Notes following Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, Media Centre Union Buildings, Pretoria, Thursday 21 September 2006

  • Two major developments have preceded the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly that is currently underway in New York: the first was the 14th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) and the second was the inaugural Heads of State and Government Summit of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) trilateral forum.

Non Aligned Movement Summit

  • The 14th NAM Summit reaffirmed that the NAM movement is as relevant as it has ever been - with a membership of 118 countries it has a great capacity to work cohesively and with solidarity in the interests of the agenda of the South.

  • This Summit consolidated the relevance of the Movement. The Summit identified that great challenges exist in the areas of peace and security, economic development and social progress, human rights and the rule of law. Many new areas of concern and challenges have emerged which warrant commitment to uphold and defend the purposes and principles of the Charter of the UN and the principles of international law.

  • It is commonly accepted that we live in a more dangerous world than ever before, one in which there is a continuing lack of resources and underdevelopment, continuing lack of cooperation of and where coercive and unilateral measures are imposed. Rich and powerful nations continue to exercise an inordinate influence in determining the nature of international relations, including economic and trade relations.

  • The Movement reaffirmed support for its guiding principals and will uphold the principles of sovereignty equality, territorial integrity and non-intervention in the internal affairs of any State.

  • The Movement will develop friendly relations based on respect for principle of equal rights and the self-determination of people, achieve international cooperation in solving international problems and promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction.

  • So we have returned from Havanna having reasserted the core values that have driven the Movement since its founding in 1962.

  • Global peace and security continue to elude humankind as result of, inter alia, increasing tendency to resort to unilateralism and unilaterally imposed measures, non-fulfilment of the commitments and obligations assumed under the relevant international legally binding instruments especially on weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons treaties, terrorism, conflicts, violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, the use of double standards and the failure to fulfil commitments in the economic and social fields.


  • The gathering concluded that globalisation presents opportunities, challenges and risks and has produced uneven benefits among and within States, slow and lopsided growth and instability. Globalisation must be transformed into a positive force benefiting the largest number of countries, generate global strategy to prioritise the development dimension into global processes, benefit from the opportunities offered by globalisation and trade liberalisation, which requires greater coherence between the international trading, monetary and financial systems that should be open, equitable, rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory.

  • There is an increasingly vast and widening digital divide between developed and developing countries, which must be bridged. Technological innovations must be made more easily available to modernise and revitalise economies.

  • In this regard, while the majority of countries in the movement are underdeveloped, there are countries in NAM like South Africa, India, South Korea, Nigeria that are at quite advanced stages of development. There therefore exists the opportunity, for countries such as these, to co-operate amongst themselves to work in the best interests of facilitating the development of the South.

  • We also spent a lot of time discussing the methodology of the Movement and to make it more relevant to the current global paradigm. I want to believe that many of the issues discussed at the NAM will have a resonance at the United Nations General Assembly currently underway.

  • There will be a stronger cohesion amongst Heads of State and Government at the UNGA 61 to support multilateralism, preventing unilateral actions, and ensure the reform of the United Nations in its totality.

  • NAM has emerged from this session as a greater force.

  • The issues of Iraq, Iran, Palestine were all dealt with in a manner that will guide the way in which these issues are addressed at the UNGA 61.

  • I want to believe that we emerged stronger from the Havanna Summit

India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Summit

  • This inaugural meeting of the Heads of State and Government of India, Brazil and South Africa dealt with many of the same issues as the NAM and UNGA 61.

  • The three leaders discussed sustainable economic and social development in the world and their respective regions, multilateralism, the reform of the United Nations and the Security Council. They also expressed concern at the latest failure in the Doha Round of Trade negotiations and expressed hope that the matter will be resolved before it leads to the complete collapse of the international trading system with all its consequences.

  • The leaders also committed themselves to working within the framework of UNGA and NAM to pursue United Nations reform. India and Brazil have both indicated their candidatures for a permanent security council seat. The African Union has not yet decided on an African candidate as it is awaiting details on the exact size of the expansion of the Security Council.

  • The leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. They stressed that there can be no justification, whatsoever, for any act of terrorism. They shared the view that the international community should intensity efforts and co-operation to fight this scourge. They called on all member states to seriously work towards an expeditious finalization of the text for a comprehensive convention on international terrorism. This matter is long overdue and has been reinforced by the NAM declaration on terrorism. I believe with these developments we are now firmly on the road to comprehensively fighting terrorism.

