Notes following Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, First Floor East Wing Union Buildings, Pretoria, Thursday 7 December 2006

South African Pilgrims to Hajj

  • After the letter from President Mbeki to King Abdullah of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the government of Saudi Arabia has increased the quote of the number of Muslim pilgrims from an initial amount of 2000 to 4000 and now to 7600.
  • We are very happy and we want to extend our gratitude the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for increasing the quota.
  • We now call on the organisers of the pilgrims to really ensure that the people benefit from this response by the King.
  • We hope we will now be able to deal with the demand of people wanting to journey to Mecca for the pilgrimage.

President Mbeki to hold discussions with President Bush in Washington

  • President Mbeki is en-route to Washington where he will tomorrow meet President Bush and his delegation for bilateral political and economic discussions.
  • This comes at a very important time because we will have an opportunity to discuss our bilateral relations and also other major issues that we are confronted with on a daily basis - this is a very important visit coming at this time.
  • President Mbeki did hold discussions with President Bush in Washington last year. This will an opportunity for us to review decisions taken at that time and to see what else should be done to consolidate our bilateral relations.
  • It will also be an opportunity for President Mbeki to meet with the leadership of the Democratic Party who have won both the Congress and the Senate and therefore give him an opportunity to get a sense of their thinking about developments in Africa and elsewhere.
  • We do think the US is one of our major economic partners. Trade is today something to the tune of R 60 billion and it has been increasing at about 11% a year. This does indicate that the US is an important partner. South Africa is one of the biggest beneficiaries in Africa of the AGOA programme. This meeting will also give us an opportunity to review the AGOA programme, to look at NEPAD issues and most importantly to look at developments in the Middle East and Iraq - the Baker report has just been published - and the African Development issues - NEPAD, conflict situations in Africa - we are working very closely with the US in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other conflict situations. This is therefore a very important visit for us.

South Africa - Mali Joint Commission for Co-operation

  • Minister Dlamini Zuma will together with her counterpart Foreign Minister Moctar Ouane, co-chair the second session of the South Africa - Mali Joint Commission for Co-operation in Bamako, Mali from Sunday - Monday 10-11 December 2006.
  • As you know, Mali is one of the poorer countries on the Continent and we are engaged in efforts to assist Mali bilaterally and through trilateral co-operation.
  • Two major South African gold mining companies, Anglogold and Randgold, are present in Mali. Anglogold operates three gold mining operations: Yatela (in the southwest of Mali), Sadiola (near the town of Kayes in the extreme west of Mali) and Morila (200 km south of Bamako) which it operates jointly with Randgold. The Malian government holds shares of 20% in Yatela & Morila and 18% in Sadiola.
  • While the trade figures between South Africa and Mali to a large extent reflect the activities of these two mining companies (i.e. the exports of machinery and base metals to Mali), South Africa's main import products from Mali are textiles and textile articles.
  • Our trade relations with Mali in 2003 was R177.6 million and in 2005 it increased to R445.8 million.
  • Our imports from Mali is still too low - in 2005 it was R5.8 million - we must look at this balance and at how we can assist Mali diversify their economy and export more to South Africa.

President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus to pay State Visit to South Africa

  • President Thabo Mbeki will host his counterpart from the Czech Republic President Václav Klaus on the first ever State Visit, by a Head of State from the Czech Republic and Head of State from a Central European country, to South Africa scheduled from Tuesday - Wednesday 12-13 December 2006. President Klaus will visit Pretoria and Cape Town while in South Africa.
  • The Czech Republic is one of the new members of the European Union and this will be a good opportunity to once again assess the importance of the expansion of the European Union and the possibility of forming a strategic partnership between the EU and South Africa. It is always helpful to discuss with the newer members to get a sense of their perspectives on the many issues we have been previously dealing with.
  • Again our trade links are not as substantive as we think they should be:

    • 2004 - Exports to South Africa: US$71,9 million
    • 2005 - Imports from South Africa: US$132,9 million
    • 2004- Export to South Africa: US$157,8 million
    • 2005 - Imports from South Africa: US$134,9 million

  • This is however not bad in relation to newly developed relations. We do believe that we can increase our economic links with the Czech Republic.

