Notes following Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, Imbizo
Media Centre, 120 Plein Street, Cape Town, Wednesday, 28 February 2007
continue to be happy with the consolidation of multi-party democracy in Africa.
Last week I briefed you on the Lesotho elections.
you know, Senegal held its Presidential elections on Sunday 25 February 2007,
amid a tense atmosphere but without any violence. This atmosphere was partly due
to the fact that a sizeable number of voters were said not to have received their
voting cards in time to be able to cast their vote.
While the counting
is said to have not yet been completed, preliminary results are indicating that,
President Wade is currently winning the first round by approximately 55%.
results are expected to be announced on Thursday or Friday this week after they
have been verified by the Constitutional Court of Senegal.
situation in Somalia continues to remain tense and volatile.
On 21 February
2007 a district commissioner in north Mogadishu was killed by unknown assailants.
Other recent attacks include mortar attacks on the Mogadishu International Airport
(22 February 2007) and a car bomb explosion on 18 February 2007. Mortar attacks
on Ethiopian troops based in the Digir Hospital are also becoming more common
while on 21 February 2007 insurgents warned the AU that should peacekeeping troops
arrive in Somalia they would become the focus of attack. A new group called the
"Popular Resistance Movement in the Land of the Two Migrations" or "Muqaawama"
has claimed responsibility for other attacks aimed at Somali government buildings
and Ethiopian troops. The group demands the immediate withdrawal of Ethiopian
Civil society organisations in Somalia have appealed to the international
community to help at least 2,000 families displaced over the past two weeks by
violence in the capital, Mogadishu.
"We are appealing to the international
community, particularly to the United Nations, to come to the aid of these people,"
Muhammad Nur Ga'al, the deputy head of the coalition known as Civil Society in
Action, said on Wednesday 21 February 2007 from Mogadishu. "Their situation
is dire and if things don't improve quickly it will get worse."
families, representing an estimated 12,000 people, fled their homes to escape
continued heavy weapon exchanges between Ethiopian-backed government troops and
On 20 February 2007 the UN unanimously adopted Resolution
1744, which authorised the deployment of the AMISOM force into Somalia. This Resolution
falls under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which allows for enforcement measures.
The role of AMISOM, will be to support dialogue and reconciliation in Somalia.
The UNSC stressed the need for broad-based and representative institutions reached
through all inclusive political processes in Somalia, as envisaged in the Transitional
Federal Charter in order to consolidate stability, peace and reconciliation in
the country and ensure that international assistance is effective as possible.
South Africa will continue to support the national reconciliation process
in Somalia and is willing to assist the TFG to ensure that the national reconciliation
process is all inclusive, incorporating all relevant role players including civil-society,
clan elders, the UIC and the warlords.
On 12 February
2007, the SPLM concluded its five day National Council Meeting in Yei, Central
Equatorial. The National Council Meeting deliberations focused on issues such
- Transformation of the SPLM from a liberation movement to a political
- Relationship between the SPLM and the National Congress Party
- Implementation of the CPA and;
- Darfur situation. The
National Council Meeting expressed concern for the non-implementation of key aspects
in the CPA such as the Abyei Protocol and the withdrawal of the NCP backed militia
from Southern Sudan.
The establishment of an independent commission
to investigate corruption in the GOSS. The commission will focus on the awarding
of government tenders since 2005.
The SPLM announced the relocation of
its Headquarters to Khartoum. This move will allow the SPLM to play an active
part in the Sudan national politics.
On 20 February 2007, First Vice President
Salva Kiir issued a number of decrees for the formation of different committees
in line with the recommendations of the National Council meeting.
- The committee lead by Dr. Lual Dend which will
be responsible for following up on oil revenues and monies transferred to the
GOSS during the last period and this committee will report to the President within
- The committee lead by Pagan Amum will be responsible for resource
development and administration;
- The committee lead by Dr. Mansour Khalid
shall investigate oil contracts and environmental and social effect; and
committee formed for Upper Nile state to investigate on complains from citizens
of the state against Dr. Lam Akol. All committees are expected to report within
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
voiced concern about the situation in Darfur, decrying the "massive human
sufferings" in the region, where at least 200,000 people have been killed
and 2 million others displaced from their homes since 2003.
There has not
been any real movement on the Hybrid force. However, on 16 February 2007, President
Al Bashir said the UN should provide logistical and technical support to the AU
instead of troops. He believes that the notion of a 'hybrid' UN/AU force meant
that the AU would provide troops and the UN would provide the logistical back-up.
this context the Secretary-General of the United Nations said that:
are two tracks that are still going on, even though we have not yet finally agreed.
One is the political process; a political dialogue process is going on at the
highest level, including myself. And secondly, peacekeeping operation level is
now being discussed. The United Nations will soon engage in detailed negotiations
with African Union representatives and I'm also going to meet with the African
Union Commissioner. And I have been constantly involved in this process. We have
also been trying to resolve this issue of humanitarian assistance problems. There
are still many people who are suffering because of the inaccessibility of the
humanitarian community. I have strongly urged the Sudanese Government to allow
this humanitarian assistance to be resumed.
Following the deployment of
UN forces, President Bush has approved plans for wide-ranging financial and other
sanctions against the Sudan if Khartoum does not allow the deployment of UN Peacekeepers
in Darfur. The sanctions package is part of a three-tiered Plan B. Under the Plan,
the US Treasury will block US commercial bank transactions connected to the Sudan
Government, including those of oil revenues.
Britain's minister for Africa
Lord David Triesman, speaking at the UN on Wednesday 21 February 2007, warned
Sudan that it faces more sanctions unless it keeps agreements to promote peace
in the war-torn region of Darfur and accused Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president
of seeking a military solution to the conflict.
