Notes following Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, Media
Centre Amphitheatre, Union Buildings, Pretoria, Monday, 29 January 2007
EAST & WEST ASIA
South Africa, like the rest of the world, is deeply
concerned about the situation in the Middle East and West Asia reflected in:
cleansing and sectarian violence in Iraq which continues with unacceptable levels
of deaths and destruction
- Palestine - Israel - a solution based on UN
resolutions seems elusive
- Serious tensions in Lebanon
in Afghanistan is escalating
- Crisis regarding Iran's nuclear programme
No country will be immune to the serious consequences of
any failure to find political solutions to these issues.
In our own national
interests, and in the interests of international peace and security, we must globally
do everything possible to defuse the very explosive situation in the region.
we must seek to find solutions to the problems identified by the Baker-Hamilton
Iraq Study Group.
This report contains much analysis reflective of what
many governments, academics, experts and NGOs have been saying for some time.
me deal with some aspects of this report:
Baker-Hamilton Study Group
on Iraq Report
To date, the United States has spent roughly $400 billion
on the Iraq War, and costs are running about $8 billion per month. In addition
caring for veterans and replacing lost equipment will run into the hundreds of
billions of dollars. Estimates run as high as $2 trillion for the final cost of
the U.S. involvement in Iraq. This does not refer to the human cost to Iraqis
and others in the region.
US Coalition and Iraqi Forces
141,000 U.S. military personnel are serving in Iraq, together with approximately
16,500 military personnel from twenty-seven coalition partners, the largest contingent
being 7,200 from the United Kingdom.
Many military units are under significant
By the end of 2006, the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq
under American leadership is expected to have trained and equipped a target number
of approximately 326,000 Iraqi security services. That figure includes 138,000
members of the Iraqi Army and 188,000 Iraqi police.
Despite this, the situation
in Iraq is grave and deteriorating.
Attacks against U.S., Coalition, and
Iraqi security forces are persistent and growing. October 2006 was the deadliest
month for U.S. forces since January 2005, with 102 Americans killed. Total attacks
in October 2006 averaged 180 per day, up from 70 per day in January 2006. Daily
attacks against Iraqi security forces in October were more than double the level
in January. Attacks against civilians in October were four times higher than in
January. Some 3,000 Iraqi civilians are killed every month.
Violence is increasing in scope, complexity, and lethality.
Sectarian violence-particularly in and around Baghdad-has become the principal
challenge to stability.
Most attacks on Americans still come from the Sunni
Arab insurgency. It has significant support within the Sunni Arab community. The
insurgency has no single leadership but is a network of networks. The insurgents
have different goals, although nearly all oppose the presence of U.S. forces in
Al Qaeda is responsible for a small portion of the violence in Iraq,
but that includes some of the more spectacular acts: suicide attacks, large truck
bombs, and attacks on significant - religious or political targets. Al Qaeda in
Iraq is now largely Iraqi-run and composed of Sunni Arabs. Foreign fighters are
estimated at 1,300.
Sectarian violence causes the largest number of Iraqi
civilian casualties. Sunni insurgent attacks spark large-scale Shia reprisals,
and vice versa. In some parts of Iraq-notably in Baghdad-sectarian cleansing is
taking place. The United Nations estimates that 1.6 million are displaced within
Iraq, and up to 1.8 million Iraqis have fled the country.
engaging in sectarian violence pose a substantial threat to immediate and long-term
stability. Some are affiliated with the government, some are highly localized,
and some are wholly outside the law. The militias target Sunni Arab civilians,
and some struggle for power in clashes with one another.
Iraqi government has not taken action on the key elements of national reconciliation:
revising de-Baathification, which prevents many Sunni Arabs from participating
in governance and society; providing amnesty for those who have fought against
the government; sharing the country's oil revenues; demobilizing militias; amending
the constitution; and settling the future of Kirkuk.
One core issue is federalism.
The Iraqi Constitution, which created a largely autonomous Kurdistan region, allows
other such regions to be established later, perhaps including a "Shi'astan"
comprising nine southern provinces. This highly decentralized structure is favored
by the Kurds and many Shia (particularly supporters of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim), but
it is anathema to Sunnis. First, Sunni Arabs are generally Iraqi nationalists,
albeit within the context of an Iraq they believe they should govern. Second,
because Iraq's energy resources are in the Kurdish and Shia regions, there is
no economically feasible "Sunni region." Particularly contentious is
a provision in the constitution that shares revenues nationally from current oil
reserves, while allowing revenues from reserves discovered in the future to go
to the regions.
The Sunnis did not actively participate in the constitution-drafting
process, and acceded to entering the government only on the condition that the
constitution be amended. In September, the parliament agreed to initiate a constitutional
Iraq's leaders often claim that they do not want a division
of the country, but we found that key Shia and Kurdish leaders have little commitment
to national reconciliation.
Yet many of Iraq's most powerful and well-positioned
leaders are not working toward a united Iraq. The danger is that leading forces
in Iraq are looking to break Iraq up into three sections - and this is in my opinion,
a recipe for disaster.
Consequences of continued decline in Iraq
the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate we will have severe consequences
for Iraq, United States, the region, and the world.
Other countries in the
region fear significant violence crossing their borders. Chaos in Iraq could lead
those countries to intervene to protect their own interests, thereby perhaps sparking
a broader regional war. Turkey could send troops into northern Iraq to prevent
Kurdistan from declaring independence. Iran could send in troops to restore stability
in southern Iraq and perhaps gain control of oil fields.
There is the distinct
possibility of Sunni-Shia clashes across the Islamic world.
If the instability
in Iraq spreads to the other Gulf States, a drop in oil production and exports
could lead to a sharp increase in the price of oil and thus could harm the global
Terrorism could grow. And we have no options for dealing with such
increases in the region and elsewhere.
The global standing of the United
States could suffer if Iraq descends further into chaos. Iraq is a major test
of, and strain on, U.S. military, diplomatic, and financial capacities. Perceived
failure there could diminish America's credibility and influence in a region that
is the center of the Islamic world and vital to the world's energy supply. This
loss would reduce America's global influence at a time when pressing issues in
North Korea, Iran, and elsewhere demand our full attention and strong U.S. leadership
of international alliances. And the longer that U.S. political and military resources
are tied down in Iraq, the more the chances for American failure in Afghanistan
Continued problems in Iraq could lead to greater polarization
within the United States. Sixty-six percent of Americans disapprove of the government's
handling of the war, and more than 60 percent feel that there is no clear plan
for moving forward. The November elections were largely viewed as a referendum
on the progress in Iraq. U.S. foreign policy cannot be successfully sustained
without the broad support of the American people.
Recent polling indicates
that only 36 percent of Iraqis feel their country is heading in the right direction,
and 79 percent of Iraqis have a "mostly negative" view of the influence
that the United States has in their country. Sixty-one percent of Iraqis approve
of attacks on U.S.-led forces.
The Iraqi government
is not effectively providing its people with basic services: electricity, drinking
water, sewage, health care, and education. In many sectors, production is below
or hovers around pre-war levels. In Baghdad and other unstable areas, the situation
is much worse. There are five major reasons for this problem:
the government sometimes provides services on a sectarian basis.
- One American
official told us that Baghdad is run like a "Shia dictatorship"
security is lacking. Insurgents target key infrastructure.
- Third corruption
is rampant. Notable steps are being taken.
