Notes following Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, Media Centre, Union Buildings, Pretoria, Wednesday, 8 November 2006

  • Today Wednesday 8 November 2006 the World Health Organisation nominated former Hong Kong health chief Margaret Chan as its nominee for director-general of the agency. The WHO is a very important institution and we congratulate Margaret Chan. I am confident she will continue to be seized with African issues during her tenure at the WHO.

  • Panama has been elected to the UN Security Council on the 48th ballot on Tuesday 7 November 2006: 164 votes out of 192. The South African government extends its congratulations to the government of Panama.

  • The 2006 Human Development report entitled, 'Beyond Scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis,' will be launched in Cape Town, South Africa on Thursday 9 November 2006. Notable addressees at the launch will include President Thabo Mbeki, Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and the Prince of Orange.

  • Following the pronouncement by the Elections Authority in Nicaragua of the outcome of the 2006 Presidential Elections for that country, the final vote count confirmed Mr. Daniel Ortega as having won the presidential race. The South African Government congratulates President-elect, Daniel Ortega.

In expressing congratulatory remarks to the newly elected President of Nicaragua, President Thabo Mbeki says of him "the election into high office of Mr Ortega offers great possibilities for the Nicaraguan people and the Sandinista Movement to engage in programmes that will push back the frontiers of poverty and usher in development. We look forward to working together with Mr. Ortega and his government in facing up to the challenges of the multilateral agenda, including the reform of the United Nations, trade talks and challenges in meeting the MDG's.

The White House said on Tuesday that it would work with Nicaragua Prseident-elect Daniel Ortega: "The United States is committed to the Nicaraguan people. We will work with their leaders based on their commitment to and actions in support of Nicaragua's democratic future," said national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

Johndroe went on to emphasize that "the groundwork has been laid to allow for increased prosperity and opportunity to the Nicaraguan people" through channels like the US-Central American Free Trade Agreement, US programmes to reward democratic and free market reforms, and debt relief.

The international community must accept the will of the Nicaraguan people and together work to resolve the serious under-development and poverty in Nicaragua.

  • In the United States, Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 1994, while control of the Senate hangs in the balance - 49 seats on each side have been achieved.

FORUM ON CHINA-AFRICA COOPERATION FORUM

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was established with the view to strengthening friendly cooperation between China and Africa. It developed into a platform where Africa and China could jointly address the challenges of economic globalisation and to promote common development.

The FOCAC in November 2006 was the first to be held at Summit level:

1 - 2 November 2006: Fifth Senior Officials' Meeting
3 November 2006: Third Ministerial Meeting
4 - 5 November 2006: Summit

The Summit adopted two outcome documents.

1. Declaration of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

The Summit adopted a Declaration, which is a political statement of cooperation and friendly relations between Africa and China. A major shift from the Chinese side was to accept that Africa should have full participation in the UN Security Council.

2. Beijing Action Plan (2007-2009)

The Summit also adopted the Beijing Action Plan (2007-2009). The Action Plan reflects what cooperation between Africa and China would entail for the following three years. The high lights under each chapter for cooperation are:

Political Cooperation:

Chinese and African leaders agreed to continue high-level visits and to set up a mechanism of regular political dialogue between Foreign Ministers to promote political co-operation.

Resolved to expand co-operation in the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and other international and regional organizations

In order to promote mutual respect, deepen understanding and enhance co-operation, the two sides will strengthen friendly contacts in various forms between the National People's Congress of China and parliaments of African countries as well as the Pan-African Parliament.

The two sides will promote exchanges and consultation between judiciaries, police and other law enforcement authorities, improve their capability to jointly prevent, investigate and combat crimes, enhance co-operation in legal assistance, extradition and repatriation of criminal suspects and management of emigrants, and work to resolve the issue of illegal migration through consultation.

The Chinese Government will continue to strengthen its co-operation with the African Union (AU) and sub-regional organizations and institutions in Africa, support the AU's leading role in resolving African issues, and take an active part in UN peace-keeping operations in Africa.

Economic cooperation

In the economic sphere, the two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in areas ranging from agriculture, investment, trade, finance, infrastructure construction, energy, natural resources, science and technology and information.

The two sides will give encouragement and support to their enterprises in conducting joint exploration and rational exploitation of energy and other resources based on the principle of mutual benefit and common development.

China and its African partners will improve information sharing and pragmatic co-operation in these sectors to serve the long-term interests of both sides.

The Chinese will send 100 senior experts on agricultural technologies to Africa to set up 10 demonstration centres.

The two sides agreed to create favourable conditions to grow China-Africa trade in a more balanced manner.

China will increase from 190 to 440 the number of exports items eligible for zero-tariff treatment from LDCs to China.

Cooperation in International Affairs

The two sides agreed that in reforming of the UN Security Council, priority should be given to increasing the representation of developing countries. The two sides will also work to strengthen consultation and co-operation in international affairs, serving the common interests of both sides and other developing countries

China and Africa welcomed the establishment of the Human Rights Council by the United Nations.

China and Africa will strengthen co-operation in countering terrorism and promoting nuclear disarmament. China and Africa condemn and oppose terrorism in whatever form and will explore methods of counter-terrorism cooperation.

The two sides also agreed to strengthen co-operation to face up to non-traditional security issues.

By 2009 China will double the size of its assistance to Africa

China will provide US$3 billion in preferential loans and US$2 billion preferential export's buyer's credit to African countries

China will cancel government interest free loans that have become due in 2005 by HIPCs and LDCs in Africa with diplomatic ties with China.