Sudan, he said, "has
not observed the cease-fire, has committed military forces to try to achieve military
solutions, has not disarmed any of the (pro-government) janjaweed (militia), and
has not really engaged in a political process as contrasted with a military process."
The result, he said, was that conditions on the ground are getting worse
and worse, while humanitarian organizations are finding it more difficult to get
aid "to destitute, starving, dying people".
The AU PSC has taken
a decision to dispatch a mission to Chad, CAR and the Sudan to undertake a comprehensive
assessment of the situation on the ground and identify the obstacles impeding
the implementation of agreements signed by Chad and Sudan. As you know an agreement
was signed by Sudan and its neighbours on the fringes of the Franco-Africa Summit
in Cannes, France but this seems to have not been implemented.
On 20 February
2007,the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon recommended the deployment of a peacekeeping
operations of 11 000 personnel for Chad and the Central African Republic to stop
the spill-over of conflict from the Sudan to its neighbouring state, Chad and
the Central African Republic.
International Criminal Court Naming of
The International Criminal Court chief prosecutor named a
Sudanese minister and a militia commander on Tuesday as the first suspects he
wants tried for war crimes in Darfur and suggested more could follow.
prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked pre-trial judges to issue summonses for Ahmed
Haroun, state interior minister during the height of the Darfur conflict, and
militia commander Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb.
work sends a signal: those who commit atrocities cannot do so without impunity,"
he told a news conference.
Haroun is currently Sudan's state humanitarian
Khartoum said the ICC had no jurisdiction to try any Sudanese
suspects, either rebels or from the government side.
"All the evidence
the prosecutor referred to is lies given to him by people who bear arms against
the state, bear arms against citizens and kill innocent citizens in Darfur,"
Justice Minister Mohamed Ali al-Mardi said in Khartoum.
Clearly the naming
of these individuals and others adds a new dimension to attempts to find a solution
to the crisis in Darfur.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
in the DRC continue to be consolidated.
Antoine Gizenga received overwhelming parliamentary support / voted for his government
programme, titled "New Foundation", inclusive of the Cabinet Ministers
being instituted in their various portfolios, on 24 February 2007.
397 parliamentarians present (total of 500), 295 voted in favour of the new government
programme, while 94 voted against, with eight abstentions. The programme's main
focus is on boosting development. through new measures to increase security and
justice and to fight corruption and poverty.
Prime Minister Gizenga indicated
that his government would follow an open-market approach, including privatisation,
to ensure progress on the five priorities named by President Joseph Kabila, namely;
infrastructure, employment, education, water and electricity, and health. The
government is counting on 14.35 billion dollars over five years to finance the
ambitious programme. More than half would come from international financial backers.
Africa will continue, through the Security Council and interaction with other
international partners to encourage the necessary support for the consolidation
of post-conflict democracy.
The opposition Congolese Liberation Movement
(MLC) leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, criticised the programme as just a "string
of good intentions." Francois Muamba, MLC deputy leader, said the government
appeared to consider foreign financing a given, "something that is not the
case," and chastised Prime Minister Gizenga for not aiming high enough with
his target of eight percent economic growth.
Prime Minister Gizenga responded
by insisting that he would soon "engage in negotiations" with the International
Monetary Fund in order to re-establish the required conditions needed to access
budgetary aid, which was halted last year after the country apparently failed
to control public spending.
According to the UN the DRC parliament also
indicated that it had created a commission to probe the post-electoral bloodshed
that erupted following a governorship election in the western province of Bas-Congo
last month, killing 134 people.
A court martial
in Bunia (Ituri region in the Orientale Province in North-Eastern Congo) sentenced
13 soldiers to life imprisonment on conviction of war crimes over a massacre in
the Ituri region a military prosecutor announced on 20 February 2007. The military
court in Bunia, the main town in the strife-prone northeastern part of the vast
country, on 20 February 2007 handed down its verdicts on 15 soldiers of the army's
first brigade who were charged during December 2006 with war crimes, murder, breaking
orders and culpable absence from duty. The Ituri defence force court also handed
down life jail sentences to four former members of an Ituri militia, the Nationalist
and Integrationalist Front (FNI), for the 2003 murder of two UN military observers.
Among the 13 soldiers jailed for life, four were sentenced in absentia, and the
court gave their army captain a suspended six-month jail term for culpable absence
from duty and acquitted a lieutenant, the Bunia prosecutor added. The convicted
men were also ordered to pay $315 000 in damages to the victims' families "in
solidarity with the Congolese state". In such trials the court typically
orders the state to pay damages and interest when the convicts patently cannot
afford to do so. The soldiers were sought in connection with a civilian massacre
at Bavi, about 40km south of Bunia, after the discovery of three graves containing
up to 30 people discovered in November 2006. A team from MONUC joined authorities
in a probe after being alerted by local and international human rights groups
in the area, and located the graves thanks to a tip-off from a soldier. Witness
accounts said government forces "abducted the civilians and then forced them
to work in local gold mines, to harvest and gather food products, or to transport
Clashes broke out between the army and Rwandan and Congolese
militias in North Kivu province (eastern Congo which borders the frontiers with
Rwanda and at least 23 combatants have been reported killed and caused thousands
to flee, the army and U.N. officials announced on 21 February 2007. Rwandan and
Congolese fighters were trying to stop Congo's national army from being deployed
in the area. Rwandan Hutu militia have operated in eastern Congo since fleeing
Rwanda in 1994.
We do believe that the Security Council must deal with these
remaining Hutu militia if we are to maintain peace and stability in this area.