- Fourth, capacity is inadequate.
Most of Iraq's technocratic class was pushed out of the government as part of
de-Baathification. Other skilled Iraqis have fled the country as violence has
risen. Too often, Iraq's elected representatives treat the ministries as political
- Fifth, the judiciary is weak.
The Way Forward
United States should embark on a robust diplomatic effort to establish an international
support structure intended to stabilize Iraq and ease tensions in other countries
in the region. This support structure should include every country that has an
interest in averting a chaotic Iraq, including all of Iraq's neighbors-Iran and
Syria among them.
They all share an interest in avoiding the horrific consequences
that would flow from a chaotic Iraq, particularly a humanitarian catastrophe and
The Iraqi government cannot succeed in governing,
defending, and sustaining itself by relying on U.S. military and economic support
All key issues in the Middle East-the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq,
Iran, the need for political and economic reforms, and extremism and terrorism-are
The New Diplomatic Offensive-should address these
key regional issues.
The diplomatic offensive would extend beyond the primarily
economic "Compact for Iraq" by also emphasizing political, diplomatic,
and security issues. It would be coordinated with the goals of the Compact for
Iraq. The diplomatic offensive would also be broader and more far-reaching than
the "Gulf Plus Two" efforts currently being conducted.
States, working with the Iraqi government, should launch the comprehensive New
Diplomatic Offensive to deal with the problems of Iraq and of the region. This
new diplomatic offensive should be launched before December 31, 2006.
goals of the diplomatic offensive as it relates to regional players should be
- Support the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq.
Stop destabilizing interventions and actions by Iraq's neighbors.
Iraq's borders, including the use of joint patrols with neighboring countries.
Prevent the expansion of the instability and conflict beyond Iraq's borders.
Promote economic assistance, commerce, trade, political support, and, if possible,
military assistance for the Iraqi government from non-neighboring Muslim nations.
Energize countries to support national political reconciliation in Iraq.
Validate Iraq's legitimacy by resuming diplomatic relations, where appropriate,
and reestablishing embassies in Baghdad.
- Assist Iraq in establishing
active working embassies in key capitals in the region (for - example, in Riyadh,
- Help Iraq reach a mutually acceptable agreement on Kirkuk.
Assist the Iraqi government in achieving certain security, political, and economic
milestones, including better performance on issues such as national reconciliation,
equitable distribution of oil revenues, and the dismantling of militias.
a complement Iraqi government should support the holding of a conference or meeting
in Baghdad of the Organization of the Islamic Conference or the Arab League both
to assist the Iraqi government in promoting national reconciliation in Iraq and
to re-establish their diplomatic presence in Iraq.
The US should immediately
seek the creation of the Iraq International Support Group. The Support Group should
also include all countries that border Iraq as well as other key countries in
the region and the world.
All Iraq's neighbours are anxious about the situation
in Iraq. They favour a unified Iraq that is strong enough to maintain its territorial
integrity but not so powerful to threaten its neighbours. None favours the break-up
of the Iraqi State.
The Support Group should consist of Iraq including Iran
and Syria; the key regional states, including Egypt and the Gulf States; the five
permanent members of the United Nations Security Council; the European Union;
and, of course, Iraq itself. Other countries for instance, Germany, Japan and
South Korea-could also become members.
The United Nations Secretary-General
should designate a Special Envoy as his representative.
A new diplomatic
offensive involving countries of the region and, where necessary, those outside,
is being advocated.
Dealing with Iran and Syria
a nation can and should engage its adversaries and enemies to try to resolve conflicts
and differences consistent with its own interests. Accordingly, the Support Group
should actively engage Iran and Syria in its diplomatic dialogue, without preconditions.
talks should be extensive and substantive, and they will require a balancing of
The United States should also consider incentives to try to
engage them constructively, much as it did successfully with Libya.
United States should engage directly with Iran and Syria in order to try to obtain
their commitment to constructive policies toward Iraq and other regional issues.
The United States should consider incentives, as well as disincentives.
The United States and Iran cooperated in Afghanistan, and both sides should
explore whether this model can be replicated in the case of Iraq.
On the 28 January 2007 Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's Special Reperesentative
Ashraf Qazi, and Foreign Minister Walid Muallim discussed recent developments
in Iraq and their impact on the region. The Special Representative's visit to
Damascus is part of a regional tour aimed at hearing the views of Iraq's neighbours
and encouraging them to contribute to the Government's successful efforts to reduce
violence, bring greater stability and promote national reconciliation.
Qazi stressed the need for greater regional engagement in support of the efforts
by the Government of Iraq in reducing violence, bringing greater stability and
promoting national reconciliation among all Iraqis.
According to a New York
Times article, following the historic visit of the Iraqi President to Iran, Iran's
Ambassador on Sunday 28 January 2007m to Baghdad outlined an ambitious plan to
greatly expand its economic and military ties with Iraq.
Hassan Kazemi Qumi said Iran was prepared to offer Iraq government forces training,
equipment and advisers for what the called "the security fight." In
the economic area, Iran was ready to assume major responsibility for Iraq reconstruction,
a failure on the part of the US since American-led forces overthrew Saddam Hussein
nearly four years ago.
"We have experience of reconstruction after
war," Mr Qumi said referring to the Iran-Iraq was in the 1980s.
Qumi said Iran would soon open a national bank in Iraq, in effect creating a new
Iranian financial institution. A senior Iraqi banking official, Hussein al-Uzri
confirmed that Iran had received a licence to open the bank, which he said would
apparently be the first "wholly owned subsidiary bank," of a foreign
country in Iraq.
An agricultural bank and three private banks also intend
to open branches. Other elements of new economic co-operation included plans for
Iranian shipments of kerosene and electricity to Iraq and a new agricultural co-operative
involving both countries.
Iran's offer of military assistance to Iraq included
increased border patrols and a proposed new "joint security committee."
The United States should immediately launch a new diplomatic
offensive to build an international consensus for stability in Iraq and the region.
This diplomatic effort should include every country that has an interest in avoiding
a chaotic Iraq, including all of Iraq's neighbors. Iraq's neighbors and key states
in and outside the region should form a support group to reinforce security and
national reconciliation within Iraq, neither of which Iraq can achieve on its
Given the ability of Iran and Syria to influence events within Iraq
and their interest in avoiding chaos in Iraq, the United States should try to
engage them constructively.
The Iraqi government should accelerate assuming
responsibility for Iraqi security by increasing the number and quality of Iraqi
Army brigades. While this process is under way, and to facilitate it, the United
States should significantly increase the number of U.S. military personnel, including
combat troops, imbedded in and supporting Iraqi Army units.
If the Iraqi
government demonstrates political will and makes substantial progress toward the
achievement of milestones on national reconciliation, security, and governance,
the United States should make clear its willingness to continue training, assistance,
and support for Iraq's security forces and to continue political, military, and
economic support. If the Iraqi government does not make substantial progress toward
the achievement of milestones on national reconciliation, security, and governance,
the United States should reduce its political, military, or economic support for
the Iraqi government.