China will train 15 000 professionals for African countries in the next three years

China will set up 100 rural schools, increase the number of scholarships from 2 000 to 4 000 by 2009, build more Confucius Institutes in African countries to meet the needs in Chinese language teaching.

China will assist African countries to build 30 hospitals and provide grants for ant-malarial drugs and send additional medical teams to Africa.

China extended Approved Destination Status (ADS) to a further nine African countries (Algeria, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Gabon, Rwanda, Mali, Mozambique, Benin and Nigeria), bringing the total to 26 African countries with ADS status.

The next Ministerial FOCAC will take place in Egypt in 2009.

DEPUTY PRESIDENT MLAMBO-NGCUKA TO VISIT IRELAND AND PORTUGAL

South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will pay an official visit to Portugal and Ireland scheduled from Sunday - Tuesday, 12-14 and Tuesday-Thursday, 14-16 November 2006 respectively. Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka will be hosted by her counterparts Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.

Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka's delegation will include Minister Naledi Pandor and Deputy Ministers Aziz Pahad, Rob Davies, Ntombazana Botha and Roy Padayachie.

Deputy President will also be accompanied by a business delegation.

Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka's comes within the context of South Africa's commitment to consolidate the African agenda, through among others, North-South co-operation for improved market access and advancement of the agenda of the South through the strengthening of relations with the European Union (EU). In this regard, Portugal will assume the Chairmanship of the EU from July-December 2007.

We also see this visit as very important since there is an active Portuguese diaspora in South Africa and Portugal still has an active role with Portuguese speaking African countries. This will be an opportunity to consolidate these relations.

Portuguese Diaspora in South Africa

The Portuguese speaking community in South Africa consists of 100 000 - 300 000 people being involved in all aspects of the South African economy - economically, socially and culturally.

The Irish Diaspora in South Africa

It is estimated that there are some 300 000 descendants of Irish immigrants in South Africa. The Second Anglo-Boer war saw nearly 30 000 immigrants arrive in South Africa, supporting the Boer Republics and the British Empire. The Irish population was estimated to be 60 000 in 1900 with up to 1 500 Irish immigrants a year arriving until 1905. This upsurge in Irish immigration was however short-lived and the pattern since has been limited.

The Irish have made an impressive contribution to all aspects of South African life, especially in the ecclesiastical field where the humanitarian work of Catholic organisations is well known. The Irish community is also involved in the private sector and South African society as a whole.

Agenda of discussions

Issues on the agenda of discussions between Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka and her counterparts are expected to include, among others:

  • The status of bilateral political and economic relations between both countries;
  • The status of South Africa - European Union relations following the declaration of South Africa by the European Union as a Strategic Partner;
  • A briefing on developments on the African continent including the outcomes of the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo and developments in Burundi, Somalia, Sudan and Côte d'Ivoire;
  • A briefing on developments within the European Union;
  • Others issues of mutual interest including South Africa's accession to the Non-Permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council; and
  • AsgiSA and JIPSA will be overarching issues in all discussions.

In Portugal Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka will be holding discussions with President Cavaco Silva, the President of Parliament, Jaime Gama, and will participate in a trade and investment seminar with Portuguese and South African business persons.

The visit to Ireland will be at the highest level ever by a South African Government representative. This will therefore be very important in consolidating relations. Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka is expected to hold discussions with the President of Ireland, Ms Mary McAleese, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Michael McDowell, as well as with, Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern and Minister of State Conor Lenihan.

As in Portugal, the main objective of the visit is to further co-operation with Ireland on the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGI-SA) and the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA), including skills development, the placement of SA graduates in companies in both countries, education co-operation, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), tourism, SMME development, expanding South Africa's manufacturing base, as well as co-operation in the agro-industry.

A secondary objective is to learn from the Irish economic experience of the past two decades, during which Ireland was able to leapfrog from being one of the poorest countries in the European Union to one of the richest. This will include an examination of the role of EU structural funding in Portugal's and Ireland's economic development. The structural funding mechanism is a very important tool - this is when the private sector is unwilling to explore areas of development and the EU then provides the budget for this to be done. We would be very keen to understand how this tool works.

The Deputy President will participate in an Education Seminar that will explore co-operation between South Africa and Ireland in various fields of education, as well as in a seminar hosted by the South Africa-Ireland Business Association and the South African Embassy in Dublin under the banner "Economic Prospects for South Africa and Ireland in the context of AsgiSA and JIPSA." The latter seminar will focus on ASGISA priority sectors such as BPO, ICT, the agro-industry and tourism.

This is clearly an important visit and we hope relations will be consolidated.

PORTUGAL

SA trade with Portugal

Year Exports to PortugalExports from Portugal
2005R 915, 667 millionR 640, 970 million
2004R 727, 349 million *R797, 746 million
2003R 754, 734 millionR 535, 167 million
2002R 1, 010, 756 millionR 594, 523 million
2001R 673, 930 million R 450, 601 million

Economic relations

The most important South African exports to Portugal are coal, steel products, frozen fish, fresh fruit, fruit juices, vegetables, wood and granite. According to the latest figures from the Portuguese Ministry of Economy, South Africa is amongst the top 8 countries with the biggest growth of exports to Portugal during 2005, mostly due to coal imports. South African exports to Portugal increased by 25, 7%. (DTI source) during 2005 while the Portuguese economy only grew by 0,5 %.

South Africa's main imports from Portugal are wood, cork, paper, ceramics, machinery, food, minerals, metal and chemicals. In 2005, Portuguese exports to South Africa registered a 19, 7% decrease. (DTI source).