Their remaining active in the area is a matter of concern for us.
provincial Kivu North capital, Goma, a U.N. official, Andrew Zadel, indicated
that 8,620 displaced people had fled to the nearby village of Nyanzale and 14,000
others were receiving aid from the Red Cross at Kikuku. But it was unclear how
many in Nyanzale had fled the latest clashes and how many were simply in need
Signing of a General Co-operation Agreement
On the 14 February 2007, South African Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana
Dlamini Zuma signed a General Co-operation Agreement at the Africa-France Heads
of State and Government Summit in the French coastal city of Cannes with her Burundian
counterpart Antoinette Batumubwira, Minister of External Co-operation and International
The signing of the General Co-operation Agreement has the potential
to unlock possibilities for both countries in the area of nation-building, economic
development and in further strengthening the already good relations.
CNDD-FDD Leadership Structure
The CNDD-FDD altered its structure at
the congress, with the party being run by a five-member Executive Committee, dealing
primarily with administrative issues. An umbrella structure, consisting of six
members and known as the 'Council of the Wise" will be chaired by President
Deployment of 1100 SANDF troops to Burundi
has approved the deployment of 1100 South African soldiers to Burundi as part
of an African Union special task force. This was at the request of the AU and
as part of South Africa's commitment to contribute to socio-economic and political
stability on the continent. This deployment will contribute to peace and stability
in Burundi and ensure that the progress towards peace in that country is not reversed.
This is basically increasing our involvement in Burundi and the view is that because
we've worked in Burundi and made so much progress, it's absolutely vital that
in areas where we're already involved, it's important for us to make sure that
we consolidate the gains we have made there and make sure that we don't revert.
The leadership of the Paliphehutu-FNL is now in Bujumbura where
they are participating in the Joint Verification Mechanism chaired by South Africa,
the mechanism created for the purpose of implementing the ceasefire agreed to
by both parties.
The JVM is in the process of creating joint liaison teams
that will deal with various aspects of the ceasefire. The joint liaison teams
that have been prioritised are:
- The team dealing with the release of
all political prisoners; and
- The team to deal with the establishment of
assembly points where all combatants of the FNL will be assembled for the purposes
of their disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration.
of this phase in the peace process is that armed struggle and conflict has now
ended and any new issues will be dealt with through negotiation with all parties
by the countries of the region and the Facilitator.
an endeavour to resolve the political impasse in Cote d' Ivoire President Gbagbo
addressed the nation on December the 19th, 2006 during which he announced a Five
Point Plan. The Plan seeks to address the following issues: national dialogue
with the rebels, acceleration of the disarmament and the reunification of the
country; the cancellation of the confidence zone; creation of a National Civic
Service; and the establishment of an aid program for the return of the displaced
At an ECOWAS Summit in Ouagadougou on 19 January 2007, the
leaders welcomed the initiative by President Gbagbo for dialogue with New Forces
leader Guillaume Sorro and called upon the Chairman of ECOWAS to facilitate the
dialogue to give momentum to the peace process. As a result President Compaore
of Burkina Faso, in his capacity as the new Chair of ECOWAS invited all the Ivorian
political formations to preliminary talks held on 05 February 2007 in Ouagadougou.
The Ouagadougou talks focused on: disarmament; the redeployment of the administration;
the identification and; the organisation of elections.
In its Summit held
in Addis Ababa from 29-30 January 2007 the African Union urged the Ivorian parties
to redouble efforts to bring the peace process to its logical conclusion on the
basis of resolution 1721, adopted by the United Nations Security Council on 1
November 2006, through direct dialogue as proposed by President Laurent Gbagbo
and supported by ECOWAS and the African Union.
The Security Council issued
a media statement welcoming the new initiative. The statement said that that the
initiative should lead to the implementation of the roadmap as outlined in Resolution
1721 (2006). In addition the Security Council also supported the recommendation
by ECOWAS and the International Working Group (IWG) that the Security Council
pays a visit to Cote d'Ivoire.
On 10 January 2007, the UN Security Council
adopted Resolution 1739 extending the mandate of UNOCI until 30 June 2007.
are generally happy regarding the positive developments in Africa but remain concerned
regarding the possibility of regression.
IRAN: NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in Germany on Wednesday 21 February 2007, on the
fringes of the Quartet meeting said:
"The Iranian nuclear issue
is another very serious concern to the international community. As the Secretary-General
of the UN, I also have been trying to be a help in resolving this issue as much
as I can. The international community was reasonably encouraged by the recent
agreement on the North Korean nuclear issue through the Six-Party Process. We
must address this issue as soon as possible. I urged the Iranian Foreign Minister
to continue to resolve this issue through negotiations with the international
community, particularly led by the European Union."
It is in this
context that Mr Larijani, the Chief Iranian Nuclear Negotiator who had been visiting
Europe and participated in the a major Security Conference in Munich, visited
South Africa at the weekend and held discussions with President Thabo Mbeki on
Sunday 25 February 2007.
These discussions took place within the framework
of our ongoing discussions with Iran as members of the IAEA Board of Governors.
by the Director-General Of The International Atomic Energy Agency On The Implementation
of the NPT Safeguards Agreement And Resolution 1737 (2006) By Iran
The main findings are that, pursuant to its NPT safeguards agreement, Iran has
been providing the IAEA with access to declared nuclear material and facilities
and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports. The IAEA is
therefore able to verify that Iran has not diverted declared nuclear material.
The IAEA finds that Iran's declaration on the inventory of nuclear material
at its Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant is consistent with the results of the IAEA's
However, no progress with regard to efforts to verify fully
past development of Iran's nuclear programme. As a result, the IAEA is unable
to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities or to provide
assurances about the exclusively peaceful nature of that programme.
has not suspended enrichment related activities as required by the Security Council.
Maximum enrichment level of 4.2% of Uranium-235.