The report makes recommendations in several other
areas. They include improvements to the Iraqi criminal justice system, the Iraqi
oil sector, the U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq, the U.S. budget process,
the training of U.S. government personnel, and U.S. intelligence - capabilities.
would be wrong for the US to abandon the country through a precipate withdrawal
of troops and support. A premature American departure would certainly produce
greater sectarian violence and further deterioration of conditions. The near-tern
results would be a significant power vacuum, greater human suffering, regional
destabilisation and a threat to the global economy. Al Qaeda would depict our
withdrawal as a historic victory. If we leave and Iraq descends into chaos, the
long-range consequences could eventually require the US to return.
the Baker-Hamilton Report, President Bush announced his new Iraq Strategy in his
State of the Union address on Tuesday 23 January 2007:
out a new strategy in Iraq - a plan that demands more from Iraq's elected government,
and gives our forces in Iraq the reinforcements they need. Our goal is a democratic
Iraq that upholds the rule of law, respects the rights of its people, provides
them security, and is an ally in the war on terror.
The Iraqi government
must stop the sectarian violence. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this
on their own. So we're deploying reinforcements of more than 20 000 additional
soldiers and Marines to Iraq. The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they
will help Iraqi forces to clear and secure neighbourhoods, and serve as advisors
embedded in Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis in the lead, our forces will help secure
the city by chasing down the terrorists, insurgents, and the roaming death squads.
And in Anbar Province, where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered and local forces
have begun showing a willingness to fight them, with orders to find the terrorists
and clear them out.
Iraq's leaders know that our commitment is not open-ended.
They pledged that they will confront violent radicals of any faction or political
party. They have committed themselves to a series of benchmarks to achieve reconciliation,
to share oil revenues among all of Iraq's citizens, to put the wealth of Iraqi
into rebuilding Iraq, to allow more Iraqi's to re-enter their nation's civic pride,
to hold elections, and to take responsibility for security in every Iraqi province.
But for all this to happen, Baghdad must be secure.
If American forces step
back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists
on all sides. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country - an
in time, the entire region could be drawn into the conflict.
I propose to
establish a special advisory council on the war on terror, made up of leaders
in Congress from both political parties.
The Democratic Party's Response
to President Bush's Speech: Senator Jim Webb
This country has patiently
endured a mismanaged war for nearly four years.
Many warned even before
the war began that it was unnecessary, that it would take our energy and attention
away from the larger war against terrorism, and that invading and occupying Iraq
would leave us strategically vulnerable in the most violent and turbulent corner
of the world.
The President took us into this war recklessly
now, as a nation, held hostage to the predictable - and predicted - disarray that
The majority of our nation no longer supports the way this
war is being fought - nor does the majority of our military.
We need a new
Not one step back from the war against international terrorism.
a precipitous withdrawal that ignores the possibility of further chaos.
an immediate shift toward strong regionally-based diplomacy, a policy that takes
our soldiers off the street of Iraq's cities, and a formula that will in short
order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq.
It is clear that the call for
a new diplomatic strategy involving all roleplayers is being increasingly echoed
by many players in the US body politik and internationally.
Report emphasizes the point that the problems in the Middle East and Asia are
integrated and a key aspect to a regional solution is the Palestinian issue.
observes that the United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle
East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict.
must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive
Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon, Syria, and President Bush's June 2002
commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.
is no military solution to this conflict.
- The vast majority of the Israeli
body politic is tired of being a nation perpetually at war.
- No American
administration will ever abandon Israel.
- Political engagement and dialogue
are essential in the Arab-Israeli dispute
- The only basis on which peace
can be achieved is that set forth in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338
and in the principle of "land for peace."
- The only lasting and
secure peace will be a negotiated peace such as Israel has achieved with Egypt
There must be a renewed and sustained commitment to a
comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts
This effort should include
the unconditional calling and holding of meetings, under the auspices of the United
States or the Quartet (i.e., the United States, Russia, European Union, and the
United Nations), between Israel and Lebanon and Syria on the one hand, and Israel
and Palestinians (who acknowledge Israel's right to exist) on the other. The purpose
of these meetings would be to negotiate peace as was done at the Madrid Conference
in 1991, and on two separate track.
Concerning the Palestinian issue, elements
of that negotiated peace should include:
- Adherence to UN Security Council
Resolutions 242 and 338 and to the principle of land for peace, which are the
only bases for achieving peace.
- Consolidation of the cease-fire reached
between the Palestinians and the Israelis in November 2006.
- Support for
a Palestinian national unity government.
- Sustainable negotiations leading
to a final peace settlement along the lines of President Bush's two-state solution,
which would address the key final status issues of borders, settlements, Jerusalem,
the right of return, and the end of conflict.
The importance of the
Baker-Hamilton observations is given greater urgency by the continuing crisis
in the Middle East.
The UN Under-Secretary General Ibrahim Gambari in a
report to the Security Council said:
"None of us can afford another year
like the last one in Lebanon and the Middle East," he stressed. Therefore
a resumed political process between Israel and the Palestinians was a clear priority.
The Secretary-General encouraged the two leaders to build on their progress to
date by implementing agreements and by starting to address the fundamental issues
of the conflict. Solutions were urgently needed to the political impasses, both
among the Palestinians and in Lebanon. The Secretary-General encouraged leaders
in both contexts to overcome their differences and find a way to move forward,
which served the best interests of their people. Lebanon, as its people knew too
well, could ill afford any further deterioration. For many Lebanese ugly spectres
of the past had begun to emerge. All sides had a shared responsibility to resolve
their political differences through the democratic process and in a peaceful manner,
in order to spare their populations further anxiety, insecurity and turmoil.
many Lebanese ugly spectres of the past had again begun to emerge, he said, stressing
the shared responsibility of all sides to resolve their political differences
peacefully through the democratic processes in order to spare their populations
further anxiety, insecurity and turmoil.
The demonstrations that had started
in Beirut on 1 December 2006 were largely peaceful until Tuesday 23 January 2007.
Following a call from the opposition for a general strike, thousands of Lebanese
from opposing political factions had faced each other, often violently, on the
streets. Few regions of the country had been spared by the unrest that had led
to at least three dead and more than 100 injured - some very seriously. Major
roads throughout the country had been effectively blocked by burning tyres and
earth barriers. A tense calm had returned to Beirut following the decision by
the opposition to suspend the strike, but tensions remained high. The opposition
had stated that further escalation would occur unless government acceded to its
General stability had returned to southern Lebanon due to the deployment
of the enhanced United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Lebanese
Armed Forces, which continued to enjoy a high level of co-operation.
violations of Lebanese airspace continued. Civilians continued to be killed and
injured by the cluster munitions dropped on Lebanon during last year's conflict.
At least 840 individual cluster strike locations had been identified to date,
each containing up to hundreds of individual bomblets or sub-munitions.
The ceasefire in Gaza, agreed to remains in place although
militants had continued to fire rockets into southern Israel in the past two months.
ceasefire had not been extended to the West Bank and operations to arrest or kill
wanted Palestinians continued regularly. During the reporting period, 28 Palestinians
had been killed and more than 130 injured in Israeli military operations, while
10 Israelis had been injured by Palestinian militants. Egypt continued to lead
efforts for the release of the Israeli corporal captured last summer and of Palestinian
prisoners in Israel.
Prime Minister Olmert had undertaken to transfer to
President Abbas's office US$ 100 million of the more than half a billion dollars
withheld by Israel; to intensify the upgrading of crossings between the Gaza Strip
and Israel; and to ease checkpoint procedures in the West Bank while removing
a number of roadblocks. However, the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian
Affairs had reported a modest easing in the operation of a few West Bank checkpoints
and the anticipated removal of roadblocks had yet to be observed.