Mauritanian Elections

  • We are very happy that the Mauritanian elections have been concluded successfully.
  • This follows the coup that took place in Mauritania.
  • The AU had suspended Mauritania from all activities but in terms of our policies we assisted them to move towards a situation where democracy could be re-established.
  • Elections have taken place - the results indicates that a coalition of former opposition parties have won more than 40% of the seats and it is clear that democracy is being re-established.
  • The military head will only leave his position after the President elections are held in March 2007 and we believe that we assist, as the AU, and bilaterally to more expeditiously towards democracy.
  • The elections were conducted peacefully and all indications are that they were free and fair.
  • A new constitutions which ensured that no President could serve more than a decade was approved in June and the military junta has pledged to give up power after the Senate elections in January.
  • Parliament will only go into session after the Presidential elections.
  • We are also happy that the military government barred its members from participating in the elections in order to ensure transparency and non-interference in electoral processes. This is a very good sign - indicates that we are moving in the right direction.
  • We did have an observer team who were part of the AU mission - their preliminary reports indicates that everything proceeded smoothly. There was no challenge to the results. We now hope that Mauritania will return to the African Union to play its role within the communities of the AU.

Madagascan Elections

  • We did send a SADC observer mission to the Madagascan elections.
  • According to our Mission, all proceeded well and the process was credible despite some problems in some areas.
  • The Election Institute of Southern Africa has also presented a positive report.
  • The results are not yet final but the incumbent is leading by 60% at the moment and it continues to increase.
  • We are again happy that South Africa assisted by providing helicopters which assisted in distributing election materials and ensured that the ballot papers can be returned without interference.
  • South Africa has again played an important role in another election on the Continent.
  • This is a good sign of the progress we are making on the African continent.

Demcratic Republic of Congo

  • As you know President Mbeki yesterday attended the inauguration of President Kabila in Kinshasa. Indeed, I think this brings to an end a very important period in the history of the DRC.
  • The results of the provincial elections were announced on Friday, 1 December 2006. Of the 632 contested seats, PPRD won 132 seats, MLC won 104 seats. The balance of the seats is divided among other parties. In Kinshasa, of the 44 seats, Movement for Liberation of Congo (MLC) received 22 seats against 8 of People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD). It is clear that coalition governments will be formed to govern in many provinces. We are happy that negotiations to achieve this objective have started.
  • I want to reiterate what President Mbeki said: President Kabila's inauguration yesterday paves the way for him to appoint a Prime Minister from among the Members of Parliament, who will then proceed to compose the new Government of the DRC. December 2006 should therefore stand out as the month when the DRC will inaugurate its new, elected President, its new, elected Government and its new, elected Senate, and convene the critical first sessions of the National Assembly.
  • We believe that the enormous resources in the DRC will enable it to play in the reconstruction and development of Africa.
  • We must also congratulate Jean-Pierre Bemba for his acceptance of the historical outcome that has given him and his colleagues the possibility to consolidate and strengthen the Congolese democratic order, and expand the possibility of the Congolese people to define their future, by playing their role as a loyal republican opposition to those mandated by the people to rule. Similarly, we salute him for the contribution he and his colleagues have made to the success of the challenging mission to bring into being the new DRC.
  • We also salute the various formations and the leaders who guided the DRC through its transition, weathering many storms, including continuing armed violence, to the point the country has now reached, when it can proudly and justly claim its place as one of the largest democracies on our continent.
  • We must also salute the United Nations which has played and continues to play a critical role in the various processes that have enabled the Congolese people to make history, standing tall today as a messenger of hope, communicating the message that Africa is firmly on its way towards its rebirth.
  • The confidence and the determination to succeed of the Congolese people were amply demonstrated when millions voted in a referendum to approve the Constitution, and returned to the polls to elect the President, the National Assembly and the Provincial Legislatures.
  • South Africa is again pleased that it has played a role in the democratisation of the DRC - you will recall we hosted the Sun City Talks which led to the formation of a transitional government and we have been very closely involved in the processes in the DRC to this period.
  • We now welcome a democratically elected President and the new government of the Congo as full participants in the African Union and the NEPAD programmes.
  • We are concerned about the fighting that has broken out on the 5 December between dissident soldiers allied to the former Army Chief and the regular army in the eastern province of North Kivu. We know that this has been going on for a few days. Thousands of refugees have left their areas - we hope the UN and the Congolese army will be able to restore peace so that we can get on with the process of reconstruction and development in the DRC.