Iran has provided
IAEA inspectors access, but has declined to agree to remote monitoring, pending
clarification from the IAEA on the legal basis for this request and examples of
where such monitoring has been applied to other countries.
Iran has not
yet ratified the Additional Protocol.
No further developments with regard
to the issue of finding the source of the lowly enriched uranium (LEU) and highly
enriched uranium (HEU) particles found at Iranian sites.
Iran has made
no new information available to the IAEA concerning its P-1 and P-2 centrifuge
Iran has not provided the IAEA with a copy of a 15 page document
describing the procedures for the reduction of UF6 to uranium metal and the casting
and machining of enriched and depleted uranium metal into hemispheres. However,
this document remains under IAEA seal.
Iran has not agreed to any of
the required transparency measures, which the IAEA regards as essential for clarification
of certain aspects of the scope and nature of its nuclear programme.
by Iranian Chief Nuclear Negotiator, Mr Larijani
The 43rd Munich Conference
on Security Policy and similar initiatives launched for the same purpose reveal
the fact that this fact-changing global developments have drastically transformed
the international and regional security realities which necessitate a review and
redefinition of the previous analytical and management tools.
It is vitally
important for all of us to find a way out of this dilemma by creating the required
analytical and management capabilities. And any delay in this regard can potentially
culminate in the eruption of new crises. And any miscalculated efforts for the
settlement of the key issues can prepare the ground for a new spate of confrontations.
primary purpose of any unilateral, bilateral or multilateral security strategy,
alliance or pact is the establishment of order: an order which is aimed at settling
the convergent or divergent interests, values and ideologies in the system of
international relations. Any world security order can be viable and sustainable
only if it meets the material and moral interests of individuals and societies
which include Justice, freedom, well-being and respect for their identities. An
order which fails to meet the afore-mentioned interests for individuals, groups
and states is an arbitrary order which is doomed to break down due to the injustices
that it is bound to bring in its wake.
A sustainable order can not entail
anything other than inclusive aims.
A sustainable security order rejects
the attainment of the interests of one side through intimidation, coercion, and
violence at the expense of others. An international and regional security order
can be sustainable only if it is underpinned by understanding and concord.
the security order prevailing in the Cold War era the two superpowers were engaged
in colonising the smaller states and paid little attention to the underpinnings
of a sustainable order that is respect for identity of societies, sustainable
development, justice and democracy. This situation led the Iranian people to launch
a great revolution to change the status quo in 1979.
The United States not
only failed to put pressure on this regime for its inhuman behaviour and human
rights abuses but it also supported it as a Gendarme for the region to control
other small regional states and a military coup was launched against the government
However, peace cannot be equated with stability, because
it connotes and entails more than that. Our world has lost peace at the expense
of stability for sacrificing freedom and justice. Disrespect for the main ingredients
of a sustainable security order has laid the breeding grounds for suspicion, hostility
and ultimately confrontation with colonialism. After the collapse of the Soviet
Union, unilateral security order prevailed. Unilateralism essentially nurtures
militarism. The only superpower has ties the issues of development, democracy
or human rights in other countries to their submission to its unilaterist policy
and adopted a war-like attitude towards countries which tried to guard their independence.
the victory of the Islamic Republic, Iran has seen almost one general election
each year. Do you know of any other state in our region which has been so much
dedicated to democracy as Iran? The US administration's policy was denial, isolation
and sanctions. This policy has resulted in nothing other than further stiffening
the resolve of the Iranian people.
The pursuit of this one-dimensional policy
in other regional states has given rise to opposing movement. Nixon in his book
"Victory without War" states: "In the west we speak of the fundamentalists,
while fundamentalists speaks of the problems of peoples. It is quite natural that
they listen to them."
The policy of monopolization of international
security cannot ensure a sustainable order and peace. Sustainable security requires
mutual understanding and close attention to the main ingredients of security.
understanding is ties to constructive diplomacy and constructive diplomacy requires
a common will and common will entails shared opportunities.
If common paradigms
are created between big powers and regional powers, the sustainability of international
order and peace can be hoped to be sustainable. What common paradigms can be found
in these two areas.
1. Democracy: democracy is a principle which should
underpin any common approach in the future. An order cannot be meaningful and
sustainable without democracy. Sometimes one hears that some regional states lack
cultural and political development for democracy. This is more of an irresponsible
justification than a reality. Because democracy cannot be exported in the form
of a package to a region. Wherever the process of democratisation starts it has
to be experienced and practiced and, of course, not without difficulties. Without
democracy, real order and peace will be impossible.
2. Respect for other
cultures: the view which believes that there should be a single individual and
social lifestyle clearly lacks the intelligence to appreciate the cultural and
sociological significance of other societies. Respect for the cultures, customs
and traditions of other nations are indispensable for peaceful co-existence and
There is security in most of Iraq and only a limited
part of that country is suffering from insecurity. These secure regions have two
characteristics: first they border on Iran. As you know, Iran has one of the longest
common borders with Iraq which amounts to 1350 kms and all the Iraqi provinces
which are close to the Iranian borders enjoy security. Second, the American troops
are not present in those provinces.
3. Iran has played a unique role in
the fight against drug trafficking in the region and has suffered immense human
and material losses. All the efforts have been surprisingly played down or ignored
in Afghanistan. The US continues to regard Iran as part of the axis of evil despite
the role it has played. Iran believes in rationality and constructive interaction
in International Relations but never ignores its independence.
4. Two years
of negotiation and suspension of all nuclear activities resulted in a plan in
which nothing was clear and which Dr ElBaradei and other Europeans said was an
inappropriate plan. During the last year, pressure was imposed on Iran: either
we stopped nuclear activities or we would be referred to the Security Council
and other threats. Even after long negotiations with Mr Solana, Iran's case was
referred to the Security Council.
