Government to follow due process during its investigations surrounding
these events. They called on the government and call parties in Burundi to preserve
peace and national reconciliation and to promote social concord in their country.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for the efforts of
the Regional Peace Initiative on Burundi and the South Africa Facilitation to
broker a peace agreement between the government of Burundi and the Paliphehutu-FNL.
They took note of the progress made so far and urged both parties to conclude
the discussions expeditiously."
- As you know, the Ceasefire Agreement
should have been signed today, but has been postponed until further notice - the
outstanding issue is the sharing of military and government posts and logistical
- Not much has changed
since we spoke last week.
- UN Mission Chief Pierre Schori said, "There
is a lot of work being done, preparations being done, but the timetable set down,
is not realistic."
- This matter will be discussed at a meeting convened
by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the fringes of the United Nations General
Assembly in New York in September. All Ivorian and other parties will have the
opportunity to present their views and a decision can be taken on how to proceed.
challenge remains: President Gbagbo has said he will remain President until the
elections are held, the opposition is saying that cannot be.
- The New
York meeting will have to discuss all these issues.
the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hedi Annabi warned
the Security Council that the security situation in Darfur, has worsened since
the last briefing to the Council in June.
- Last week Secretary General
Kofi Annan wrote to the Security Council to express alarm about the situation
in Darfur. As many as 1.6 million people are now inaccessible.
- The situation
continues to deteriorate. As you know, the US and Britain have co-sponsored a
resolution - which has not yet been adopted.
- Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir
has written to the Security Council urging it to be patient in resolving the conflict
in Darfur and indicated that the US-UK draft for a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur
was unacceptable to Khartoum.
- The US-UK draft calls for the deployment
of a 17500 strong UN force and an additional 3300 civilian police. The draft resolution
also calls for an expanded logistical role for the UN.
- Sudanese Deputy
Ambassador to the UN Omar Bashir Manis has said his government remains opposed
to a UN deployment: "Legally speaking the African Union has not the right
to transfer the mandate to the UN. The Sudanese government is opposing the sending
of troops and I cannot see how anyone can envisage sending troops to a country
which is not welcoming of these troops."
- We now find ourselves in
a very delicate position. There are increasing attacks against the AU with the
killing of two Rwandan soldiers lately
- President Bashir, in a letter to
the President of the Security Council wrote: "At the most recent Summitof
the AU, agreement was reached with Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United
Nations, that a 6-month plan would be submitted under which the Government of
Sudan, in co-operation with the African Union and United Nations agencies involved,
would return the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur to normal. The
plan was submitted to the Secretary-General, who promised to study it an to express
an opinion on it. We looked forward, through the plan and through the discussion
thereon with the Security Council, to bringing together the efforts to achieve
a comprehensive and just peace in Darfur on the basis that the international family,
represented by the United Nations, would be a principal partner in support of
the efforts to achieve peace in Darfur. The process of transferring the mandate
of the African Union forces in Darfur to United Nations forces does not find acceptance
among large sectors of the people of the Sudan."
- We are beginning
to see sharp differences regarding this matter - the US Ambassador to the UN would
like a vote by the end of August.
- We must be very vigilant at this time.
Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting in Cairo expressed support for Sudan's position.
They have however sent representatives to the Security Council meeting yesterday
while the Government of Sudan did not send any representatives.
positive news is the announcement that the Ugandan government and Lord's Resistance
Army (LRA) on Saturday 26 August 2006 signed an agreement to cease hostilities.
This agreement becomes effective today Tuesday 29 August 2006.
- The Head
of the Ugandan delegation Interior Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said, "there
is currently an unprecedented will from both sides to reach an agreement."
LRA supported this view by saying the, "LRA is more committed to this process
than ever before. We are committed to this process however long it may take."
are to begin on Thursday 31 August 2006. Issues to be agreed upon include: LRA
demands that include huge cuts in the army, LRA representation in all political
appointments and total autonomy of northern Uganda, wealth and power sharing as
well as the economic and social development of northern Uganda.
- The truce
also calls for the safe passage of LRA forces to two sites designated as assembly
points - one at Owiny-ki-Bul in Sudan's eastern Equatoria on the east side of
the Nile, for those rebels in Southern Sudan and in Uganda, and another for those
in the DRC at Ri-Kwangba in western Equatoria to the west of the Nile. Those fighters
in Uganda who cannot move to southern Sudan are allowed to assemble in any place
of worship in Uganda.