Darfur

  • We are continuing to be concerned about the situation in Darfur.
  • As you know, given the latest fighting in the El Fasher, the capital of Sudan's Northern Darfur State, the UN has withdrawn all its non-essential workers and they will continue to withdraw more personnel if peace is not restored.
  • The African Union has also warned that there are reports that its headquarters and staff in El Fasher are at risk of being attacked by a coalition of Darfur rebel groups so it continues to be a matter of serious concern to us.
  • The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is scheduled hold a special session to discuss the situation in Darfur early week. This was agreed to by 29 of the 49 member states including all 10 European countries and 9 African countries including Nigeria. South Africa supported the motion for this special session.
  • The move follows pressure from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who warned that the reputation of the body was at stake if it did not act on serious violations
  • On the more positive side, let me say that the AU Peace and Security Council Summit on Darfur in Abuja last week:
  • Decided to endorse the conclusions of the Addis Ababa High Level Consultation on the situation in Darfur of 16 November 2006 which provides for a three phased UN support to the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS):

    • A light support package
    • A heavy support package
    • A hybrid operation

  • With respect to the Hybrid operation, Council decided that:

    • The Special Representative shall be jointly appointed by the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union and the Secretary-General of the UN, after appropriate consultations as per the practice
    • The Force Commander, who should be an African, shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the Commission in consultation with the Secretary-General of the United Nations
    • The Mission shall benefit from UN backstopped and command and control structures and systems
    • The size of the force shall be determined by the African Union and the United Nations, taking into account all relevant factors and the situation on the ground, as well as the requirements for it to effectively discharge its mandate

  • Decided to extend the mandate of the AMIS for a period of 6 months from 1 January 2007, subject to review by Council and based on the availability of financial resources.
  • We have been saying that although pledges are being made, the AMIS has not received sufficient resources to do its work. The situation in Darfur requires an international response - that the international community accept the UN resolution which has now been endorsed by the AU Peace and Security Council Summit. The time has come for decisive action and that if this decision of the Peace and Security Council is implemented we can see some movement in bringing peace and security to Darfur.

Developments in Côte d'Ivoire

  • As I said in my last briefing, we are concerned that the situation seems to be unravelling.
  • President Gbagbo, after the Security Council Resolution started public consultations regarding the way forward in the peace process. President Gbagbo was expected to have addressed the nation on the basis of these consultations.
  • In the meantime, President Gbagbo:
  • Signed a decree reinstating officials suspended because of the toxic waste scandal
  • Signed a decree firing the Editor in Chief of the Fraternite Matin, a state owned daily
  • Fired the Director General of the RTI (Yakouba Kebe)
  • Some background: the Prime Minister suspended three officials (Djedji Amondji, Marcel Gossio, Colonel Gnamien N'Goran) for three months for their alleged involvement in the toxic waste scandal

Response from the Prime Minister:

  • In reaction to these decrees on 27 November 2006, the Director-General of the Prime Minister's office read a statement on national television denouncing President Gbagbo's decision to reinstate the suspended officials and stated that the decrees were issued without any consultation with the Prime Minister and the government. According to Prime Minister Banny, it was not correct for a Head of State to have signed the concerned decrees on a Sunday (26 November) without calling for a Council of Minister's meeting. Mr Banny wrote that the decision to reinstate the three officials was like supporting impunity and the the suspension of the Editor in Chief of Fraternite Matin was an infringement to the freedom of the press. Prime Minister Banny warned that the decisions of the Head of State could give rise to social upheavals if they were implemented.
  • President Gbagbo's office has responded by issuing a statement refuting the Prime Minister's claims that the decrees were incorrect and that he was not informed about the decrees. Presidential decrees are allowed according to the Constitution.
  • As you recall when the Security Council Resolution was passed I did indicate that there were differences in interpretations in that particular resolution.
  • The opposition parties have come out in full support of the Prime Minister and the youth of the RHDP gave President Gbagbo a 48 hour ultimatum to reverse the decrees or the RHDP youth would take to the streets. On Thursdsay 30 November 2006 there were reports of demonstrations and blockades by the RHDP youth in 2 suburbs of Abidjan. The opposition also demonstrated in towns like Yamassoukro Toumodj and Dabou. In Toumodi demonstrators destroyed the local office of the ruling party.
  • The President has indicated that with regard to Resolution 1721, he will honour only those clauses, which respect the Ivorian Constitution, as the Resolution upholds the inviolability of the Constitution. So clearly we are reaching a situation where there are differences in interpretation. We really hope that relations between the President and the Prime Minister, which were very good until recently can be restored because it is only a close working relationship between the President and the Prime Minister that will ensure a peaceful situation that will culminate in elections next year.
  • The International Working Group met in Abidjan on 1 December 2006:
  • The Group recalled the obligation which it has to report immediately to the Security Council any obstacle or problem that the Prime Minister might encounter in the exercise of his functions and to identify those responsible. This direction indicates that names will be forwarded to the Security Council so that sanctions can be applied against those individuals.
  • The IWG also stated that the Prime Minister, at his convenience, will judge, in all matters, whether it is opportune for him to take the necessary decisions in the Council of Ministers or in the Council of Government.
  • The Group welcomed the recommendations made by the National Commission of Inquiry into the dumping of toxic waste and understands the deep dissatisfaction which the reinstatement of officials who had been suspended by the Prime Minister has caused within the population.
  • The Group recalls that resolution 1721 requires full compliance by all Ivorian parties and that no legal provisions should be invoked by them to obstruct the process. The IWG is therefore challenging President Gbagbo's interpretation of the Resolution.
  • The Group deplores the dismissal of the General Directors of the RTI and Fraternité Matin as well as the dissolution of the Boards of Directors of the companies concerned. The Group considers that it is indispensable to reinstate the dismissed officials.
  • The IWG called for the re-launching of the process of pre-identification: The Government and the relevant authorities should re-launch the issuing of substitute birth certificates and certificates of nationality in the existing jurisdictions. These measures should be taken by 10 December 2006 at the latest.
  • Disarmament and demobilisation of ex-combatants, dismantling and disarmament of militias: The Group demands that the parties controlling the militias and ex-combatants fully participate in the DDR and DDM processes led by the Prime Minister. The rehabilitation of the sites must be completed by 15 December 2006.
  • Reform of the security sector: The Working Group on the reform of the security sector should also be set up by 5 December 2006 at the latest. No indication yet of its establishment.
  • The Group also reminds all Ivorian parties that it is determined to recommend to the Security Council the implementation of appropriate sanctions against any person who obstructs the effective start-up of the implementation of resolution 1721, including through incitements to hatred and violence.
  • The Group will hold its next meeting on 12 January 2007 in Côte d'Ivoire.
  • As I said, I am concerned that if we do not move quite quickly to ensure that we create an environment for the correct and common understanding of Resolution 1721 and if the relations between the President and Prime Minister are not improved, we are on a collision course in Côte d'Ivoire which is regrettable considering the progress we had made until just recently.

Uganda

  • UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has named former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano his Special Envoy to help deal with the issued of the Lord's Resistance Army and its brutal 20 year long rebellion
  • UN Secretary General noted that the LRA insurgency had caused the death and abduction of thousands of civilians, displaced more than 1.5 million people in northern Uganda, and severely disrupted humanitarian operations in southern Sudan:
  • "It's presence and activities in the north-eastern part of the DRC also represent a serious security threat for the civilian population and the region."
  • Mr Chissano, as Special Envoy for the LRA-affected areas, will seek a solution that addresses the root causes of the conflict and will liaise with the International Criminal Court, where LRA leader Joseph Kony and four other senior figures have been indicated for war crimes.

Iraq

  • We remain seriously concerned about the escalation of violence.
  • It is unacceptable that so many people are being killed on a daily basis.
  • I want to reiterate what has been said by the UN Secretary-General:

The invasion of Iraq was extremely difficult, because I really believed that we could have stopped the war and that if we had worked a bit harder - given the inspectors a bit more time - we could have.

I was also concerned that for the US and its coalition to go to war without the consent of the Council in that particular region, which has always been extremely controversial, would be extremely difficult and very divisive and that it would take quite a long time to put the organisation back together, and of course it divided the world too.

It is an extremely dangerous situation

The struggle is about each group's position in future Iraq … which during the Constitution were swept under the rug

A few years ago we had strife in Lebanon - we called that a civil war - this is much worse.

The Iraqi's have reacted to this statement since the Secretary-General seems to have indicated that the Iraqis are worse off today than under Saddam Hussein.

It is a terrible situation.