Iran's nuclear case in a general view:
is related to the past
It is related to the present.
It is related to future
What is related to the past if there are any questions Iran
is committed to answer them, and we sent a letter to the IAEA and announced that
we are ready to work out a modality on the condition that Iran's case returns
to the IAEA. In other words we have commitments in this part.
what is related to the present, not only nuclear activities of Iran are under
the supervision of the IAEA and their inspections are going on, but also Dr ElBaradei
and the Europeans know that the current situation of Iran is continuing with the
supervision of the IAEA and is in the framework of NPT and safeguards.
main concerns of those who talk with me is related to the future. Some of them
frankly said that they could not accept that even Iran reaches to peaceful nuclear
knowledge, because they were concerned about future wrongdoings.
are surprising. These kinds of justification cannot be found in international
laws, that before crimes have been committed, some are already looking for punishment.
But at the same time, in response to the incentive package and also in our negotiations
with Mr Solana we said that we are ready to have all of our nuclear activities
in a consortium so that others can participate in our activities and as a result
we build confidence. Despite the fact that according to the international arrangements
we are not obliged to do so, but to prove our good intention we are ready to do
so. What is wrong with this logic? Does the attitude of the other side not create
suspicion that either we should act like Israel and have the atomic bomb and not
accept NPT, or if we act in the framework of IAEA and NPT they are not going to
consider rights for us?
Repeatedly we announced frankly that in Iran's National
Security Doctrine, there is no room for atomic and chemical weapons and we consider
them against the Islamic laws. The Supreme Leader of Iran in this connection released
a decree that weapons of mass destruction are prohibited religiously. Besides,
we know that Iran's action in this way will trigger an atomic arms race in the
region which as a result will endanger the peace and stability of the region and
the world. Therefore, we support the idea of a Middle East free from weapons of
But the irrational preconditions such as suspension of
uranium enrichment set for the resumption of negotiations are standing practically
as an obstacle in the way of the settlement of this issue. Now, it has been almost
eight months that such preconditions have inhibited the settlement of this issue.
Now the question arises that if three out of these eight months have been spent
on negotiations what possible damages could have occurred? And now that this has
happened, what achievement has been made? An answer to this question, one may
say that a resolution has been issued against Iran and this country has been brought
under pressure. Was the original intention of this process anything other than
finding a solution to this problem? So, one can see that this misguided approach
has not solved the problem and has been originally launched with some other motives.
is a public response by the Iranians on how they see a negotiated solution to
this issue. As you can see, they are insisting that the matter revert to the IAEA
and that there should be no pre-conditions and all matters should be discussed
openly and transparently.
Iran's Response to IAEA Report
Ahmadinejad was quoted by Iran's student news agency ISNA as saying: "Iran
has obtained the technology to produce nuclear fuel and Iran's move is like a
train ... which has no brake and no reverse gear".
the rear gear and brakes of the train and threw them away sometime ago."
Mohammadi, one of the deputies to the foreign minister, was quoted by ISNA as
saying at a conference in the central city of Isfahan: "We have prepared
ourselves for any situation, even for war."
Iranian Envoy to IAEA
envoy to International Atomic Energy Agency Ali-Asghar Soltanieh said on Thursday
that Iran's continued nuclear activity is not a strange issue since it is done
according to a schedule already reported to the UN atomic agency.
IRNA here that all enrichment activities of Iran are viewed by cameras and supervised
by nuclear inspectors.
Soltanieh underlined the fact that only 24 countries
in the world have been known by the agency as not involved in nuclear issue while
majority of them including Vatican do not work in this field. He added that the
industrialized countries in Europe and also US have not been among these countries.
He remarked that the claims about undeclared Iranian nuclear substances
and related activities in no way show lack of Iran's cooperation, because, as
the agency has said, it is a long process which in Japan's case lasted thirty
Soltanieh said El-baradei's report serves as another document which
refutes the claims of those who, with no rhyme or reason, accuse Iran of doing
He said the report asserts that the agency has
verified lack of any diversion of Iranian nuclear activities and that all produced
substances are under the agency's supervision.
Soltanieh also said that
the UN nuclear watchdog chief's report shows that the results of measuring ambient
samples in Natanz conform fully with Iran's related statements and confirms Iran's
reports on less that 5 percent level of uranium enrichment.
to IAEA said that El-Baradei's report precisely echoes Iran's full readiness to
resolve the few remaining issues out of the Security Council and within the agency's
Permanent 5 + Germany
P5 + Germany held a meeting in London on Monday 26 February 2007 to discuss fresh
sanctions against Iran following an IAEA report presented to the Security Council
on Thursday 22 February 2007. Another meeting is scheduled for Thursday 1 March
Nicholas Burns, the US undersecretary of state, said he hoped the
meeting would quickly produce a draft resolution to "see Iran repudiated
again". He said it was too soon to say what provisions the resolution might
Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, said that what Iran
needed was not a reverse gear, but a stop button. She also pledged direct talks
with Iranian officials if Tehran halts its nuclear enrichment programme.
Foreign Ministers meeting in Pakistan
Foreign ministers from seven Muslim
nations meeting in Islamabad have called for a diplomatic answer to concerns over
Iran's nuclear programme.
The joint statement read by Khurshid Kasuri,
Pakistan's foreign minister, said: "The ministers reviewed with deep concern
the dangerous escalation of tension especially over the Iranian nuclear issue."
said: "It is vital that all issues be resolved through diplomacy and there
must be no resort to use of force."