Generally speaking, South African manufactured products are not competitive in Portugal as similar products tend to be either locally manufactured or imported from neighboring EU countries at lower prices. Another negative factor is the lack of direct shipping lines between South Africa and Portugal. Energy and fuel products, of which Portugal has a shortage, off season fruits and quality frozen fish, are the main import products from South Africa.

Tourism

In 2004, 28 966 Portuguese citizens visited South Africa in comparison to the 28 920 in 2003. During 2005, 29 846 Portuguese traveled to South Africa, a 3% increase when compared to 2004. (Source: South African Tourism).

According to Portuguese official data, the number of South African tourists to Portugal grew from 26 338 in 2003 to 34 363 in 2004.

South Africa is an attractive but expensive destination to most Portuguese, especially due to the lack of direct flights. In general, flights packages are scarce and expensive to most Portuguese. TAP (Portuguese Airlines) is the only carrier with direct flights (4 per week) between Portugal and South Africa (after SAA decided to discontinue this route during the early eighties). The lack of charter flights is also contributing to the increase in the costs of flights connections between the 2 countries.

Portuguese visitors prefer beach and adventure holidays. South Africa has a lot to offer in terms of safari and eco tourism to the Portuguese tourist, Mpumalanga (Kruger) and Western Cape (Cape Town) are the most visited provinces. Mpumalanga due to its wild life and proximity to Mozambique while the Cape is preferred due to the cultural links and Portuguese heritage in the region (Cape Peninsula).

There are two main operators promoting SA in Portugal: James Rawes and NovoTours. The biggest tour operator in Portugal, ES Viagens, expressed interest to market South Africa as a destination of choice until the 2010 World Cup.

The Mission participates in the BTL Tourism fair (the most relevant tourism promotion event which takes place yearly in January) in order to raise the profile of South African tourism in Portugal. The stand is a joint venture between the Mission and several South African tourism partners.

The Mission has also initiated regular and dynamic contacts with media and relevant stakeholders in order to develop a network of strategic partners, essential for the development of projects for the promotion of South Africa as a major tourism destination in Portugal.

Investment

South African investment in Portugal

The largest South African company operating in Portugal is the Abadare Cables subsidiary, Alcobre that manufactures cables for the telecommunications industry. The SA property company, Homenet, has an office in Lisbon. SmartPac, a "smart card" company has an agreement with the local company Prism while the South African Netcare established a partnership with the Portuguese private health care company, Private Hospitals of Portugal (HPP) on 2 August 2004. In addition there are also a number of ostrich breeding companies who have strong Southern African connections as well as various small importing and exporting companies especially in the linen and curtaining industry. Tsumeb (electronic protection systems and integrated network security solutions) is manufacturing in Aveiro, in the north of Portugal. Carrol Boyes opened its first European shop in Portugal (Cascais) during June 2005.

Portuguese investment in South Africa

SONAE

Sonae group owned by Mr. Belmiro de Azevedo, the richest man in Portugal, is the biggest private group in Portugal in the non-financial sector. The group has interest in different sectors such as telecom, distribution, retail, real estate, tourism, media and industry (wood products). The combined assets of Sonae Holding on 30 June 2005 amounted to Euro 8.8 billion.

Sonae bought Sappi-Novoboard (TAFISA) wood company in 2004 and it now has three factories in South Africa (White River, Panbult and George) as well as five commercial offices located in Rosebank, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein. Sappi-Novoboard currently holds 45% of the South African wood market which will be further increased through an investment of Euro 45 million in the company.

Sonae's international investments include other countries such as in Spain, Canada and UK.

AMORIM

Amorim group is Portugal's biggest producer and exporter of cork which also has investments in real estate, tourism and energy sectors. It has branches in most European countries (Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Republic of Moldova, and Bulgaria, among others) north and South America, Australia, China. It is also present in South Africa through Amorim Cork South Africa Pty, which was established 25 years ago.

CIMPOR

Since 2002, Cimpor, which is the biggest Portuguese cement company, is also present in the SA market through Natal Portland Cement Company in KwaZulu-Natal. With three factories (in Simuma, Durban and Newcastle), it produces 1 million ton per year and has an 11% market share. In 2005 Cimpor started an US$80 million investment program over 2 years, aiming to increase its production by 600 thousand tons, up to 1, 6 million tons per year.

CAIXA GERAL DE DEPÓSITOS (CGD)

The biggest Portuguese bank (state owned) invested in South Africa in the form of the Mercantile Bank. Mercantile has fourteen branches providing a full range of domestic and international services, as well as specialized financing and investment facilities.

BANIF

Banif Bank is part of Rentipar Group which is responsible for handling Mr Horácio Roque's investments in Portugal. Although operating mainly in Portugal, the Horácio Roque Group is present in other countries, such as the US, Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, South Africa, the Bermudas and the Cayman Islands

Rentipar has a BANIF bank branch in Bruma (Finance House) and owns the biggest South African Portuguese newspaper O Século de Joanesburgo, among other investments in SA.

BPI

The Portuguese Investment Bank is the fourth largest financial group in Portugal, a leader in stock exchange, corporate finance and private banking with a branch in Johannesburg.

BANCO PRIVADO-BPP

BPP, a privately owned Portuguese Bank, reputed to have affluent Portuguese citizens as its clients, opened a branch in Johannesburg in 2002.

Year SA investment in Portugal (103 EUR)Portuguese investment in SA (103 EUR)
20037913.963
20025169.645
20012.0603.378

Most Portuguese investment in Africa is primarily directed to the PALOP countries (African Portuguese speaking countries), in line with Portuguese foreign policy.