- There has been some significant progress and we
hope it continues.
- We were asked last week whether we had received a request
from the LRA to mediate. We can now confirm that we did, a week ago, receive this
request. It is our view that the Facilitator Dr Machar is doing a good job and
while we will closely follow the situation, we should support him in his endevours
to bring this matter to conclusion.
President Putin's State Visit
- Russian President Vladimir Putin will pay a historic
visit to South Africa Tuesday - Wednesday 5-6 September 2006. This will be the
first time a Russian Head of State will visit South Africa and only the second
time a Russian Head of State will visit Africa.
- As you know, Russia is
currently chair of the G-8 and a permanent member of the United Nations Security
- Since developments in Russia, we see it is now beginning to re-emerge
as a player on the world stage.
- We believe this visit comes at a very
opportune time - the Russian President, in his State of the Nation Address in
May 2006 has indicated that Africa is one of Russia's foreign policy priorities.
this context, discussions will have increased relevance:
- Off course political
and economic relations will have to be discussed, especially the work that is
being consolidated through the Intergovernmental Trade and Economic Committee
- The visit will come a few days after Iran has responded to the
Security Council regarding its nuclear weapons programme and after the response
to the P5+ Germany proposal. Since we have not received a clear brief of the response
by Iran to the P5 + Germany, we look forward to discussing this matter with President
Putin. We would also like to receive an understanding from Russia as to how the
P5 + Germany intends to deal with this matter and Russia's position on a Security
- We will also seek Russia's position on the Middle
East as the situation continues to be volatile and dangerous. We will also discuss
the regional dynamics in the Middle East. As you know, Russia is a member of the
Quartet and a co-sponsor of the Roadmap.
- United Nations Security Council
Reform - the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September is very important
as it will have to evaluate how far we have come in terms of the United Nations
reform. We are of the view that Russia and South Africa have many common positions
on this matter. We will also discuss broadly with Russia the comprehensive reform
of the United Nations including the Bretton Woods Institution.
- Both countries began their democratisation processes
at approximately the same time.
- In 2005, SA imports amounted to US$ 18.2
million and SA exports amounted to US$ 106.5 million. We do not believe these
figures are reflective of the potential that exists between both countries.
Putin will be accompanied by a large business delegation. The Russian Federation
adopted a Decree in March 2003 to include South Africa in a list of developing
countries that would enjoy preferential trade tariffs and duties with regard to
exports to Russia. Bilateral relations also expanded significantly under the umbrella
of the Intergovernmental Trade and Economic Committee (ITEC) between South Africa
and the Russian Federation.
- Solid progress in the field of Science and
Technology relations, especially in terms of South Africa's policy objective of
establishing South Africa as a key player in international astronomy and deep
space research, also characterise the relationship.
- Russian tourists at
the high end of the market visiting South Africa totaled 8,549 in 2002, and decreased
slightly for the years 2003 to 7,698 and 2004 to 7,473 respectively. The number
of Russian tourists is comparable to those from Greece and Argentina. The number
of South Africans visiting Russia is growing steadily.
- The South African
fruit exporting company, Capespan now ranks Russia as its single largest fruit
export market for South Africa, surpassing the UK for the first time last year.
In 2004 Capespan exported fruit produce worth $20 million to Russia out of a total
trade of $56 million and presenting a 30% share of the export market to Russia.
Apple and pear exports have registered an increase in their share of the South
African deliveries to Russia. Demand for grapes has been booming in Russia. This
is an area that can be further expanded.
- We have also established a joint
task team in the field of minerals and energy. South Africa and Russia have some
of the world's most strategic mineral deposits.
- The South African investment
in Russia is also quite significant: The SA multinationals Anglo-American, Standard
Bank, De Beers, JCI, Barlowworld, Capespan and Bateman have substantial interests
in Russia. In addition, SAB/Miller has established a brewery in the Kaluga Region,
which represented a US$100 million investment, and their product, Golden Barrel
Beer, is highly successful in the local market. Standard Bank also has a growing
presence in Russia as well as SAPPI, Protea Hotels and Sun International.
March 2004, the Russian company, Norilsk Nickel bought 98.5 million common shares,
or 20% of the South African gold producer Gold Fields for $1,16 billion. Norilsk
Nickel is now the world's largest producer of the nickel and palladium group of
metals, accounting for 18% of world nickel production, 13% of cobalt, 3% of copper,
over 50% of palladium, 14% of platinum and 15% of world gold production. It should
be noted that Norilsk Nickel announced in March 2006 that it plans to sell the
said shares bought from Gold Fields. It would be interesting to ascertain from
the reasons for this.