Secretary General Amr Moussa Saturday reiterated the Arab stand on Iran's nuclear
issue, calling for continuous dialogue instead of military action or legal procedures
that could lead to the deterioration of the situation in the region.
said the door to dialogue was still open regarding Iran's disputed nuclear issue,
regardless of some calls for tougher sanctions against Iran for defying a UN Security
Council resolution, which demanded a stop to Tehran's uranium enrichment,
Iranian nuclear issue will be discussed at a meeting of the Arab League Council
at the level of foreign ministers on March 3, according to Moussa.
Angel Moratinos, Spain's foreign minister, has called for continuation of diplomatic
efforts to solve Iran's nuclear issue and said that the EU would push for dialogue.
He called for employment of all the required potentials to opt for a diplomatic
solution to the problem to avoid unwanted situations which might lead to confrontation
or rising tension between Iran and the international community.
Russia has questioned the usefulness of additional sanctions. Vitaly
Churkin, Moscow's UN ambassador, said the goal is to reach a political solution,
not impose sanctions. Churkin said: "We should not lose sight of the goal
and the goal is not to have a resolution or to impose sanctions. The goal is to
accomplish a political outcome of this problem."
Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, said 'It is clear from Dr El Baradei's report
that Iran has not complied with Security Council Resolution 1737 and has failed
to suspend its enrichment related and reprocessing activities, as required by
both the IAEA Board of Governors and Security Council.
'We remain committed
to a negotiated solution on the basis of the far reaching proposals we made last
June, which would give Iran everything it needs to develop a modern civil nuclear
power industry and provide a basis for wider co-operation.
'Iran has so
far failed to take this positive path and comply with Security Council requirements.
As envisaged in Resolution 1737, we will therefore work for the adoption of further
Security Council measures, which will lead to the further isolation of Iran internationally.
We will now be consulting closely with our European, Chinese, Russian and US partners
and other Security Council members on next steps. We remain determined to prevent
Iran acquiring the means to develop nuclear weapons.'
The situation in the
region is very tense and many observers are talking of the possibility of a military
strike against Iran. The USA has launched the largest military buildup in the
Persian Gulf since 2003. Three carriers and frigates, as well as US marines are
now on standby off the coast.
An article in the New Yorker magazine (25/02/07),
by Seymour Hersh describes a special planning group at the highest levels of the
US military had expanded its mission from selecting potential targets connected
to Iranian nuclear facilities, and had been directed to add sites that may be
involved in aiding Shia militant forces in Iraq to its list.
the tough new approach towards Tehran outlined by Hersh include:
operations against Iran and Syria, as well as the Hizbullah movement in Lebanon
- even to the extent of bolstering Sunni extremist groups that are sympathetic
- Sending US special forces into Iranian territory in pursuit
of Iranian operatives, as well as to gather intelligence
- Secret operations
are being funded by Saudi Arabia to avoid scrutiny by congress. "There are
many, many pots of black money, scattered in many places and used all over the
world on a variety of missions, "Hersh quotes a Pentagon consultant as saying
assertion that the Bush administration was actively preparing for an attack on
Iran was denied by the Pentagon. "The United States is not planning to go
to war with Iran. To suggest anything to the contrary is simply wrong, misleading
and mischievous, "the Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, told reporters.
US has no intention of attacking Iran, secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said
in a television interview broadcast on 22/02/07.
"Let me just say here
publicly, the US has no desire for confrontation with Iran, None," Rice told
In the interview Rice also reiterated her offer to talk to Iran "any
time, any place" if Tehran first halts its uranium enrichment programme.
plan for Iran attack - Blair
British Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted
Thursday there was "no planning" under way for an attack on Iran, while
defending his record on Iraq.
"You can't absolutely predict every set
of circumstances that comes about but sitting here now talking to you, I can tell
you Iran is not Iraq,"
"There is, as far as I know, no planning
going on to make an attack on Iran and people are pursuing a diplomatic and political
"But I personally think that you will never have a
situation where you simply say there are no set of circumstances in which you
could ever conceive of anything."
Nations study has found that growing numbers of people in the Gaza and the West
Bank are "food insecure" and becoming dependent on food aid.
has risen since the international community cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority
after Hamas won parliamentary elections last year, the new report from the World
Food Programme said.
The weakening of the Palestinian economy has also made
previously secure workers - such as fisherman, farmers, and small traders - increasingly
desperate, a UN press release publicizing the report said.
46% of Palestinians
are now food insecure or vulnerable.
In 2004, 35% of Palestinians were food
"Many people, who cannot afford to buy food, have been forced
to sell off valuable assets such as land or tools," the report said.
UN agency, UNRWA, handles food distribution for refugees.
the WFP country director said, "The poorest families are now living a meager
existence totally reliant on assistance, with no electricity or heating and eating
food is prepared with water from bad sources.:
"This is putting their
long-term health at risk."
Campbell called the increased humanitarian
assistance a "Band-Aid" solution that did not offer a permanent solution
to the economic problems of the Palestinians.
Shaukat Aziz, Pakistan's prime
minister, said peace in the Middle East depended on a fair solution to the Palestinian
problem and urged a united stand against radicalism: "Durable peace in the
Middle East demands an honourable solution of Palestine based on justice, equity
and realism in line with the wishes of the Palestinian people," and a Palestinian
unity government would help progress towards a sovereign and viable Palestinian
On 22 February 2007 in Jeddah, The secretary-general of the 57-member
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu,
yesterday expressed his anguish and dismay at the world's silence on Israel's
blatant moves to Judaize Jerusalem and change the holy city's historic character.
The OIC was formally established in September 1969 after the burning of the Al-Aqsa
"When the Buddhist statues were being demolished in Bamiyan, the
whole world rose up against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan," he said in
an exclusive interview with Arab News. "UNESCO (United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization) was very active then, but not a word is
being said against what Israel is doing to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Nobody utters a
word against the Israeli aggression. Nobody is really taking any action. There
is silence all over."