  • The leaders also committed themselves to further enhancing trilateral cooperation in the field of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis and to explore the possibilities of concluding a trilateral instrument for collaboration among all three countries for research and development of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis diagnostic tools, drugs and vaccines. This would pool the significant capabilities that exist in the IBSA countries.

  • India, Brazil and South Africa share similar views regarding the importance of achieving sustainable development, particularly through the eradication of poverty, the promotion of economic growth and the protection of the environment and urged the donor countries to meet their Official Development Assistance targets and to mobilize new and additional financial resources.

  • The Prime Minister of India and the Presidents of Brazil and South Africa took stock of the global security situation concerning disarmament and non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The leaders reiterated their commitment to the goal of complete elimination of nuclear weapons. They emphasized the necessity to start negotiations on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons in a comprehensive, non-discriminatory and verifiable manner with a specified framework of time. The leaders reaffirmed the inalienable right of all countries to have nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, consistent with their international legal obligations. The leaders agreed to explore approaches to co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy under appropriate safeguards.

  • In this regard, the NAM Summit issued a special declaration on the Iranian nuclear situation and supported the position of the IBSA Heads of State and Government.

  • The IBSA Summit also looked at the collapse of the WTO's Doha Trade Negotiatons. Failure to conclude the negotiations in accordance with the mandate will deprive developing countries of fair and equitable conditions for fully realizing their Right to Development. Distortions affecting agricultural trade and production should be expeditiously eliminated and agriculture should be fully incorporated into the rules of the multilateral trading system. They called upon countries that have not yet done so to substantially and effectively reduce their expenditures on agricultural subsidies. India, Brazil and South Africa shall spare no effort to resume the suspended negotiations.

  • The leaders reviewed initiatives for trilateral sectoral cooperation and expressed deep satisfaction with new, concrete results achieved during the 1st IBSA Summit in the areas of Energy, Agriculture, Transportation, Trade, Science and Technology and Information Society. They decided to further explore additional opportunities for trilateral cooperation.

  • The Heads of State and Government expressed their deep satisfaction with the signing, during the 1st IBSA Summit, of the IBSA Action Plan on Trade Facilitation for Standards, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment.

  • They expressed their full support and commitment to the expeditious establishment of the Working Group to focus on the modalities for the envisaged India-Mercosur-SACU Trilateral Free Trade Area.

  • They reaffirmed, in parallel, the importance of ongoing India-Mercosur and Mercosur-SACU negotiations with a view to broadening and deepening existing Tariff Preference Agreements.

  • The Business Forum held ahead of the Summit was concluded successfully. We do believe however, that the representation by Brazil and India was not matched by South Africa.

  • A Memorandum of Understanding on Biofuels was signed, with the decision to create a Trilateral Task Force on Biofuels to work on concrete areas of common interest.

  • The Prime Minister of India and the President of South Africa praised the Ethanol international initiative launched by Brazil and agreed on the need to work together to promote and enhance the use of ethanol and biodiesel.

  • The Heads of State and Government agreed that the Memorandum of Understanding on Trilateral Cooperation in Agriculture and Allied Fields, signed during the IBSA Summit, will be an important instrument to promote socio-economic development and South-South cooperation.

  • The Heads of State and Government welcomed the signing of the IBSA Trilateral Agreement Concerning Merchant Shipping and Other Maritime Transport Related Matters.

  • They also emphasized the importance of implementing the Memorandum of Understanding on Civil Aviation as soon as possible, through the establishment of regular air services linking India, Brazil and South Africa. They encouraged airlines from the three countries to continue working towards this goal.

  • The Heads of State and Government expressed their satisfaction with the signing of an IBSA Framework of Cooperation on Information Society, which provides the basis for future trilateral work aiming at reducing the digital divide in their societies.

  • The Heads of State and Government emphasized the fact that the IBSA Facility Fund constitutes a pioneer and unique initiative of South-South cooperation. In this regard, they expressed their satisfaction with the initiatives in Guinea-Bissau and Haiti. The Prime Minister of India and the Presidents of Brazil and South Africa underscored their countries' commitment to allocate at least US$ 1 million a year to the IBSA Facility Fund. IBSA members encourage developing countries, particularly the Least Developing Countries, to submit projects to the IBSA Fund.

  • 2nd Summit of the IBSA Dialogue Forum will be hosted by South Africa, on a date to be set through diplomatic channels.