Israel approved the repopulation of a settlement deep in the Jordan Valley, in
violation of the Roadmap. While that decision had been put on hold after international
protests, settlement activity continued, and the number of West Bank settlers,
excluding those in East Jerusalem, had increased by nearly 6% since 2005. moreover,
the Government's pledges to remove outposts remained unfulfilled, and the construction
of the barrier on the Occupied Palestinian Territory continued, despite the advisory
opinion of the International Court of Justice.
In the Occupied Palestinian
Territory, factional tensions had risen to acute levels in mid-December and early
January. A total of 43 people had been killed in Palestinian-on-Palestinian conflict.
The Israel Defence Forces Chief of Staff had resigned and an official inquiry
into the conduct of last summer's conflict with Hizbollah continued.
Gambari said the implementation of those understandings had proceeded slowly.
Israel, in the past few days, had transferred the US$ 100 million. The office
for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs had reported a modest easing of
the operation of a few West Bank checkpoints, but the anticipated removal of roadblocks
had yet to be observed. Access and movement should be improved. During the first
16 days of 2007, the average exports out of Karni stood at approximately 46 trucks
a day. That represented an improving trend, but still reflected only 11% of the
target of 400 per day. He encouraged further progress in this regard. In the same
period, Rafah had been opened primarily for pilgrims for only 32% of the scheduled
opening hours. Finally, there had been no discernable improvement in movement
for Palestinians in the West Bank. According to OCHA, the number of barriers currently
on the ground - 527 - represented a 25% increase over the course of 2006.
said that internal violence had been accompanied by heightened and negative political
rhetoric and threats, and strengthening of factional forces. President Abbas had
announced that the Hamas-affiliated Executive Special Force, under the Ministry
of Interior, was illegal unless immediately integrated into existing security
services. Tensions had also flared in late December, and the President had called
for early presidential and parliamentary elections unless agreement was reached
on a National Unity Government. Nevertheless, each time factional fighting had
threatened to spin out of control, President Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh
had reached understandings to de-escalate tensions.
Efforts to form a Palestinian
National Unity Government had resumed, involving dialogue in Gaza, as well as
in Damascus, he continued. It appeared the main issues of disagreement were over
control of the interior ministry and the strength of the language concerning the
commitment to Arab and international resolutions. While refusing to countenance
recognition of Israel, exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashal recently told news outlets
that Israel's existence was a reality and that, with the formation of a Palestinian
State on the 4 June 1967 borders, "'there will remain a State called Israel,
this is a matter of fact'".
He said that President Abbas had recently
met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus and subsequently met Khaled Mashal.
A joint statement issued after that meeting had stated that progress had been
made towards a National Unity Government; the leaders had called for an end to
internal fighting. The statement had also rejected the concept of an interim Palestinian
State with provisional borders. President Abbas had subsequently reaffirmed that
early elections remained on the table if a National Unity Government was not formed.
institutions built up by the international community had been severely weakened
by a lack of operational funds, energy shortages and military damage.
worsening situation on the ground had underscored the limits of what international
assistance could accomplish, he said. Without greater freedom of access and movement,
and without a political process that was carrying the parties towards a two-State
solution, the most aid could do was contain, for a limited time, the spread of
grievances and instability. The experience of the past year showed that that type
of investment brought rapidly diminishing returns.
Efforts to stop the inter-Palestinian
conflict and to form a government of national unity have not met with much success.
Abbas and the Syrian born leader of Hamas, Khaled MIshaal met in Syria on Sunday
21 January 2007.
Hamas indicated that it would relinquish the position of
Foreign Minsiter as this Ministry works closely with the PLO process, which Hamas
is outside of and would therefore not be in the position to use effectively. Second,
Hamas would also relinquish the position of Finance Minister.
issue however, was the position of Interior Minister. President Abbas informed
Mishaal that any new government/Interior Minister, should not recognise the Executive
Force, which was created by the current Interior Minister, Said Siam, as he (President)
does not regard it as a legal structure since its creation was not sanctioned
through his office, which is a requirement of the Basic Law (Palestinian constitution)
Mahmoud Abbas, speaking at the WEF in Davos said, "We are at a junction now,
either yes or no. I would tell you, this doesn't need more than two weeks, maximum
if we fail to achieve a national unity government that allows
us to lift the siege, I will call for presidential elections."
than 30 Palestinians have been killed in fighting between the rival groups since
Abbas called last month for presidential and parliamentary elections.
Abbas and Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas, pledged on Sunday 21 January 2007
to curb Palestinian bloodshed, however the violence continues.
government has also been crippled by Israel withholding Palestinian tax revenues
amounting to over US$ 500 million.
The Palestinian president also said he
expects to hold talks with the US and Israel within a month on the framework for
establishing a Palestinian State.
Rejection of Temporary Borders Plan
by President Mahmoud Abbas
In December 2006, Israeli Foreign Minister
Tzipi Livni proposed setting up a provisional Palestinian state, with a border
based on the separation barrier Israel is building in the West Bank.
idea of provisional borders forms part of the second stage of the US Roadmap.
During the first phase, Israel as supposed to stop building settlements in the
occupied West Bank and the Palestinian Government would dismantle and disarm all
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday,
January 14th 2007 during a meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,
adamantly rejected "any temporary or transitional solutions, including a
state with temporary borders,". Palestinian officials in recent weeks have
grown increasingly wary of the idea, fearing they will be stuck indefinitely with
a truncated state.
Meeting of the Quartet: 2 February 2007
of State Rice will host a meeting of the Quartet on 2 February 2007 in Washington.
The meeting of the Quartet Principals - Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, German
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, High Representative for European Foreign
and Security Policy Javier Solana, the European Commissioner for External Relations
Benita Ferrero-Waldner - will discuss recent developments in the Middle East since
their last meeting on September 20, 2006 and in particular - ways to energise
international engagement in support of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and progress
in accordance with the Roadmap.
It is time that the Quartet begins to seriously
address challenges. I do not believe that the Quartet has worked urgently and
consistently enough. It is now the time for decisive action and the Quartet must
begin to take serious action.
Failure to do so, surely must force us to
reflect on what President Mbeki wrote in the ANC Today (vol 6 ? 49) stated the
grave situation in the Middle East and West Asia demands the concerted attention
and action of both the countries in the region and the rest of the world. The
question can no longer be avoided - is it not time that the United Nations, genuinely
representing all nations assumes its rightful position and leads a global process
to address all the inter-connected challenges facing the peoples of the Middle
East and West Asia.
None of us is entitled to succumb to a destructive paralysis
by resigning ourselves to the expectation that the sister peoples of the Middle
East and West Asia are ineluctably condemned to be consumed by an unstoppable
conflagration, foretold by current events as an impending and modern frightening
apocalypse, as a result of which mere anarchy would be loosed upon the world.
challenges that threaten the whole world demand multilateral solutions.
is in the context of what I have just said that I want to raise some issues regarding
Iran's nuclear programme:
Resolution 1737 (December 2006)
requires Iran to co-operate fully with the IAEA in resolving the outstanding questions
surrounding Iran's nuclear programme and to take steps necessary to build international
confidence in its nuclear programme
- It requires Iran to suspend all enrichment-related
and reprocessing activities and to stop work on all heavy water related projects,
including construction of a heavy water research reactor. This suspension is subject
to IAEA verification and the Security Council has requested the IAEA Director-General
to report to the Security Council on Iran's compliance by 23 February 2007.
prohibits all Member States from supplying Iran with items, including dual use
equipment, which could contribute to these proliferation sensitive activities
and Iran's alleged development of a nuclear weapon delivery system. Iran is similarly
prohibited from exporting such equipment or technology to other countries.
those few items not included in this ban, such as components for light water reactors
and their fuel, notification of their export must be reported to the Sanctions
Committee established by the resolution by the Member States in question prior
to the transfer.