IRELAND

ECONOMIC RELATIONS

TRADE AND INVESTMENT

SA EXPORTS TO IRELAND R 1,122,108,000 (1,2 billion Rands) (2005)

SOUTH AFRICA Imports FROM IRELAND R 4,072,400 (4,07 billion Rands) (2005)

The trade balance has traditionally been very much skewed in Ireland's favour (by a ratio of 3:1). However, this gap has been narrowing in recent years, and the outlook for South African exports is positive. Exports to Ireland have grown steadily in the last four years, from EUR100 million in 2001 to almost EUR160 million at the end of 2005. In 2005, Ireland was South Africa's 41st biggest export market. According to figures from the Embassy in Dublin, imports from Ireland have grown negatively over this period, from EUR400 million in 2001 to just EUR 250 million in 2005.

Furniture appears to be South Africa's largest export to Ireland (27%). This is a new development. Twenty-six percent of exports to Ireland are made up of fertilisers and minerals. Sixteen percent is accounted for by coal, coke and briquettes, while fruit and vegetables account for about 11%. Nine percent of exports is made up of beverages.

Imports to South Africa are dominated by "office machinery & automatic data processing machines". This can be explained by the presence of large multinational computer hardware manufacturing companies in Ireland such as Hewlett Packard, Dell and IBM. Thirteen percent of exports are medical and pharmaceuticals products, which is not surprising, given the number of multinational pharmaceutical firms located in Ireland.

Since 1999 Irish firms have, made several significant investments in South Africa, across a variety of sectors. Among the more well known, Irish entrepreneur, Dr Tony O'Reilly, and Irish Independent Newspapers, have taken over the Argus newspaper group. Irish investors (in particular Nial Mellon) have invested heavily in property in Cape Town. Howard Holdings has purchased eight historic buildings in the centre of Cape Town, which they are converting into a 6 star hotel, conference centre and luxury apartments.

Some of the larger projects are outlined below:

DateCompanyValue (Rm) US$ Value (m)Economic SectorIndustrial SectorSub Sector
       
Jun-99Fyffes36059Non Cyclical Consumer GoodsFood Producers and Food ProcessorsFarming and Fishing
Jun-99Independent Newspapers Ireland30048Cyclical ServicesMedia and Photography
       
May-02Ulster Carpets353Cyclical Consumer GoodsHousehold Goods and TextilesFurnishings and Floor Coverings
       
Mar-04Tullow Oil Plc3,325500ResourcesOil and GasOil and Gas Exploration and Production
       
Jun-04Eurocape Investments 50078FinancialsReal EstateReal Estate Holding and Development
       
Jan-05Queally Group50078  Meat Processing

Traditional areas of concern for prospective investors have dissipated within the last two - three years. Issues such as crime and political instability are no longer the primary concerns of investors seeking to engage in business in South Africa. Rather, companies are more interested in the practicalities of locating an operation in the country, like banking services, legalities of engaging in business and the economic forecast.

South African businesses are beginning to identify Ireland as an ideal platform for access into Europe, as it is the only English-speaking country within the "Eurozone" (countries trading in the Euro currency). De Beers Industrial Diamonds runs the largest industrial diamonds processing facility in Europe in the Shannon Free Zone, employing 540 people. PJ Carrol is 60% South African owned. A number of South African financial companies like Old Mutual and Investec have offices in Ireland.

Imports of Irish beef have been banned in South Africa since late 2000 because of BSE. A delegation from Agriculture is expected to visit Ireland shortly to look at re-opening the market following strong Irish lobbying.

TOURISM

Recent years have seen unprecedented growth in tourism to South Africa from Ireland. About 30,000 tourists traveled to South Africa in 2002/3, up 33% from the previous year. This trend continued into 2004 with latest statistics showing an increase of 43% in tourist arrivals from Ireland over the last two years. Figures for March 2005 show that Ireland was the 8th largest provider of overseas tourists in that month. In addition, studies have shown that Irish tourists travelling to South Africa spend an average of four times more than visitors from other markets, such as the UK. South Africa was voted Ireland's favourite long-haul destination at the Irish Travel Trade Awards held during the Holiday Experience in Dublin in 2004.

Ireland has received much attention in the local tourist press of late, a direct result of a drive by the Irish Embassy and Tourism Ireland to target the SA market.

DEVELOPMENT CO-OPERATION

Ireland's development assistance to South Africa amounts to roughly 11 million Euro annually. Limpopo Province is the main beneficiary. It is mainly focused on five areas: education, where the assistance is mainly channeled into capacity building; health, where the Free State and Limpopo Provinces both are beneficiaries, HIV/AIDS; water supply and sanitation, and good governance, democracy and human rights. Ireland recently decided to extend its programme to 2014.

Since coming to power, the current government has trebled ODA to around €545 million, making Ireland the world's 8th largest contributor (0.41%). Eighty-five percent of bilateral Irish country assistance is spent in Africa.

A survey by Action Aid International found that Ireland was one of the few donors whose aid is totally "untied". Only three other countries gave completely untied aid - the UK, Norway and Sweden - whereas 70 per cent of US and 92 per cent of Italian aid was "tied".

The main elements of Ireland's ODA allocation are as follows: -

Programme countries -

  • Uganda €32 million;
  • Ethiopia 30 million;
  • Mozambique €29 million;
  • Tanzania €25 million;
  • Zambia €18 million;
  • Lesotho €9.85 million;
  • Timor Leste €3.7 million;
  • Vietnam €3 million.