  • I believe the IBSA and NAM Summits have laid a firm foundation through which we can interact on the agenda of the South. We should now move into the arena of concretizing South-South co-operation.

  • It is my hope that the South African private sector will take advantage of the opportunities being presented through these dynamic initiatives.

Visit to South Africa by Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh

  • South African President Thabo Mbeki will host Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on his first official visit to South Africa scheduled from Saturday - Tuesday, 30 September - 3 October 2006.

  • South Africa and India share a strategic partnership in developing the agenda of the South and the visit will take place within the context of South Africa's commitment to consolidate South-South relations for increased market and trade access.
  • The visit will help us consolidate the outcomes of the NAM and IBSA Summits and share perspectives of South-South co-operation

    • Issues on the agenda of discussions between President Mbeki and Prime Minister Singh at the Union Buildings are expected to include, among others:

    • Bilateral political and economic relations between both countries;
    • Consolidation of the outcomes of the IBSA and NAM Summits with a view to fast-tracking the developmental agenda of the South;
    • Outcomes of the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly including the comprehensive reform of the United Nations;

  • African developmental issues, peace and security on the Continent - in this regard we hope that India will follow some of the other Asian giants and become more involved in Africa.

  • This is a very important visit for us and will also give Prime Minister Singh an opportunity to, together with President Thabo Mbeki, commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Satyagraha philosophy by Mohandas (Mahatma) Ghandi in South Africa. This will be a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to Mahatma Ghandi's historical legacy.

  • While in South Africa, Prime Minister Singh will also visit sites in Kwazulu Natal in Durban of particular relevance to Mahatma Ghandi and interact with the members of the South Africa - India CEOs Forum chaired by Patrice Motsepe and Ratan Tata in Johannesburg.

Economic Relations

Trade between South Africa and India continues to grow. In 2005, total bilateral trade approached a level of R14.5 billion, with imports from India at R7.02 billion and exports to India at R7.5 billion. India currently ranks as South Africa's 13th most important export market and the 13th most important import market.

The sheer size of the Indian economy (14th largest manufacturing economy in the world) gives it an influential position in the global market in which South Africa has a key interest. Since South Africa and India have similar developmental challenges, their collective capacity in bargaining and voicing concerns that affect their economies in international forums is made highly effective. As a key emerging regional economy, India provides a platform for the re-integration of the South African economy with that of South Asia.

Opportunities for closer co-operation in the following sectors have been identified and form part of South Africa's trade development agenda in India:

  • Capital equipment
  • Agro-processed product
  • Autos and components
  • Services
  • ICT
  • Science and Technology
  • Health
  • SMME

While economic relations between both countries are strong and healthy, we believe there is room for this to be increased.

We will also look at defence co-operation between both countries. This is already quite substantive but again, there is room for growth.

Agreements between South Africa and India being presently negotiated

  • Free Trade Framework Agreement/ Preferential Trade Agreement (SACU);
  • MoU on Co-operation in the field of Agriculture;
  • MoU on Information and Communications Technology;
  • Agreement on the Promotion of Investment;
  • MoU between the South African and Indian Foreign Service Institutes.

Investment Indian investments in South Africa have grown in quantity as well as diversity. Investors include Tata (vehicles, IT, investment in ferro-chrome); Mahindras (utility vehicles); and a number of pharmaceutical companies, including Ranbaxy, CIPLA, etc. In 2004, Coromandal of India acquired 2.5% stake in Poskor; the Tata Group has 26% participation in the Second National Operator in the telecom sector approved by government in 2005. Their ferro-chrome plant in Richards Bay has received the go-ahead and they are also interested in moving into power generation and mining in due course. A JV is reported to have been set up between Adlab Films, India and Pan African Strategic Investments to produce films, bringing an estimated R 50 million of investment to South Africa. In January 2006, Apollo Tyres acquired Dunlop SA in a R500 million deal; and Indro Power Supply announced its plans to list on the JSE and to build a terminal to ship coal and iron-ore to India and China. In July 2006, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd signed an agreement to acquire the Rapidol, which had turnover of R 52 million in 2005. Ashok Leyland plans to invest R 50 million in a motor assembly plant in KwaZulu-Natal. The UB Group of India also has a limited investment in the hotel business.

South African investments in India are growing. SABreweries has acquired a majority interest in Mysore Breweries (US$ 17.5 million); Shoprite has established an outlet in Mumbai; the Durban businessman Mr Vivian Reddy has plans to invest in a casino project in Haryana in partnership with former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev. In February 2006, ACSA won the contract for upgrading the Mumbai Airport; SASOL is keen to invest in a coal-to-fuel project in India; and several South African pharmaceutical companies have signed JV and other agreements with Indian counterparts.