  • The report of the bipartisan group led by James Baker and Lee Hamilton has just been released. We are still studying this report:

Outcomes/Findings of Baker Report

  • The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating
  • If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences will be severe. A slide towards chaos could trigger the collapse of Iraq's government and a humanitarian catastrophe
  • The US should immediately launch a new diplomatic offensive to build an international consensus for stability in Iraq and the region … Iraq's neighbours and key states in and outside the region should form a support group to reinforce security and national reconciliation within Iraq …
  • The US cannot achieve its goals in the Middle East unless it deals with the Arab-Israeli conflict and regional stability
  • There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the US to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts … this commitment must include direct talks with, by, and between Israel, Lebanon and Palestinians (those who accept Israel's right to exist), and Syria
  • By the first quarter of 2008, subject to unexpected developments in the security situation on the ground, all combat brigades not necessary for protection could be out of Iraq
  • President Bush as accepted the report. We eagerly await the implementation of the recommendations in the report. It is obvious that the situation cannot continue as is since it threatens international peace and security.
  • Given the strategic place in that region, we have to move decisively to bring about a long term solution to the Iraqi conflict.

Security Council: United Action Needed To Protect Civilians In Armed Conflict

Jan Egeland, Under Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs

  • Over the past three years he has been encouraged to see that concern for civilians' protection has steadily gained prominence.
  • It was imperative that the safety, security and well-being of civilians must be at the heart of the approach to international security and crisis management.
  • The Organisation was still "far away" from translating its responsibility in that regard into predictable and adequate action to provide protection for all beleaguered and threatened communities, irrespective of time, place and circumstance. The responsibility to protect must be depoliticised. He was seeing vast progress in Liberia, Sierra Leone, in the DRC and south Sudan.
  • The readiness to act, to sanction and to fund must be the same in Uganda, Chad or Côte d'Ivoire as it was in Afghanistan, Kosovo or Iraq. The responsibility to protect must transcend singular interests and become a core principle of humanity across all civilizations.
  • When the lives and safety of civilians were at stake, regardless of where, neither strategic nor economic or other political interests should deter council members from acting swiftly upon their united responsibility to protect.
  • Since December 2003, there had been a steady decline in the number of conflicts - the number had declined by 40% since 1989. Yet, parties to conflict had increasingly demonstrated a wilful disregard for the basic tenets of international humanitarian law. Civilians had frequently become a primary source of violence.
  • Violent attacks against non-combatants has increased by 55% between 1989 and 2005, with the most significant increase occuring int eh past five years.
  • Reasons: proliferation of non-State and information armed groups and their supply of every more sophisticated weaponry and equipment; intentional, reckless and oftentimes disproportionate use of military weaponry and tactics with little or no regard for their impact on civilians.
  • For example:

    • Iraq
    • Gaza

  • Use of cluster munitions by anyone, ws immoral.
  • In southern Lebanon alone, there were more than a million unexploded bomblets that lay hidden in fields, olive groves and gardens, causing one of the biggest impediments to a speedy return of the displaced and rapid reconstruction of homes and livelihoods.
  • Urged Council members to support a moratorium on the use of cluster munitions
  • Arbitrary arrest and detention, verbal and physical abuse, and bureauucratic impediments were used by authorities worldwide to restrict access to populations in need. The most brutual means of denying access was the deliberate targetting of humanitarian workers. Individuals incidents were shocking, and the overall trends were even more alarming. In 1997 39 humanitarian workers had been killed. By 2005, the figure had risen to an annual toll of 61. members fo the media are increasingly subjected to attack. In Iraq alone, 26 journalists had been killed this year.
  • His send long-term concern was protection. While the global refugee population had dropped by 20% in the past three years, the number of internally displaced persons had declined by 6% in 2005. in recent months new waves of displacement had occurred in many countries.
  • In at least 12 countries, 6 million internally displaced people received no assistance or protection form their governments.
  • Third concern: sexual violence- rape and sexual violence were increasingly deliberate and a devastating weapon against individuals and targetted communities.
  • Despite recent groundbreaking indictments by the International Criminal Court for the use of rape as war crime, sexual violence continued unchecked and unchallenged.
  • Child soldiers: the numbers had declined some 20% to an estimated 250 000 children being exploited as soldiers, cooks, spies and for sexual purposes. Progess had been largely due to the large-scale demobilisation of children in West Africa, the DRC and Uganda, although he continued to see active recruitment in many countries.
  • He remained very concerned about the conditions of children held with the Lord's Resistance Army. The situation in Sri Lanka was also particularly disturbing.
  • The conflict in the Middle East has become so deeply entrenched that it had created oen of the world's most serious protection crises. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that there were at least 1.2 million refugees from Iraq living in neighbouring countries, with unconfirmed figures indicated that 40 000 to 60 000 people a month were crossing into Syria seeking refuge. The worst aspects of the protection crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory were reflected int eh deaths of more than 110 children under the age of 17 this year, more than twice the number in 2005.
  • More than 400 000 Somalis lived in deplorable conditions after being displaced multilple times, owing to years of drought and now massive flooding. The rising tension between the Islamic Courts and neighbouring forces might lead to enve more catastrophic conflict. He was concerned that the UN policy of non-engagement with the Islamic Courts would "bind the hands and feet" of the UN humanitarian agencies.
  • Darfur: the number of displaced had doubled, and an unprecedented two thirds of the population were now in need of emergency assistance. Better ways must be found, not only of addressing the resource constraints facing regional peacekeepers, but also engaging more systematically and over the longer terms, to develop the capacity within the African Union to better meet the protection needs of civilian populations.
  • He said his final concern was to ensure that sufficent guidance and support was provided to peacekeeping operations. It was important to expand the Department of Peacekeeping Operations' notions of the protection role that peacekeeping operations could play, not only through the provision of physical protection, but through supporting civil order and the restoration of judicial systems and strengthening the rule of law.