Other countries:

  • South Africa €10.4 million;
  • Palestinian Territories €2.35 million;
  • Sierra Leone and Liberia €4 million;
  • Central America €3.5 million.

Other allocations include more than €100 million in "support for civil society" such as €46.2 million in grants to five leading NGOs and _12 million for support to missionaries through the Irish Missionary Resource Service.

A total of €47 million is allocated in funding for UN development agencies.

Ireland missed a self-imposed deadline to meet the 0.7% ODA/GNI target by 2007. Prime Minister Ahern announced at the Millennium +5 Summit in New York that Ireland will reach the 0.7% target by 2012.

MINISTER DLAMINI ZUMA'S VISIT TO BRUSSELS

  • Minister Dlamini Zuma will depart on Saturday 11 November 2006 for Brussels where she will lead the South African delegation to the 7th session of the Joint Commission on Co-operation between South Africa and Belgium.

  • Outside of the Strategic Partnership we have with the EU we also have this annual forum with Belgium:

  • Issues on the agenda of discussions are expected to include:

    • Trade co-operation
    • Development co-operation
    • Research and technological co-operation
    • SA-EU relations
    • The Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement
    • SADC-EU relations
    • The EU strategy for Africa
    • The EU-Africa Summit - as you know this has not met for some time due to differences over Zimbabwe
    • African conflict areas
    • Global issues including the UN Security Council, the Middle East, Migration, the WTO/DOHA negotiations.

  • These are some of the similar issues we will discuss with the Deputy President in Portugal and Ireland and it will be interesting to have the perspectives of all these countries.

CÔTE D'IVOIRE

  • UN Resolution 1721 (2006) on the situation in Côte d'Ivoire that was adopted by the Security Council on 1 November 2006 - original draft resolution did not fully conform with the AU Peace and Security Council resolution and therefore there was much debate.

  • France has circulated a draft resolution on the future of the transition

  • The initial French draft was perceived by many members of the Security Council as being unbalanced. The text had not adequately addressed the obligations of both sides to the conflict. The initial draft for example called on the militias to disarm but was silent about the immediate resumption of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration by the Forces NOuvelles

  • The initial draft also stated that the Council "affirms that international instruments that set out the special arrangements for the transition period, in particular the Security Council resolutions based on the ECOWAS and AU decisions and recommendations, shall take precedence where there may be a divergence with the Ivorian Constitution and national laws." The powers granted to the Prime Minister in the French draft were much greater than those granted in the AU or ECOWAS communiqué.

  • The Communique of the 64th AU Peace and Security Council Meeting carefully delineated the functions of the Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire and the Council of Ministers without contravening the Constitution of Côte d'Ivoire

Also that the sovereign constitutional powers of a Member State should not be amended.

Further, the appointment of civilian and military officials is a constitutional prerogative and was not a function delegated to the Prime Minister by the AU. The Communique further stated that "in the accomplishment of the mission of the Government, the Council of Ministers may, in all matters, take decisions by ordinances or decree."

The AU Peace and Security Council stated that "the Prime Minister shall also have the necessary authority over all the integrated Ivorian defence and security forces to enable him to carry out the tasks assigned to him."

The Prime Minister was granted the necessary authority over "all the integrated Ivorian defence and security forces" because the African Union wanted to make sure that all the forces on the ground worked together in support of this mandate.

  • Council members such as China, Russia, the US, and Tanzania argued that the French draft did not accurately reflect the intervention of the AU Communique and threatened the sovereignty of a member state of the UN. These countries threatened to abstain

  • After extensive discussions, the Council was able to agree on a compromise. On 1 November 2006 the Council unanimously adopted the text as resolution 1721 (2006)

  • The Resolution endorses the AU Peace and Security Council decision and extends the transitional period and the mandates of both the President and the Prime Minister for an additional year until 31 October 2007. The extension would be for a final transition period.

  • The Secretary-General, in his last report to the Council on this issue, had stated that the Council should make it clear to the Ivorian's that the envisaged further extension of the transition should be the last and if elections are not held within the new extended period, ECOWAS and the AU and the Security Council, should consider putting in place a transitional governance arrangement comprising of civil society to prepare for elections

  • The resolution further states that no Ivorian party should invoke any legal provision to impede the peace process. This language was utilised as a compromise to the initial text which stipulated that the resolution would take precedence over the constitution.

  • The resolution noted that the Prime Minister shall have a mandate to implement all provisions of the roadmap drawn up by the International Working Group, in particular to carry out: disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, identification of population and registration of voters; dismantling of militias; restoration of State authority; technical preparations for elections; and the restructuring of the Armed Forces.

  • It also stated that, in order, for the Prime Minister to carry out these tasks, he should have all the necessary powers and all appropriate financial, material and human resources, as well as full and unfettered authority consistent with recommendations of the ECOWAS and must be empowered to take all necessary decisions, in all matters, within the Council of Ministers or the Council of Government, including the necessary authority over the Defence and Security Forces.

Reactions to the Resolution

The PDCI

  • The PDCT has congratulated the Secretary-General and France for their clear vision and steady efforts that resulted in the adoption of resolution 1721
  • The PDCI reaffirms its commitment to the resolution and to the successful implementation thereof.
  • The PDC regret the fact that the President Gbagbo's term of office has been extended
  • President Gbagbo's attempts to sabotage the new resolution through his provocative speech of 2 November 2006.