The South Africa - India CEOs Business Forum

  • The Indo - South Africa CEOs Business Forum was launched in October 2004 after the State Visit of President Kalam to South Africa. The Forum is aimed at stimulating trade and investment between both countries.

  • The second meeting of the CEOs Forum took place in Mumbai on 2 May 2005 and was chaired by Patrice Motsepe and Rattan Tata. The Forum identified the following areas of co-ordination:

    • Mining and minerals
    • Gems and jewellery
    • Power generation
    • Infrastructure development
    • Information and communication technology
    • Pharmaceuticals
    • HIV and Aids
    • Tourism

  • Working groups that are already in place:

    • ICT
    • Energy
    • Infrastructure
    • Education and Skills Development
    • Mining
    • Auto components
    • Tourism

ASGISA and JIPSA

In November 2005, Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi undertook a visit to India to seek co-operation in promoting ASGISA objectives, particularly in the field of skills development. A team tasked with identifying suitable Indian engineers, teachers and IT experts, among others, accompanied the Minister. The initiative formed part of a larger one looking at human resource development needs in South Africa and focussed on mentoring programmes, training programmes, short-term exchange programmes, and secondment of experienced Indian civil servants to build management capacity and transfer skills. In June 2006, this initiative was further enhanced by the signing of a MoU on Public Services and Administration Matters.

We hope the practical implementation of this agreement will unfold throughout the year.

We believe our relations with India have now taken a new upward phase.

Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Processes for the second round of elections are moving relatively well.
  • President Mbeki visited the DRC on 11 September to consult with the political leadership, including President Joseph Kabila and Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba. Discussions focused on the preparations for the second round of the presidential elections scheduled for 29 October 2006.
  • President Kabila and Vice President Bemba met on 13 September at a Cabinet meeting. It is a positive development that the two leaders have met following the August violent clashes between their forces. The Cabinet meeting was also attended by the three other Vice Presidents.
  • The DRC's Electoral Commission announced the provisional parliamentary election results on 9 September 2006.
  • According to the results, President Kabila's PPRD obtained 111 seats with his coalition "Alliance for Presidential Majority (AMP)" obtaining 224 seats. Vice President Bemba's coalition "Rally of Congolese Nationalists (RENACO)" obtained just over 100 seats.
  • According to the provisional electoral timetable, the National Assembly should have had their first meeting on 19 September 2006. Noting that no party or coalition won an outright majority in legislative elections, political parties are probably consulting among themselves to form a majority in order to elect a Prime Minister.
  • The Supreme Court ruled on 15 September that the results of July's historic presidential vote were valid and further ruled that the runoff election can take place as scheduled on 29 October, despite the constitutional provision that the elections should be held 15 days after the validation of results.
  • The court accepted a request from the DRC Electoral Commission for an exemption from this constitutional requirement not to hold a second-round elections 15 days after the validation of the first round results. The Supreme Court explained that its decision was based on the fact that it would have been impossible for the DRC Electoral Commission to distribute the electoral kits and ballot papers in 15 days. A period of 50 days has now been granted.
  • South Africa is printing the ballot papers for the presidential and provincial elections in the DRC. According to the IEC, the printing of the ballot papers was expected to be completed on 15 September 2006.
  • The South African Defence Force has started with the delivery of presidential and provincial ballot papers to the DRC for the 29 October 2006 elections. The first batch left South Africa on 16 September 2006 in accordance with the distribution schedule. If the schedule is kept, the ballots should be delivered to 14 hubs in the DRC by 2 October.
  • Preparations for the second round of elections seem to be going according to schedule.
  • South Africa expects to deploy an inclusive observer team of about 100-120 people and will seek Cabinet approval for this deployment.
  • Campaigning will take place between the 27 September and the 7 October 2006.
  • Ambassador Swing has commended the Congolese authorities for their swift action following the fire in Vice President Bemba's offices and the destruction of his two television stations. He has said this should not serve as a pretext for more acts of violence.
  • The UN still has 18 000 personnel on the ground and South African forces still play an invaluable role through MONUC and through bilateral co-operation arrangements.
  • South Africa will continue to support the processes in the DRC both through the UN and bilaterally through the agreements in place through the joint commission.