Questions and answers

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, regarding Sudan - the Minister of Defence had said that President Gbagbo had done all that was required of him. Is that still the position of the South African government?

Answer I have indicated in all my briefings that on all issues where the Mediation intervened based on the Pretoria Agreement and other overtures made to the Facilitator by the opposition parties, President Gbagbo had carried out all requests by the Facilitator.

The only one outstanding issue was the fast-tracking of the national identification and registration process. And as the President wrote to all stakeholders, President Gbagbo had undertaken to fast track this. So it is our view that any objective analysis will show, that as far as the Facilitation was concerned, he had carried out everything that was requested by the Facilitation team. That does not mean that there are no other problems.

Question Deputy Minister, most of the South African troops deployed as part of AMIS and a large part of our police services are deployed in El Fasher. They are also under a mandate which limits the use of force even when they are attacked. How will they protect themselves should they be attacked?

Answer This is one of the questions with which we are faced - how to give them a stronger mandate? Clearly the situation in Darfur is of such a nature that if we do not give AMIS forces a sufficiently strong mandate to act to protect themselves and civilians, then their hands will be tied. One of the issues we will discuss is now that we are moving towards an extension of their term of the force, how will we strengthen their mandate? They presently have a Chapter 6 mandate?

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, regarding Darfur, the UN recommendations have been endorsed by the AU. How will you encourage President Bashir, who has repeatedly said he will NEVER, accept UN forces?

Answer Firstly let me say, that at the Abuja Summit, Heads of State of the Peace and Security Council, representatives of the Arab League and UN and President Bashir were present.

Decisions taken now, must be decisions that must be accepted by all parties. We believe that issues around the nature of the hybrid force, the command and control of the forces and indeed the size of the forces are now matters that have been dealth with. It should not be possible to speedily ensure that this new AMIS can come into effect.

Our concern is that with each day that passes, the situation is becoming increasingly difficult and volatile. The AMIS in its present form, without the necessary UN support - logistically, financially, technically - will be in a difficult position to maintain peace and security. This is now spilling over into Chad and the Central African Republic.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, what is Minister Lekota's mission in the Central African Republic?

Answer Minister Lekota is there to assess - as you know there are lots of reports regarding coups and destabilisation. Minister Lekota must assess the conditions on the ground and make the necessary recommendations that we must assess bilaterally and within the framework of the African Union Peace and Security Council.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, who will the President meet of the Democratic leadership?

Answer We would hope that if the time allows he will see the Black Congressional Congress, the Speaker of the House, the leader of the Democratic Party of the Senate. We hope these meetings will take place..

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, regarding the hybrid force - the Former Secretary General Salim said we should investigate using the AMIS as a vehicle through which to channel all other efforts. Why is this not possible?

Answer Firstly, this is a Security Council issue. Secondly, the AU does not have the necessary resources. It is only if this is a UN mission that you can get the necessary resources to help AMIS carry out its tasks. The hybrid force is a compromise. The Sudanese government has made it clear that they will not accept any outside forces so this is a compromise - the forces will be African and supported by (backstopping) by other forces from the UN - financial, logistical, etc. This is a compromise since the UN has called for this force to be bluehatted which has been consistently rejected by the Sudanese government. They will only accept an African force supported by the UN. There is no way that we as Africa can sustain our presence in Darfur without UN support.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

7 December 2006

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