- The resolution requires that all States prevent the provision
to Iran of any technical assistance, training or financial services related to
those activities covered under the ban
- Finally, the Resolution requires
States to freeze the assets of individuals and entities identified in Annex A
to the resolution, or subsequently added to the list by the Sanctions Committee,
as having a significant role in Iran's nuclear and missile programmes, as well
as to provide notification to the Sanctions Committee of any travel by these individuals
to their State.
- UN member states are obliged to report to the Security
Council within 60 days of the passing of Resolution 1737 on the measures that
they are taking to implement this resolution.
- If Iran fails to comply
with this resolution within 60 days from the date of its adoption (23 February
2007), the Security Council will review the situation and consider the adoption
of additional, tougher measures in response to this non-compliance.
- Iran has said that it is open to "unconditional negotiations"
with the USA, however it would participate in such talks within the boundaries
of Iran's rights as a nation. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmeddinejad said, "The
Iranian nation has chosen its own way in line with the international conventions
and no one can create obstacles for them."
- After Resolution 1696
was adopted, Iran's representative to the UN in Vienna asserted that its peaceful
nuclear programme posed no threat to international peace and security, and, therefore
dealing with the issue in the Security Council was unwarranted and void of any
legal basis or practical utility. Iran said that the action by the Council, which
was the culmination of efforts aimed at making the suspension of uranium enrichment
mandatory, violated international law, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and
- The Security Council passed Resolution 1737 on December
23 imposing sanctions on Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment. President
Ahmeddinajad said on Sunday 21 January 2007 that the UN Resolution was born dead
and even if they adopt 10 more of such resolution it will not affect Iran's economy
Iran's statement came days after the US announced that
it would deploy a second aircraft carrier, the USS Stennis, to the Gulf.
unnamed Iranian military commander, reported to the have said this is "aimed
at evaluating defensive and fighting capabilities of the missiles."
test (21 January 2007) would be the first since the UNSC imposed limited sanctions
on the country in December 2006, banning the sale of materials and technology
that could be used in nuclear and missile programmes.
"As our Supreme
Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] said, no Iranian official has the right to back
down on Iran's nuclear right."
On 8 January, Khamenei rejected the
UN resolution, vowing that the Islamic Republic would not back down in its nuclear
- Mohammed Saeedi, Deputy Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency
said that Iran was annoyed by the UNSC's Resolution 1737. Iran believes that the
resolution is "illegal and unfair."
- Despite the action against
Iran, on 15 January 2007, there were reports of Iran's intention to phase in 3000
centrifuges more at the Natanz nuclear plant over a period of time. Iranian government
spokesman has denied this.
- On Monday, 22 January 2007, it was announced
that Iran had rejected 38 IAEA inspectors. All IAEA members receive lists of designated
inspectors annually and have the right under their safeguards agreements not to
accept the inspectors proposed by the Agency.
- Mr Ali Larijani, head of
Iran's Supreme National Security Council, has stated that Iran will continue co-operation
with the IAEA based on the NPT and Safeguards Agreement.
- The next meeting
of the Board of Governors will take place in March 2007 and a further report by
the IAEA Director General is expected in time for the meeting.
Sunday 28 January 2007 UN Atomic Head Mohamed ElBaradei told a Davos Forum that
military action against Iran's nuclear sites that Washington has not ruled out,
would be crazy and the two sides should stop flexing muscles and start direct
Iran said on Sunday it needed time to review a suggestion by the
Dr ElBaradei of a "timeout" under which Iranian nuclear work and UN
sanctions would be suspended together.
"Iran needs time to review such
an initiative to see whether it has the capacity to resolve Iran's nuclear issue,"
Iran nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said when asked about the "timeout"
"Iran's nuclear issue is a multi-faceted issue and we cannot
say yes or no to such a suggestion."
"ElBaradei's initiative to
have a "timeout" can be considered, and through this suggestion a political
solution can be found to this (nuclear) issue."
Reports of Iran
barring nuclear inspectors
The IAEA "requested Iranian authorities
to reconsider their decision."
The US on Monday denounced Iran's barring
some inspectors as an attempt to "dictate terms" to the international
IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said the IAEA sent a letter
last week calling for all 38 inspectors to be reinstated after an announcement
on Monday that Iran was blocking them from entering the country.
sent a letter to the IAEA officials overseeing the IAEA's inspection of the Iranian
Iran had banned Christian Charlier, an official overseeing
the IAEA's inspection of the Iranian nuclear programme, who is Belgian, last April
from entering the country in retaliation for alleged leaks to the press.
has said in recent months that it want Charlier no longer even to see reports
on Iran at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna.
In December 2006 the Iranian
parliament had adopted a bill requiring the government to revise its co-operation
with the IAEA in retaliation after the UN Security Council that month passed a
resolution imposing sanctions on Iran for its refusal to end its uranium enrichment
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters on Monday
that "any country had the right to refuse inspectors."
Dr ElBaradei said that 200 inspectors were charged with investigating Iran's nuclear
The banned inspectors are from Britain, France, Germany - the
three EU countries which have led nuclear talks with Iran as well as Canada and
UN resolution implications for South Africa
Africa is obliged to report on its compliance with Resolution 1737 to the Security
Council Committee by the end of February 2007.
- The obligations (in Resolution
1737) for Member States are extensive and are contained in operative paragraphs
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12 and 17. Essentially the obligations are to restrict the
transfer of certain listed items to or from Iran, freeze assets or certain listed
persons, and monitor their travel.
- One of the important aspects of the
resolution is the decision, set out in operative paragraph 18, to establish a
Committee of the Security Council consisting of all members of the Council, including
South Africa. The mandate of the Committee is to:
- Seek from all
States, and in particular those in the region and those producing the items, materials,
equipment, goods and technology referred to in the resolution, information regarding
the sanctions taken by them to implement the sanctions and whatever other information
the Committee may consider useful;
- Examine and take appropriate action
on information regarding alleged violations of the sanctions;
and decide upon requests for exemptions;
- Determine additional items, materials,
equipment, goods and technology to be specified;
- Designate additional
individuals and entities subject to the measures imposed;
- Promulgate guidelines
to facilitate the implementation of the sanctions, including a requirement that
Sates proposing the addition of individuals and entities against whom sanctions
are to be imposed, provide a motivation; and
- To report at least every
90 days to the Security Council on its work and on the implementation of this
resolution, providing observations and recommendations, in particular on ways
to strengthen the effectiveness of the sanctions.
have expressed concerns at aspects of Resolution 1737 (2006) including:
the resolution recognises the legal right of States to the peaceful uses of nuclear
energy, it contradicts this through various measures that impact directly and
almost completely constrain Iran's ability to engage in any nuclear activity,
even relating to peaceful uses of nuclear energy
- Without providing any
evidence of the existence of a weapons programme or the involvement of persons
or institutions in support of such activities, the resolution includes a list
of individuals and entities that are subject to travel restrictions and/or whose
assets need to be frozen.