The Forces Nouvelles

  • The FN have taken note of the adoption of UN Resolution 1721
  • The issue of the integrated Army staff that should lead to the restructuring merging of the two armies
  • The issuance of the nationality certificates together with the birth certificates in order to enable a general census of the population
  • Meanwhile, the FN indicated that it will be part of the transitional process as defined by the UN Resolution 1721
  • The FN will continue to fight for free, democratic, and transparent elections in Côte d'Ivoire
  • The will also make sure that the resolution is implemented.

The RDR

  • The RDR noted that resolution 1721 is the sign of the International Community's willingness to boost the peace process
  • The RDR pays tribute to Mr Kofi Annan and President Chirac for their commitment and involvement in the peaceful resolution
  • The firm notice by the UNSC of the end of President Gbagbo's term of office since 30 October 2005
  • The additional powers given to the Prime Minister who can now rule by decrees or ordinances taken during the Council of Ministers or the Government Council
  • The authorisation given to the Prime Minister to re-launch the audience foraine by issuing the national certificates in situ
  • The strengthening of the role of the UN High Representative for elections who have been given the sole mandate as the only authority to assess the electoral process
  • The RDR has expressed disagreement on the retention of President Gbagbo

The PDCI-RDA

  • The PDCI-RDA calls the UN resolution a "still-born resolution" adding that "its going to be another 12 months of hell for the Ivorians."

  • Adama Bictongo (Political advisor to the Prime Minister):

    • He said, President Gbagbo's speech to the nation is in total opposite to the resolution of the UN Security Council
    • The Prime Minister should sign the decrees and Gbagbo opposing it
    • Prime Minister is due to make a speech this week

  • Bridgette Giradin (French Minister of Co-operation):

    • Welcomes the UNSC resolution

  • The FPI

    • The FPI is happy with the resolution and indicated that the Constitution is sill in force, as China, Russia and the US foiled France's plot

  • President Gbagbo's speech of 2 November 2006

    • Live television broadcast
    • Resolution 1721 is the 19th of its kind taken by our universal organisation to resolve the crisis we have been confronted with since 19 September 2002
    • Brilliant victory of Côte d'Ivoire and that of all African states
    • In its draft resolution, there was a grave assertion according to which "the decisions of the UN Security Council prevail over the Ivorian Constitution and the Legislation of the Country."
    • This proposal raised, two main questions:

      • The sovereignty of independent African States and the equality of these States with other States of the world

    • The member countries of the UN Security Council have firmly rejected any possibility of subordination of the Constitution of a State, no matter which one, to a decision of an international organisation
    • They confirmed their position by deleting this proposal from the present resolution
    • Therefore our constitution can and will be implemented
    • Another debate was that regarding the possibility of the Prime Minister to appoint high level civilian and military officials
    • The draft: "The Prime Minister must have all the necessary powers including appointing civilian and military officials." The resolution has also ended this debate
    • The Prime Minister shall have no power to appoint civilian and military officials
    • All the provisions in the text of the resolution which violate the Constitution of Côte d'Ivoire will not be implemented
    • Thosands of resolutions can be taken, but they cannot be successfully implemented if we refuse peace. I therefore invite all of you to gather around our Constitution and the Institutions on which our Nation stands.
    • Refrain from any demonstration
    • I have given firm instructions to the police to maintain public order in Abidjan and on the national territory with the help of the gendarmerie
    • I also took a decree authorising the army to assist them
    • I call on you, all Ivorians, to mobilise around our Constitution and our Institutions

We must ensure that there is a common interpretation of the resolution, failure to do will result in serious problems.

DRC UPDATE

  • I am pleased to say the second round of voting has gone well.

  • As of 7 November 2006, 84, 5% of the presidential results had been captured. Only 26, 7% of the provincial results had been captured. President Kabila was said to be leading by 60% to Vice President Bemba's 40%. I believe that we should not speculate on the outcomes of the elections. We should await the final pronouncement by the IEC.

  • The two presidential candidates, President Kabala and Vice President Bemba met on 7 November to discuss how they would co-operate post election.

  • The two leaders recommitted themselves to peaceful process and called on their supporters to remain calm and accept the outcome of the elections.

  • Meanwhile, the USA government, which had also congratulated the Congolese people for conducting a successful election, issued an Executive Order on 31 October 2006.

  • The Order, issued by President Bush to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate, is against seven individuals who belong to the militia groups currently roaming the East of the DRC and thus accused of perpetuating both the conflict in the country and a climate of insecurity throughout the entire great Lakes region.

  • The Order effectively blocks the property and interests in the US of the seven persons identified. The seven include Gen. Nkunda (mentioned above) and other elements from the FDLR, among others.

The Presidential Statement of the Security Council dated 7 November 2006

We are happy that the Security Council has welcomed the elections.

In a statement: The Security Council pays tribute to the sense of civic responsibility once again demonstrated by the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who participated peacefully and in large numbers in the provincial elections and the second round of the presidential election held on 29 October 2006.

"The Security Council takes note of the fact that voting generally took place in an orderly and safe atmosphere. It deplores the isolated incidents that occurred, notably in Bumba and Bikoro in Equateur province and in Fataki in Ituri district.

"The Security Council attaches great importance to the signing of a declaration of post-electoral intent by the representatives of the two candidates in the second round of the presidential election, on 29 October in Kinshasa. It emphasizes that political differences must be settled by peaceful means only and calls on the parties to comply with all the confidence-building measures to which they agreed after the incidents of 20 to 22 August 2006.

"The Security Council recalls that these elections are historic. It stresses that the new authorities and all Congolese political actors will be responsible for ensuring the long-term sustainability of the restoration of peace and stability and for continuing to promote national reconciliation and the establishment of democratic institutions and the rule of law in the country."