Comments by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
an interview in Germany on Wednesday 21 February 2007 on fringes of Quartet meeting,
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said, "Peace and security in the Middle
East has been long standing and unresolved. This has great, very serious and important
implications for world peace and security, not only the situation in the Middle
East. We were encouraged by the recent diplomatic initiatives including the most
recent Mecca deal, as well as the trilateral meeting among the United States,
Palestinian Authority and Israel, though this process may be very sensitive and
may be very difficult because of the very complex nature of the situation. However
at this time, it would be crucially important for the international community
to encourage this Mecca deal and this ongoing diplomatic initiative in the Middle
East. I know that this will be again a very difficult process but, this time,
what we need to do is to encourage the parties concerned, and participants should
try to encourage and try to make the sort of framework to support such kind of
MIDDLE EAST QUARTET STATEMENT FOLLOWING 21 FEBRUARY
The following statement by the Middle East Quartet (United
Nations, Russian Federation, United States, European Union) was issued 21 February,
following its meeting in Berlin:
The Quartet principals -- Russian Foreign
Minister Sergey Lavrov, United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, United
Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Representative for European Foreign
and Security Policy Javier Solana, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
and European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner -- met
today in Berlin to discuss the situation in the Middle East.
reported on her recent 18 February meetings with Prime Minister Olmert and President
Abbas, the 19 February trilateral and United States efforts to facilitate discussions
between the parties. The Quartet welcomed these efforts and expressed the hope
that the result-oriented dialogue initiated between Israeli and Palestinian leaders
will continue in the framework of a renewed political process, with the aim of
defining more clearly the political horizon and launching meaningful negotiations.
The Quartet reaffirmed its determination to promote such a process, in cooperation
with the parties and other regional partners. The Quartet urged the parties to
refrain from measures that prejudge issues to be resolved in negotiations.
Quartet reaffirmed its statements regarding its support for a Palestinian Government
committed to non-violence, recognition of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements
and obligations, including the Road Map, and encouraged progress in this direction.
Quartet discussed efforts under way for a Palestinian national unity Government,
pursuant to the agreement reached in Mecca on 8 February. The Quartet expressed
its appreciation for the role of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and the cessation
of violence among Palestinians.
The Quartet concluded with a discussion
of possible further steps by the international community in the context of a just,
lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
It welcomed preliminary
ideas put forward by the European Commission to meet the needs to better coordinate
and mobilize international assistance in support of the political process and
to meet the needs of the Palestinian people.
The Quartet reaffirmed its
commitment to meet regularly and asked envoys to monitor developments and actions
taken by the parties and to discuss the way ahead. It was agreed to schedule a
meeting in the region soon.
Following are excerpts from Prime Minister
Olmert's remarks on Monday 19 February 2007 at the Knesset:
it clear, as simply and as plainly as possible - it being completely evident that
our demand, like that of the international community and the US, is that a Palestinian
government that accepts the Quartet principles thereby recognizes all of the agreements
that have been signed between the State of Israel and the PA, and will carry them
This does not mean recognition via some sort of empty statement,
but carrying out all of these agreements, recognizing the right of the State of
Israel to exist as a Jewish state and, of course, an absolute halt to terrorism
in all its expressions - Qassam fire and attempts to perpetrate other attacks.
Moreover, it is clear that all other commitments - including that to release Gilad
Shalit immediately - must be upheld.
I also added that we will not recognize
any government that does not honour these commitments. Neither will we cooperate
with it or its ministers. We decided, I decided, that in any case, but I also
said so to the Cabinet and I think it reflects the views of all ministers that
we must continue to keep a communications channel with the Palestinians.
Minister Haniyeh on 19 February 2007, stressed that he stood by President Mahmoud
Abbas in support of the Mecca Accord and for dealing with external pressures.
Haniyeh said "we stand by President Abbas to safeguard the Agreement and
deal with international pressures that seek to maintain the state of tension in
the Palestinian arena."
The member of Fatah's Revolutionary Council
and member of the PLC Mohammad Dahlan said that the Palestinian Authority would
not allow Israel to impose its inconvenient logic on President Abbas and the Palestinian
people. Dahlan indicated that they have reached to internal understandings that
were crowned by the Mecca Accord and extensive efforts have been exerted to restore
unity. We will not allow Israel to impose its inconvenient logic on Palestinians.
Dahlan indicated that Olmert demanded that Hamas be excluded from the Cabinet,
adding: "But this time we told them we will not go by what you say."
To this demand, President Abbas said: "I respect your position but I do not
agree with you
We have our own agenda on restoring the Palestinian conformity."
spokesman of the interim government stressed that the national unity government,
over which negotiations for its formation are underway, has the readiness to start
negotiations with the US Administration. Hamad said that the United States is
asked to change its overall positions and deal positively with the national unity
government, and the unity government is ready to talk to the US Administration.
Hamad added that the position of the US had not changed and if the US insisted
on adopting the same policy with the same mistakes, then it means an opposition
to the entire Palestinian people, given the Mecca Agreement forged between Fatah
and Hamas on the formation of a unity government. Hamad clarified that the Mecca
Accord is a broad and flexible Agreement with a clear policy that provides ample
space for political action.
Hamas on Thursday 22 February 2007 said the
United States was trying to undermine European efforts to ease an economic blockade
of a new Palestinian unity government.
"It (the United States) aims
to undermine the European and Russian efforts in order to continue the siege imposed
on our people," said Palestinian Information Minister Youssef Rizqa of Hamas.