Burundi

  • As you are aware Minister Nqakula has gone to the region to consult and seek details on the implementation of the 7 September 2006 ceasefire agreement. He will ascertain how the government of Burundi will accommodate the Paliphehutu-FNL in the new arrangements.
  • He will also discuss the commission to oversea the implementation of the 7 September agreement.
  • He will also discuss how Burundians in exile, mainly Paliphehutu-FNL forces will be able to return to Burundi and how they will be integrated into society.

Côte d'Ivoire

  • Not much has changed since we spoke last week.
  • There is still the ongoing contention regarding the registration of voters and the DDR process.
  • President Gbagbo did not attend the Summit held on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly this week.
  • President Gbagbo is however reported to have said in an interview that the UN and French peacekeepers in Côte d'Ivoire could leave the country if they wished to: "I haven't asked them to, but I am thinking of an alternative [peace] plan that I will propose to the African Union."
  • At the end of October 2006, a UN-backed peace plan drafted by the African Union expires. President Gbagbo said in an interview, that he peace process had failed and that he had lost faith in the 10000 French and UN peacekeepers overseeing a ceasefire: "They haven't understood that this country is not Liberia, nor Somalia, that our institutions work … the time for proposals and negotiations is over. I have done everything they asked me to do and the rebels have not disarmed."
  • On Monday 18 September 2006 China and Russia blocked proposed UN sanctions against two of President Gbagbo's supporters, Mamadou Koulibaly speaker of the National Assembly and Pascal Affi N'Guessan chairman of the ruling Ivorian Popular Front.
  • South Africa, as the Facilitator, will continue to support the processes where possible. The mediator had not played a very prominent role since the international working group had been established but it is now clear that the mediator must become more actively involved.
  • It is clear that elections will not take place at the scheduled date.
  • The IWG met on 8 September 2006 and took several decisions. The matter will be taken to the United Nations Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council will continue to meet to see how it can support these processes.
  • The toxic waste situation has become a grave problem. There are media reports of the arrests of two French citizens. This also resulted in a cabinet reshuffle - cabinet now consists of 36 members. The Ministers of transport and environment have been replaced.

Sudan

  • Jan Pronk, special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General has said that the Darfur peace agreement ought to be in intensive care but is not.
  • United Nations Security Council Resolution 1706 adopted on 31 August 2006 made it clear that the international community favoured the transition from the African Mission in Sudan (AMIS) to a United Nations mission.
  • Agreement on this matter was invited from the Government of Sudan. It is clear that the government did not want such a transition to take place. In fact, the government responded by saying this was only a pretext for recolonisation and that the proposal was unacceptable.
  • The meeting in New York on the fringes of the UNGA agreed that the AMIS mandate will be extended to 31 December 2006.
  • Burkina Faso's President and current AU Peace and Security Council Chair announced yesterday Wednesday 21 September 2006: "There are a certain number of measures that were agreed upon, such as reinforcing the African troops, but also to strengthen the application of the Abuja agreement that was signed to bring all the parties involved to implement its terms. Other measures include straightening the border with the countries that are next to Sudan. Again, all this is [part of] efforts to strengthen the whole process."

Comparore said that the AU would handle the financing and support from African countries, the Arab League states would commit to financing for troops until the end of the mandate in December, while the UN would provide logistics and material support.

"All the negotiations and all the contacts we had clearly indicate that they [Sudan] are willing and disposed to work together with the UN."

  • President Comparore said discussions on the matter would continue through the African Union Peace and Security Council.