It is our hope that the UN will extend the mandate of MONUC in the DRC. We cannot leave unattended and without support a situation that is fragile. We also hope the international community in general and the UN in particular with continue to remain seized with this matter.

Joint Statement, 2 November 2006

At the invitation of the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the following international missions:

  • Carter Center
  • Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
  • Communauté économique des Etats de l'Afrique centrale (CEEAC)
  • Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA)
  • Mission d'observation électorale de l'Union européenne (MOEUE)
  • Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF)
  • Southern African Development Community - Parliamentary Forum (SADC/PF)
  • African Union (AU)

have participated in the observation of the second round of the presidential elections, and the provincial elections, on October 29 2006.

The international observers note with satisfaction that the voting and counting operations took place on the whole in a calm and peaceful manner. They deplore, however, the serious but isolated incidents which have taken place in Equateur province and in Ituri, causing the deaths of several people.

The international missions appreciate the corrective measures taken by the Independent Electoral Commission to strengthen the capacity of election workers. Measures have resulted in a remarkable improvement to the election operations.

They deplore the excessively partisan and negative role of many of the media during the election campaign, and call on them to assume their responsibilities during this sensitive and crucial period of the transition process.

The missions recommend to the CEI that the publication of results be immediately broken down by polling station, as a measure of transparency necessary to the credibility of the electoral process.

The international missions remind the two presidential candidates of the commitments they have signed, and invite them, in case of electoral complaints, to make use of the legal channels for appeal. Finally, they remind them of their responsibility for the actions and words of their followers.

Kinshasa, November 2nd 2006

Middle East

This is a situation that continues to be of great concern to us. The increase in violence is threatening regional peace and security.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in its recent report states that between July and the end of September 2006 Gaza sustained 5,300 artillery shells and more than 292 air strikes resulting in the death of 298 Palestinians, 49 of them children.

Two Israelis were killed and 28 injured from 424 home made rockets fired into Israel.

In the last week this already unacceptable Israeli aggression has been escalated under the Autumn Clouds Operation. Israeli forces have launched a massive air and ground offensive against the Gaza town of Beit Hanon.

This morning the Israeli shells hit a residential area killing 18 people, many women and children. This brings the total number of dead to about 70, hundreds injured and homes and infrastructure destroyed.

This atrocity is in violation of international law and the Geneva Convention and the South African government condemns it.

Significant damage to roads and houses, destroyed phone and electricity lines and shortage of food and water.

Israeli forces were still present in other parts of Gaza.

We have seen an extra-ordinary number of children killed in the last five days, UNICEF Dan Rohrman said. "There are tanks everywhere, shelling, house demolitions and fighting on the streets. People are getting quite desperate. The children are terrified by everything going on, including seeing family members being taken away."

This morning Israeli shelling killed 18 civilians bringing the death toll in this one town to about 70, hundreds of injured and total destruction of all infrastructure and property. This latest killing of 18 civilians has shocked the international community and Israel must understand that such killings can not continue with impunity.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has asked the Security Council to intervene and bring an end to the escalating Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Gaza Strip, pushing for a ceasefire and requesting the presence of United Nations observers on the Gaza-Israel border, correspondents were told today at a Headquarters press conference. No movement on this call.

Dr Saeb Erekat, the Head of the Negotiations Affairs Department of the PLO in a letter to the South African government said

"I find the indifference and the silence of the international community regarding the atrocities perpetrated in the Gaza Strip to be particularly worrisome; in view of the scale of the Israeli aggression. In the interest of peace and security for both peoples, I urge you to condemn the Israeli compliance with international law and upholding responsibility of protecting innocent civilians."

The South African government further reiterated that the failure of the Security Council to act timeously and decisively when so many women and children are being killed only serves to weaken their credibility and confidence in the Security Council.

President Abbas held a press conference this morning. He called on Palestinians to consolidate their unity and asked the Arab League to meet immediately and called on the international community to put pressure on Israel.

He said Israel did not want peace and security and should bear the responsibility.

He also declared the town of Beit-Hanoun a disaster area.

A draft resolution adopted unanimously by the Council of Arab Ambassadors would be introduced for a vote in the Special Political and Decolonization Committee in the General Assembly.

The Palestinian Ambassador to the UN said that Israel claims that weapons smuggling was continuing from Egypt to Gaza, he said those claims "were a pretext and not a serious position". He said both sides needed to engage in political negotiations to find an end to the conflict. "The situation is not better for Israel or Gaza," he insisted. "Only through negotiation can we get into a new situation."

South Africa urges the international community to accept its responsibility and demand that Israel stop its aggression.

Agreement on formation of a national unity government, political platform; Haniyeh will not be unity Prime Minister

A Hamas legislator confirmed that Hamas and Fatah have reached an agreement of forming a unity government with Haniyeh not being the Prime Minister. Deputy Yihya Mousa, a senior Hamas official said that the political platform of the new government has been agreed upon and that Hamas has also agreed on Haniyeh not being the new Prime Minister. Mousa added that the new Prime Minister has been chosen and he will be named to President Abbas. Mousa informed that a joint committee would be formed to allocate ministerial portfolios and add the final touches to the details.

Every time there is progress in forming a GNU Israel intensifies its aggression, endangering progress made. Prime Minister Haniyeh today called for the suspension of talks to form a unity government in the wake of the Israeli shelling and a three day mourning period has been called.

We fully agree with the European Union's presidency that Israel ought not to have used excessive power for self defence against Palestinian activists, slamming the increasing number of civilian casualties in Gaza Strip.

The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) accused Israel of war crimes today and urged the Security Council to take urgent measures.