Secretary of State announced the likelihood of Washington withholding an aid of
$86 million that has been allocated for training and equipment of the Palestinian
presidency's security forces if the new government was not to comply with the
According to a BBC report on Thursday 22 February
2007, it seems clear to most observers outside the Israeli government and sections
of the Bush Administration in Washington that Hamas is moving towards the Quartet
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said it was crucially important
to encourage the Mecca Agreement.
The Russians feel something similar. Recognition
of a Palestinian government is crucial because it would allow the money tap to
Israel believes that if Hamas will not do as it is told, it
should stay isolated - and noises are coming from the Israeli government suggesting
that the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ought to be isolated too if he chooses,
in their view, to sell out by joining Hamas.
Austria's Foreign Minister:
"I think it is important that Europe is visible and is active in the Middle
East peace process in order to promote a political process and it is therefore
important that the German President has so firmly committed to creating a process
with Quartet. This is the second meeting of the Quartet already within a few weeks
and there is a plan for involving the regional partners in the Middle East more
closely. There is the plan for holding quite soon a meeting in the region. And
I think this is an important element to develop a joint choreography. The momentum
has to come from the Israeli Palestinian situation, but partners in the region
and the international community have to act simultaneously to pick up necessary
elements for a political process."
A Shia militia
leader, Moqtada al-Sadr, has criticised the continuation of car bombs in Iraq
and withdrew his support for a security crackdown in Baghdad.
by al-Sadr, is a blow for Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, who had expressed
optimism about the US-backed offensive. Until now, al-Sadr has supported the plan,
seen as a last ditch attempt to halt all-out civil war in Iraq.
said the crackdown would not work because US forces were involved: "There
is no benefit in this security plan because it is controlled by the occupied."
"(The United States) is watching car bombs explode, taking the souls
of thousands of innocent Iraqi people."
Rice, the secretary of state, urged the Democratic-controlled US Congress not
to interfere in the conduct of the Iraq war and suggested president George Bush
would defy troop withdrawal legislation.
But Senator Carl Levin, Democratic
chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said legislators would step up
efforts to force Bush to change course. "The president needs a check and
a balance," said Levin.
Rice said on Sunday that proposals being drafted
by Senate Democrats to limit the war amounted to "the worst of micromanagement
of military affairs."
She said military leaders such as General David
Petraeus, the new US commander in Iraq, believe Bush's plan to send more troops
is necessary. "I can't imagine a circumstance in which it's a good thing
that their flexibility is constrained by people sitting here in Washington, sitting
in the Congress."
Visit by Deputy Minister Pahad to the Gulf and
I will leave with my delegation on Saturday 3 March 2007 to the
Emirates, Qatar and Iran for the IOR-ARC meeting.
I believe that this visit
to the region will provide an opportunity to get a sense of what the major regional
players are thinking and get a sense of what developments have occurred after
the meeting of the P5+Germany and indeed to get a sense of the what the position
of the Quartet is following what the Europeans are saying.
Question Deputy Minister you mentioned that the summons
issued by the ICC will add a new dimension to the conflict in Sudan. Does the
South African government support this development?
Africa is a signatory to all the conventions of the ICC and we therefore support
all processes related to the ICC. Once the ICC has declared the processes they
will be implemented
These two people have been named and perhaps others
will be named as well. Extradition will then be sought.
This is not matter
of whether we support this development or not. We are part of the processes of
Question Deputy Minister regarding Iran - what is South Africa's
view of further sanctions on Iran?
Answer We have consistently
said that we support a world free of weapons of mass destruction so we will continue
to fight against countries who already have nuclear weapons as well as against
countries who are trying to manufacture such programmes.
It has been our
view, one that has been echoed by the ElBaradei report that there is presently
no conclusive proof that Iran has a nuclear weapons programme.
clarification is sought from Iran regarding its past activities. We have been
urging the government of Iran to comply with such requests and conclude the outstanding
matters with the IAEA authorities.
It is clear from what Mr Larijani has
said that if the matter goes back to the IAEA, they would be willing to conclude
all outstanding matters.
I want to believe that as has been said on many
occasions there is no one saying that Iran has embarked on a programme to develop
weapons of mass destruction. What is being said is that there is no trust towards
Iran seeing that they have given assurances in the past and gone back on their
We must encourage confidence building mechanisms.
we get a sense of how the P5 will proceed, we are out of the loop on the matter
however, we do know that China and Russia are opposed to sanctions.
Deputy Minister what will South Africa's position towards Iran be when you
are President of the Security Council?
Answer South Africa will
assume the Presidency of the Security Council on 1 March 2007. We cannot however
comment much on the what is happening on this matter seeing that the P5 and Germany
are having discussions behind closed doors. Until we have been briefed of the
outcomes of these discussions, we will be unable to make much comment.
We will however urge the Iranians to comply with the request from the IAEA for
full compliance. We will insist on a political solution.
Minister your visit to the Gulf region and Iran - can this be seen as a solidarity
Answer No this is not a solidarity visit - Iran is hosting
a meeting of the members of the Indian Ocean Rim. I will also be visiting the
Emirates and Qatar.
President Mbeki will in March pay a visit to Saudi
Arabia and I will later in the year pay another visit to Iran where I will co-chair
our annual bilateral consultations. I will at this time also visit other countries
of the region.
As I have mentioned in one of my other briefings - the Baker-Hamilton
report has said very clearly that the Middle East conflict can only be resolved
if we deal with the matter of Palestine and Israel. In this regard, Iran and Syria
are key to the solution. We would want to get a better sense of what the thinking
on these matters are in the region.
Question Deputy Minister will South
Africa, in principle, oppose sanctions against Iran?
cannot deal with imaginary issues - we must note the context of this matter. We
must consider the proposed resolution. I do however reiterate that the body that
is best placed to deal with this matter is the IAEA.
Issued by Department
of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152