Middle East

  • This matter continues to be of great concern to us.
  • The Palestinian President announced the formation of the government of National Unity based on the prisoners document. Discussions are still ongoing on the character of this government.
  • We believe this means that all Palestinian groups have accepted the UN resolutions, the Arab Plan of 2002 and the Oslo Agreements which recognise the need for a viable state of Palestine living alongside a state of Israel. The US and EU can now normalise relations and end sanctions. We are pleased that the EU has said they are watching this matter closely and will consider to proceed once the government of national unity has been formed.
  • Israeli prisoner - Negotiations between Palestine and Israel brokered by Egypt on the prisoner exchange are at an advanced stage. President Mubarak has announced that a deal will be struck soon.
  • President Abbas held discussions with the Israeli Foreign Minister at the United Nations General Assembly - this was a precursor to a meeting of both heads of state. Both sides agreed that the meeting was constructive and that such meetings should continue.
  • President Abbas also met President Bush in New York yesterday.
  • It is clear that the international community must now move decisively to resolving this matter, ie. We have to ensure that the Road Map is implemented.
  • There was also a meeting of the Quartet in New York on Wednesday 20 September 2006: the Quartet stressed the urgent need to make progress towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and expressed its concern at the grave crisis in Gaza.
  • The Quartet also said the formation of a government of National Unity would lead to early engagement.
  • The Quartet underlined the urgent need for the parties to implement fully all aspects of the Agreement on Movement and Access. Accordingly, Rafah and all other passages should remain open, consistent with relevant agreements.
  • The Quartet encouraged greater donor support with a particular emphasis on security-sector reform, reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and economic development.
  • The Quartet reaffirmed its commitment to the Road Map as the means to realise the goal of two democratic states - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace and security.
  • I believe the NAM statement on the Middle East has taken us forward - peace and security for the people of the region must be achieved.
  • We believe that the Arab Plan is the best possible plan since it necessitates that Israel withdraw from all occupied territories, ie. Palestine, Lebanon and Syria and that Israel can live in peace with its neighbours. However, no solution in the Middle East will be possible unless a viable state of Palestine comes into being. We call on the Quartet to take more aggressive steps in finalising this matter.
  • A new dimension has been introduced in the Middle East - for the first time in years there is an opportunity for a resolution to the crisis.
  • President Abbas has called for the urgent convening of an international conference to discuss the final arrangements. We support this call.

Lebanon

  • The ceasefire in Lebanon is holding although the situation remains quite fragile.
  • There is now a new problem with which to deal: Israel has scattered at least 350 000 unexploded cluster bomblets on south Lebanon. We now have a situation where reconstruction efforts in Lebanon are being hampered by these cluster bombs, the dropping of which is in contravention of international law.
  • David Shearer, the United Nations humanitarian co-ordinator in Lebanon, said yesterday, "The outrageous fact is that nearly all of these munitions were fired in the last three to four days of the war."

"Outrageous because by that stage the conflict has been largely resolved in the form of the (UN Security Council) Resolution 1701"

Questions and answers

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, could we have some clarification on the African Mission in Sudan - the AMIS has been extended to December 2006. Who will finance this? To what extent are you satisfied that the AMIS will have a new mandate seeing that the current one is rather weak. Will you be putting an pressure on the government of Sudan to accept a UN Force?

Answer In terms of the outcomes of the Arab League Ministerial meeting, which supported the position of the government of Sudan, it was agreed that the AMIS be given the requisite funding and other logistical support to carry out it mandate.

The Arab States will support the AMIS until the end of its mandate.

The AU forces have done an excellent job despite the difficulties. We do hope that the mandate will be redefined.

There is no other way than what is currently being done to discuss the matter with the Sudanese government. We will continue to interact at all levels to convince them that a UN force will not be an instrument to perpetuate other agendas. The UN must also interact with the government of Sudan on this matter.

We will also engage bilaterally with the government.

President Mbeki did hold bilateral discussions with President Bashir at the NAM Summit.

This is now an AU Peace and Security Council matter.

Question Deputy Minister, what possible compromise is there - the government has said they will not accept a UN Force.

Answer We must seriously examine parts of the resolution about which they have concerns - parts that suggest a contravention of territorial integrity and sovereignty.

We must acknowledge that the failure to resolve the Darfur situation is impacting negatively on the entire situation in Sudan.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, does the South African government believe there is a basis for the objections from the Sudanese government? Are you confident that funding from the Arab League will be forthcoming?

Answer We are convinced that funding will be made available - whether it will be sufficient remains to be seen once the pledges are taken into account.

Discussions are ongoing with the Sudanese government about their objections but these are very confidential.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, what is the response of the South African government to the abuses against labour activists in Zimbabwe last week?

Answer I have been out of the country and not briefed on this matter. I will cover it next week.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, apparently Rev Frank Chikane is in Zimbabwe - what is he doing there?

Answer I did not know he was there. I will brief you on this next week.

But perhaps he is there in his capacity as a Reverend - he has a religious constituency there.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, you mentioned defence co-operation between South Africa and India - will the matter of the Denel investigation by the Indian government be discussed?


Answer This matter is under the line function of Minister Erwin and he has visited India and held discussions with his counterparts on this matter.

The Indian investigation has not been concluded but I am certain we will have further discussions in this regard. We would however want the matter to be finalized as soon as possible. We would not want our overall relations with India to be adversely affected because of this.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs

Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

21 September 2006


 

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