Outside of United Nations Security
Council measures there are actions taken by the USA against Iran:
Reagan on 29 October 1987, issued Executive Order 12613 imposing a new import
embargo on Iranian origin goods and services. Section 505 of the International
Security and Development Co-operation Action of 1985 was utilised as the statutory
authority for the embargo, which gave rise to the Iranian Transactions Regulations,
Title 31 Part 560 of the US Code of Federal Regulations.
- President Clinton
issued Executive Order of 12957 prohibiting US involvement with petroleum development
in Iran as in the opinion of the US "Iranian sponsorship of international
terrorism and Iran's active pursuit of weapons of mass destruction." On 6
May 1995 he signed Executive Order 12959, pursuant to the International Emergency
Economic Powers Act, as well as substantially tightening sanctions against Iran.
19 August 1997, the President signed Executive Order 13059 confirming that virtually
all trade and investment activities with Iran are prohibited.
criminal penalties for violations of the Iranian Transactions Regulations can
range up to US$500 000 with individual penalties of up to US$250 000 and 10 years
in jail. Civil penalties of up to US$ 11000 may also be imposed administratively.
to any of the "States of concern" automatically trigger US sanctions
laws. The statutory provisions described below mandate actions that must be taken
by the US President or his designee when proliferation-related activity occurs
that triggers the provisions. The US President or his designee has the authority
to waive the imposition of sanctions if certain criteria are met. The sanction
- Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act of 1992
Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Action of 1992 mandates sanctions against governments
or persons that transfer or re-transfer goods or technology so as to contribute
knowingly and materially to efforts by Iran or Iraq to acquire chemical, biological
or nuclear weapons or destabilising numbers and types of certain advanced conventional
weapons. Sanctions against persons consist of two-year bans on USG procurement
from or exports to the person.
- In the case of transfers by foreign
governments, the mandatory sanctions include:
- For a period of one
year, suspension of US assistance (except for urgent humanitarian assistance)
of co-development, co-production and military and dual-use technical exchange
- Suspension of exports to the country of items on the US munitions
list; and US opposition to multilateral bank assistance to the country.
and Syria Actions Act
The mandatory non-proliferation
related sanctions regarding Iran is triggered by transfers that:
to Iran's acquisition of Weapons of Mass Destruction
- Advanced conventional
- Enhance Iran's military or paramilitary capabilities
Iran's ability to develop their petroleum resources
- Enhance Iran's ability
to maintain their aviation capabilities
- Iran Non-Proliferation
Act of 2000
The Iran Non-Proliferation Act of 2000 provides
for sanctions against any foreign person if there is "credible information"
that the foreign person transferred to Iran items listed by the multilateral export
control regimes (Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Australia
Group, Wassenaar Arrangement), regardless of whether the item is used in Iran's
weapons programme. All such transfers must be reported to Congress every 6 months.
against the foreign person may include:
- Prohibition on US Government
- A ban on foreign assistance
- A ban on imports
ban on licenses of arms exports and dual-use items
Proliferation Prevention Act of 1994
Section 821 of the Nuclear
Proliferation Prevention Act of 1994 provides for procurement sanctions against
any US or foreign person that knowingly and materially contributed through exports
of goods or technology, to the efforts of any individual, group or non-nuclear
weapon state to acquire a nuclear explosive device or unsafeguarded special nuclear
of the AECA prohibits the US Government from providing various types of foreign
assistance to any country that the US President determines has delivered or received
nuclear enrichment equipment materials, or technology unless certain conditions
apply to the non-proliferation transfer.
102(b) of the AECA requires sanctions against:
- A foreign country
that transfers a nuclear explosive device (or components or design information
for such a device) to a non-nuclear weapon state
- A non-nuclear weapon
state that receives a nuclear explosive device (or components of design information
for such a device)
- A non-nuclear weapon state that detonates a nuclear
of various types of foreign assistance
- Termination of certain arms sales
on the provision of USG credit, credit guarantees, and loans from US banks to
the foreign government
- USG opposition to loans from international financing
- Restrictions on US dual-use exports
August 2006 the US imposed sanctions on two Russian firms for allegedly passing
on equipment to Iran that could be used in a nuclear weapons programme.
US on 5 January 2007 announced sanctions against 24 foreign entities including
Russian, Chinese and North Korean firms for allegedly selling banned weapons to
Iran and Syria. The measures were imposed under the 2005 Iran and Syria Non-Proliferation
- Three Chinese State-run companies, two other Russian firms and a
Russian individual, as well as, entities from Iran, Sudan, Syria, Pakistan, Malaysia
and Mexico were also imposed with the sanctions. The measures took effect as of
28 December 2006.
- "The introduction of umpteen sanctions against
us is a form of unfair competition targeting our company and all Russia,"
said Valery Kartavtsev, a spokesman of Rosoboronexport
- The Russian aircraft
firm Sukhoi was also targeted by those measures, however those sanctions were
lifted against the jetmaker in November 2006 after angry protests. Kartavtsev
said Rosoboronexport adhered strictly to international and Russian law and had
not yet received any official notification of sanctions.
- Re-exports of
items containing more than 10% US content are also prohibited.
- The US
announced on 9 January 2007 that it had frozen the assets of Bank Sepah (based
in Iran) Bank Sepah International PLC (based in the UK) and Ahmed Derakhshandeh
(Chairperson and Manager of Bank Sepah International PLC), Shahid Hemmat Industries
Group and Shahid Bakeri Industries Group - companies that have been designated
under USA Executive Order 13382 for having been involved in proliferation activities.
Africa will continue to participate in the work of the UNSC and the 1737 Committee
with a view to support ongoing dialogue and a peaceful resolution of this issue.
world cannot afford further escalation of conflict in the Middle East region and
South Africa will continue to work with all parties in an effort to resolve this
issue in a sustainable manner.
Increasing US military presence
18 January 2007 a second US aircraft carrier the USS John C. Stennis, was deployed
to the Persian Gulf. The current US administration is making no secret of the
fact that the amount of American military might that is being concentrated in
the region is intended to bring pressure to bear on Iran, which the it blames
for the failure of its mission in Iraq.
According to US Defence Secretary
Robert Gates, the build-up of American military power in the Persian Gulf is intended
to get Iran's attention. He was quoted as saying "By all appearances, the
Iranians believe that we are bogged down in Iraq and that they possess the initiative
giving them the ability to pressure us in various ways.
The New York Times
have reported that the United Kingdom will follow suit by adding minesweeping
vessels and magnetic "sleds" carried by helicopters to improve the ability
to counter Iranian mines that could block oil-shipping lanes.
Report has called for a new diplomatic offensive to include Syria and Iran as
the only realistic way of achieving regional peace and security.
not the way forward?
government announced that Ethiopian troops have begun to withdraw from Somalia
on 23 January 2007.
The statement said that Ethiopian troops were forced
to move into Somalia on 24 December 2006 in a counter-offensive to repulse the
two-pronged offensive of the ICU forces and their extremist allies on Baidoa.