We urge the Palestinian people not to be diverted from their objectives of forming a GNU by the provocative military action against them and to set up a GNU urgently.

Failure to do so will not be in the interest of the Palestinian people.

We also urge the Palestinians, to stop firing rockets into Israel. This only results in excessive retaliation.

The new Israeli Knesset member Avigdor Liberman yesterday warned that both Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and the Minister of Interior Saed Seyam may be targeted if Shalit's life was put to jeopardy. It is unacceptable that a Minister so publicly and blatantly is propogating extra-judicial killings.

The latest UN report indicates that 87% of Gaza and 56% of the West Bank residents live below the official poverty datum line.

In the West Bank commerce has been reduced to a trickle by the barrier under Jerusalem, the tri-sections of the West Bank and the draconian permit regime. Travel to and from Jerusalem was impossible.

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL ON 19 OCTOBER 2006
ILLEGAL ISRAELI ACTIONS IN OCCUPIED EAST JERUSLAEM AND THE REST OF THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

The International Court of Justice had concluded that by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Israel had violated various international law obligations incumbent upon it and that since the construction of the wall entailed the requisition and destruction of homes, businesses and agricultural holdings, "Israel has the obligation to make reparation for the damage caused to all the natural and legal persons concerned". In paragraph 153 of its opinion, the Court said:

"Israel is accordingly under an obligation to return the land, orchards, olive groves and other immovable property seized from any natural or legal person for purposes of construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In the event that such restitution should prove to be materially impossible, Israel has an obligation to compensate the persons in question for the damage suffered. The Court considers that Israel also has an obligation to compensate, in accordance with the applicable rules of international law, all natural or legal persons having suffered any form of material damage as a result of the wall's construction."

United Nations Register of Damage caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory would thus have to be set up that would be responsible for establishing and maintaining the Register of Damage.

Proposed to establish the office of the Register of Damage in the site of the United Nations Office at Vienna.

It is in the interests of both the people of Israel and Palestine that we achieve the 2-state solution with a secure state of Palestine and Israel living side-by-side within secure borders. Increasingly this seems hopeless. But we must remain committed to achieving this reality.

The time has come for the international community to act decisively in this conflict.

Questions and answers

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, regarding Côte d'Ivoire - is there any chance that South Africa will return to the role of mediator? In the absence of South Africa's mediation who is now mediating in this situation?

Answer In terms of the AU Peace and Security Council Resolution the mediation will now be led by the Chair of the African Union, presently Congo-Brazzaville.

He will work with the AU Commission and can call on any party when necessary to assist in resolving the problem.

South Africa will endevour to, when it assumes its seat in the Security Council on 1 January 2007 to ensure there is a common interpretation in the Council and how the UN can move the process forward.

We must also try to ensure that elections are held. The two outstanding issues remain:

  • The DDR Process; and
  • Fastracking the identification and registration of voters.

All efforts must now be directed at moving on these issues.

Question Deputy Minister, is it your assessment that the alliances built by President Kabila have held?

Answer I think I would like to reserve my comments until after the results have been announced.

Yesterday's meeting was a very positive step.

All parties in the DRC must work together in the common interests of the people of the DRC.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, you mentioned the call to the UN to extend MONUC's mandate. What is your view on the decision by the EUFor to withdraw from the DRC on 30 November 2006?

Answer We would urge the EUFor not to leave the DRC prematurely - premature action can set the conditions for the situation to relapse - the situation then requires additional financial and human resources to resolve.

Post conflict reconstruction and development is very important - the DRC is one of the richest country's in Africa if not further afield. If the international community can contribute positively to this situation we can see the people of the DRC using their own resources to help themselves.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, you said it is now time for the Security Council to act decisively on the situation in the Middle East - what do you mean by that?

Answer The Security Council has a responsibility to deal with threats to international peace and security. The Security Council has been seized with this matter for more than 40 years - how will it account to the world for its inability to resolve this matter. The Security Council must also discuss with the Quartet how to reinstitute the Roadmap.

If we fail to give people hope, people in the region will believe that they have no other recourse but to engage in more violence and counter violence.

We respect a country's right to protect itself, but there can be no justification for the over excessive actions of the Israeli government.

All violence in the region must stop - it is not helping the situation.

Matters are also becoming too polarized - the IOC this morning called the actions of the Israeli government "crimes against humanity."

I believe we are reaching the point of no return in the region and the international community must act decisively and urgently in terms of its various resolutions.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, are there any efforts by the South African government to intervene in the situation in Zimbabwe?

Answer Zimbabwe is now being handled by the SADC Troika - the Troika is scheduled to, in line with a decision from the SADC Summit, visit Zimbabwe.

Their assessment, recommendations and findings will determine the way forward.

There is no initiative that is underway by the South African government.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, what is the government's position on the sentence awarded to Saddam Hussein?

Answer As a government, and in line with many of the statements from European countries, we are opposed to the death penalty. This was a decision taken in an Iraqi court and we respect this decision.

The situation in Iraq is becoming catastrophic. The deaths on a daily basis are not acceptable. Civilians are worse off now than ever before. The international community must see how it can assist this situation.

The sectarian war that is currently underway is totally out of control. It has been estimated that nearly one million people have been killed, hundreds of thousands injured and massive damage to property and infrastructure.

The deaths and casualties of US troops is way beyond anything before contemplated.

There are also too many South Africans who are unofficially in Iraq engaged in security services.

The sentencing of Saddam Hussein is only one matter in a very dangerous, chaotic and volatile situation.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

8 November 2006

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