- There are many other initiatives with regard to
Russian companies: PetroSa, Mvelaphanda Resources, Pan African Energy Resources,
Pelewan and Lazig, Sekoko Resources, Afro Resources, Mineralco, Randgold and Exploration,
Phikoloso Mining and Global Eagle Strategic Empowerment Alliance Systems have
all had discussions with their Russian counterparts.
- The CEO of Renova,
Mr Vekselberg, was invited in 2005 to become a member of the President's International
- Russia's largest steel maker, Evraz, recently said
that it would decide within less than a year whether to buy a bigger stake in
Highveld Steel&Vanadium. Evraz currently has a 24,9% share in Highveld. It
is possible that Evraz could buy Anglo America's Highveld share of 29,2 % in order
to introduce black investors to Highveld.
- There are tremendous opportunities
for economic links to be expanded.
- Serious expression should be given
with regard to exchanges of technology in the fields of mining, mineral beneficiation,
- We are very pleased to be hosting President Putin especially since
he earlier this year indicated that Africa was a foreign policy priority for Russia.
It is important that relations be strengthened - this is very important also in
terms of NEPAD. Russia's initiatives with regard to debt cancellation, special
tariff arrangements, etc indicate their support of the African agenda.
soldiers are also involved in UN peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic
of Congo, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Liberia and we will have an opportunity to discuss
African conflict resolution and peacekeeping.
Questions and answers
Deputy Minister Pahad, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Fraser is trying
to persuade President Bashir to accept a UN peacekeeping force. What reports is
South Africa receiving about this matter?
Answer Our reports are
indicating that she carried a letter from President Bush to President el-Bashir
but that she could not deliver it to him but to another official.
Deputy Minister, you have said President Gbagbo has said he will remain President
until the elections. What is the view of your government on this? Will a transitional
government be better?
Answer This is not a matter for us to decide
- the people of Cote d'Ivoire must decide on this matter. This will be on the
agenda of the September meeting convened by United Nations Secretary General Kofi
It is unlikely that President Gbagbo is going to accept that his
interpretation of the Constitution is incorrect regarding his position that he
remain President until elections are held, nor will the opposition parties easily
relent on their positions. There are too many disparate views that must be married
for a solution to emerge.
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, Greg Schultz
the US representative to the IAEA was in South Africa last week. I am not certain
whom he met. It is clear though that he would not have been here unless there
was dissatisfaction on the South African position. Is this position going to change?
When will we hear it?
Answer The report from the Director-General
of the IAEA Mohamed ElBaradei will be available before the UN Security Council
deadline. We will therefore be able to see how Iran has managed to comply with
the IAEA and whether our position in maintaining that the IAEA is best placed
to deal with this matter is a correct one.
We still believe that if the
matter if taken to the Security Council before all attempts to deal with it through
the IAEA is exhausted, this COULD be a recipe for disaster.
Deputy Minister Pahad, John Bolton US Ambassador to the UN has said that if
the US cannot convince the Security Council to impose sanctions, then the US would
assemble a coalition of forces to impose sanctions on Tehran. What is your view?
We have always believed that sanctions must be imposed through the Security Council.
If not, a new precedent will be set - one through which countries who do not comply
with the imposition of sanctions could themselves become the victims of threats
and sanctions. We do not believe that sanctions should be imposed outside of the
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, has South Africa
expressed concern over the arrests of Burundian opposition leaders? Have you received
an explanation in this regard?
Answer We are following the matter.
Before his arrest, former President Ndayizeye met with the Presidents of Tanzania
and Uganda and had also requested a meeting with President Mbeki. Before anything
could be finalised he was arrested.
Former Vice President Alphonse Marie
Kadege and former rebel leader Alain Mugabarabona were also arrested on the grounds
of breaching national security
In response to a question of a few weeks
ago regarding the alleged involvement of South African's in the attempted coup
- to date our investigations have shown that no South African's have been involved
in this plot.
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, South African troops
from Burundi are scheduled to return later this year. Are you concerned that the
withdrawal will impact on the security situation?
Answer The government
of Burundi stipulated a timeframe for the withdrawal of UN troops.
with this we had already begun scaling down deployments in terms of our bilateral
arrangement with the government of Burundi - including VIP protectors. We hope
that the withdrawal of these troops will not leave a vacuum in terms of security.
by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152