Ethiopian troops went into Somalia with a clear mandate from the Ethiopian legislative
body, the Parliament. The mandate makes it clear that the Executive Branch has
an obligation to withdraw the troops immediately upon the completion of the mission
with involves the removal of the clear and present danger to Ethiopia's security.
The mission has been completed.
The US had conducted
a second airstrike in Somalia.
The new airstrike came two weeks after an
AC-130 plane killed what Washington said were eight Al-Qaeda affiliated fighters
hiding among Islamist remnants pushed to Somalia's southern tip by Ethiopian and
Somali government forces.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said, "We're
going to go after al-Qaeda and the global war on terror, whatever it takes us."
Wednesday 24 January 2007 US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger met SICC
leader Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, who was being held by Kenyan intelligence.
also responsible for Somalia, has said Ahmed was among those who could play a
role in the inclusive reconciliation process Washington and many diplomatic players,
believed was necessary to unify Somalia's multiple factions.
of the most visible faces of the SICC during its 6 mo nth rule of most of southern
Somalia, surrendered at the Kenya-Somalia border
African Peace Mission
is readying hundreds of troops for deployment to Somalia for possible participation
in an African peacekeeping force: "There are indications that we might be
asked to contribute troops for peacekeeping in Somalia. A battalion is being prepared
in the event that we are asked," Colonel Ayo Olaniyan, a spokesperson for
the Nigerian army said.
Mozambique is reconsidering whether it will contribute
troops to peacekeeping forces deployed in Sudan and Somalia, Defence Minister
Major-General Tobias Dai said: "We have ordered a thorough study to be conducted
before we intervene, then we will decide
we need to know the region, the
nature of the conflict, and its evolution and also understand different efforts
that we would propose."
Rebel commanders in northern
Darfur said on Monday 22 January 2007 that government aircraft has hit three villages
over the weekend - claims the Sudanese government strongly denied.
exclusive BBC interview President Bashir confirmed his troops had carried out
He said the government had no option but to strike as
80% of attacks on civilians in the region were carried out by rebel groups, undermining
security: "They are not supported by the government. The government is fighting
After the signing of the peace agreement with a leading rebel group
in May 2006, rival rebels formed a new alliance called the National Salvation
Front, President Bashir told BBC.
President Bashir said the group had received
"massive military support in full view of the international community"
and set out to target those who had signed the peace deal.
since carried out large-scale attacks on Sudan Liberation Movement positions in
northern Darfur, controlling its movements, the president said: "We heard
no condemnation of this movement or the countries supporting it. But as soon as
we were forced to send armed troops to deal with it we heard talk of violations
and a ceasefire breach."
of the G7 met on Thursday 18 January 2007 following the call of the New Forces
for a consultation of the opposition.
The G7 expressed their concern about
the deadlock in the peace process since the adoption of resolution 1721/2006 by
the UN Security Council.
This deadlock is characterised by:
freezing of the implementation of the integration of the commanding unit of the
- The non-issuance of birth and nationality certificates - the
process has stalled;
- The failure to launch the identification process
and the production of the electoral list;
- The non deployment of the administration;
freezing of the military dialogue;
- The failure to dismantle the militia
- The delay in the implementation of the DDR;
- The delay
in the restructuring of the army;
- The confiscation of State Media by the
The G7 also expressed their concern that the obstacles
in the peace process could lead to a delay in the production of the electoral
list and the organisation of the elections.
The leaders of the G7 affirmed
their approval of this proposal for a direct dialogue with the Head of State and
encouraged the Secretary General of the New Forces in that regard in order to
play a part in breaking the current stalemate within the strict provisions of
The G7 agreed to strengthen their alliance and effectively
contribute in the implementation of the various accords, notably Resolution 1721/2006
for the organisation of free and transparent election by October 31st 2007. They
decided to form a commission in charge of making proposals.
have been reached with the Paliphehutu-FNL regarding their participation in the
Joint Verification Mechanism (JVM)
- All outstanding issues have been resolved.
Facilitator is ready to set new dates and will begin consultations in this regard.
is expected that by mid-February the processes of demobilisation, disarmament
and re-integration of the Paliphehutu-FNL will begin in earnest
REPUBLIC OF CONGO
The political scene is dominated
by speculation around the continued delay in the announcement of the new Government
for the DRC. This uncertainty is also copiously fed by the media to the extent
that the Office of the Prime Minister, through the spokesperson Mr Godefroid Mayobo,
issued a statement on Thursday 25 January 2007, for the second time during the
last two weeks, to call on the population to be patient. According to Mr Mayobo,
the Prime Minister Mr Antoine Gizenga, wants to ensure that the new Government
is announced in a "proper manner" and that it will be able to respond
to the expectations of the population. The Prime Minister, according to the statement,
is working closely with the President on the finalisation of the Government and
there is absolutely no truth in the rumour of friction between the two parties.
The President and the Prime Minister agreed on six "phases" that would
lead to the formation and announcement of the new Government. The last phase is
now being finalised and the Government will thus be announced within the following
The six phases are the following:
- agreement on the
configuration of the team;
- the distribution of governmental responsibilities;
- consultations with coalition partners;
- allocation of posts
- proposal of candidates and
- choice of appropriate
According to Vital Kamerhe, President (Speaker) of the
National Assembly, the new Government will be announced on Tuesday 30 January.
He does not see a real "delay" in the announcement of the Government
as it was clear from the start that such an announcement would only be done after
the elections of the Senators (Friday 19 January) and the Provincial Governors
and Deputy Governors (Saturday 27 January). As expectations for posts within the
AMP Alliance of the President are high, it was important to get a sense of the
strength of the Alliance in these institutions and to see which personalities
could be accommodated here before the Government is finalised. It should be recalled
here that the AMP Alliance has gained a majority of Senators in 7 of the 11 provinces
with the remaining 4, including the town-province of Kinshasa, going to the UN
(Union for the Nation) of Jean-Pierre Bemba (who was also elected Senator for
Kinshasa). The results of the elections for Governors and Deputy-Governors will
be available as from Sunday 28 January.
In the meantime however, the election
of Governors and Deputy Governors are already marred by controversy because of
a decision by the DRC IEC to exclude two UN candidates, both members of the MLC
party of Jean-Pierre Bemba, from the election because of their dual nationality.
According to a complaint lodged at the IEC, Mr Dominique Kanku, UN candidate for
Kasai Oriental and Alex Kande, UN candidate for Kasai Occidental, have not renounced
their Belgian citizenship and therefore, in terms of Congolese law, they are not
eligible for election. The election in these two provinces have consequently been
postponed till 10 February
Vital Kamerhe also informed the Mission that
he is planning to call an extra-ordinary session of Parliament on Monday 29 January.
The aim of this session would be to finalise parliamentary operational rules and
to start working on the 2007/2008 programme. The idea is also to put pressure
on the Prime Minister not to delay the announcement of Government beyond Tuesday
The United Nations Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, arrived
in Kinshasa on Friday 26 January on his first official visit to Africa. In his
address to the DRC Parliament on Saturday morning (27 January), he congratulated
the Congolese population for the "spectacular progress" made during
the last seven years. He warned however that this is in fact only the start of
the process and that much remained to be done. He took the opportunity to ensure
the Congolese population of the support of the United Nations and the international
community for the "gigantic task" of reconstruction and development
that lies ahead. The UNSG flew to Kisangani where he will be meeting with President
Joseph Kabila Kabange.
Election of the DRC Senators: On 19 January
2007, 108 Senators were elected during the elections which were free of political
incidents. These senators were elected out of 26 electoral constituencies representing
26 provinces as provided by the Constitution. In the exception of Kinshasa that
provided 8 seats, each Province provided 4 seats. The coalition led by President
Kabila garnered 58 seats and that of Mr Bemba 21 seats. The President party the
PPRD acquired 22 seats whilst the MLC had 14 seats. The RCD garnered 7 seats where
the Prime Minister Designate Mr Gizenga's party got just 1 seat which may weigh
negatively on him regarding the composition of the new Government. The significance
of the Senatorial elections is that 4 Senators are experienced former Prime Ministers
during Mobutu's reign.
Election of Governors and Deputies: Though
the IEC still has to officially announce the results today, 29 January 2007, on
27 January 2007 elections were conducted in the DRC to elect Governors and Deputies.
Throughout the eleven Provinces, only two Kasai Provinces' elections were postponed
to 10 February 2007. Of the nine Provinces where elections were held, Senator
Bemba's Coalition only won the Equateur Province and the rest of the Provinces
were won by President Joseph Kabila's AMP Party. In Kinshasa, the Governor is
from the PPRD and his Deputy from PALU, Kinshasa is thus under the control of
President Kabila's AMP Party.
Security in the East: The security
situation in the Eastern DRC has become bearable due to the mediation role initiated
by Rwanda between the government of the DRC and the rebel group led by General
Laurent Nkunda. The initiated mediation has produced a peace deal between the
government and General Nkunda. General Nkunda has made a commitment that his fighters
would be integrated into the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC). The commitment comes
in the backdrop that General Nkunda's warrant of arrest (issued via Interpol for
his alleged war crimes committed by his forces in 2004 in Bakuvu) is still pending.
By implication, the peace deal initiated by Rwanda, could bring less tension between
the Governments of the DRC and Rwanda long accused of backing General Nkunda.
Over a thousand of Gen Nkunda's soldiers from 81st and 83rd brigades have begun
their integration into the National Army. Negotiations are ongoing particularly
regarding Gen Nkunda's reported demand for his warrant of arrest and his future
role in the DRC. It was earlier reported that he was demanding for the withdrawal
of warrant of arrest and indicated his intention to go to exile.
whole, the security situation in the country seems to be calm following the resumption
of negotiations with Gen Nkunda. However, the situation can change any time, as
evidenced by the reported fighting between two groups of General Nkunda's forces,
those that are against and for the integration within the FARDC.
has been another pocket of violence in the Eastern Part of the DRC carried out
by dissident soldiers from the DRC Armed forces. The fighting began on 27 January
2007 in the North Kivu villages of Luke and Murambi. MONUC is monitoring the situation
as it unfolds. The challenge remains the security sector reform in the country.
this regard, two issues have dominated the headlines and discussions during the
last two weeks, namely the urgency of a proper programme of integration for the
Army and the "mixing" of the troops of General Laurent Nkunda.
eastern DRC, the "mixing" as opposed to "integration" of the
troops of rebel General Laurent Nkundabatware started on Friday 19 January. The
team of Captain Sonica Van Rooyen (SANDF) has started the physical registration
of Nkunda's first 1000 troops. In an interview with RFI, General Nkunda committed
himself to have all his troops "mixed" with the FARDC. It seems however
that negotiations concerning his own situation and future are still continuing.
The Mission has picked up that President Kabila is not too eager about having
Nkunda integrated into the FARDC. Nkunda for his part, wants the international
warrant of arrest against him lifted. (During his speech in Parliament today,
the UNSG said "it is imperative to resolutely attack the problem of foreign
armed groups who continue to operate in the country and commit crimes against
the population". The DRC Members of Parliament responded to this shouting
"Nkunda, Nkunda".) There is increasing speculation that Nkunda will
be given political asylum in South Africa or in Rwanda.
UN Support in
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, on his first official trip abroad,
told a meeting of the National Assembly in the DRC, "Now, DRC is a true source
of hope for all of Africa," while acknowledging the "gigantic"
tasks ahead, including improving health, education, basic services and infrastructure
across the massive country, while providing jobs and using revenue generated from
natural resources for improving living conditions.
He pledged to help the
DRC push back poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation
"But as strong as the support of the international
community may be, the key to a better future in the DRC is in your hands,"
he said urging those present to enter into a contract with themselves and the
people they represent, as well as global partners. This should focus on good governance,
he added, because re-establishing State authority is key to consolidating peace
"I ask therefore that all of the parties represented
in this august Assembly and all the leaders of the country work together, placing
the interests of the Congolese people above all."
He said the creation
of an army and police is essential so that the UN Mission in DRC (MONUC) can transfer
its responsibilities to the government based on an agreed timetable.
a true national army requires first that all former combatants be disarmed, demobilized
and reintegrated into Congolese society, he noted. In parallel, it is essential
to resolutely tackle the problem of armed foreign groups which continue to operate
in the country and to commit crimes against the people.
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, what are you hearing
from Addis Ababa regarding the tabling of South Africa's African Peer Review Mechanism
Answer The report was tabled yesterday. As with any country
report being tabled, the country in question is given the opportunity to respond
to the report. This report is now being studied by other Heads of State and Government
and will be further discussed at the next meeting.
It is unfortunate that
elements of the report have already been reported in the media as a result of
The APRM process is a very important process. It is our view that
it should not be compromised just because it has been leaked and selectively reported
Question Deputy Minister, did President Mbeki respond to the report?
Yes, President Mbeki would have had an opportunity to respond to the report as
the President of the country.
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, you indicated
many instances of US unilateral sanctions against Iran. To what extent do such
actions undermine the work of the United Nations Security Council?
Over the years there have been many independent actions against Iran, Libya,
the late Saddam Hussein and North Korea - which are outside the UN Security Council
The Baker-Hamilton Report now indicates that these actions are
not enabling progress despite billions of dollars being invested.
diplomatic offensive is certainly required and we must ensure that any actions
against Iran and Syria are not counter-productive and creates obstacles rather
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, what is South Africa's
position on Sudan's chairmanship of the African Union?
view, is that the AU, like its predecessor the OAU, has many other more pressing
issues with which to deal like poverty and underdevelopment.
debate over who will chair the body, which is prevalent in many major international
newspapers today, is diverting attention from many more important issues that
must be dealt with - precisely the issue of Darfur, Somalia, and as the discussions
in Davos have indicated, how to progress in the World Trade Organisation Talks.
I am convinced that African Heads of State who will meet to discuss this matter,
will emerge with an African position that is in the best interests of the African
continent and people.
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, do you think the
murder of Mr Rattray will lead to tourists being skeptical of visiting South Africa?
We must at the outset express shock and concern at the murder of Mr Rattray
since such acts only strengthen perceptions that crime is out of control both
in South Africa and beyond its borders. I believe that many sections of the international
media would have covered this story.
The Cabinet Lekgotla has just emerged
with the view that crime can only be handled comprehensively if it is dealt with
holistically. There are many reasons for crime - poverty and underdevelopment,
the erosion of the social fabric of society.
We all have a role to play
in combating this phenomenon. We need a partnership against crime.
civil society, religious leaders, must intensify our efforts to inculcate values
that will strengthen our social fabric.
Issued by Department of Foreign
Private Bag X152
29 January 2007