Notes following Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, Imbizo Media Centre, 120 Plein Street, Cape Town, Tuesday 27 March 2007

ZIMBABWE

President Thabo Mbeki, supported by Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad, will attend meetings convened by the Chairman of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania on Wednesday - Thursday 28-29 March 2007.

The Chairman has convened the following meetings:

  • Wednesday 28 March 2007 Meeting of the Double Troika
    SADC Troika (Lesotho, Zambia, Botswana)
    Troika of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation (Namibia, Angola, Tanzania)
    South Africa has been invited to attend this meeting
  • Thursday 29 March 2007 SADC Summit

We have not been given a final agenda except to be told that the meetings will deal with developing situation in the region.

As you are aware, Parliament will tomorrow Wednesday 28 March 2007 hold a snap debate on the situation in Zimbabwe. I believe this will an opportunity for all parties to express their considered views on developments in Zimbabwe. I hope that the DA Foreign Affairs spokesperson Douglas Gibson would stop grandstanding and reference to "pussy footing" and calling on the SA government to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.

It should now be clear that those who have imposed "smart sanctions" on Zimbabwe have been questioning the impact of these sanctions. The EU has categorically stated that they have no economic sanctions against Zimbabwe with no intention to impose any.

However, more significantly, no Zimbabwean political party, nor the churches who are playing a major role or any other civil society group, have called for economic sanctions to be imposed

Indeed, Zimbabwe has a trade surplus with the United Kingdom and the UK is one of the three largest donor countries to Zimbabwe and I do hope that the spokesperson of the DA, Mr Gibson will get his facts right so he can use tomorrow's debate to come up with some concrete and intelligent proposals that can assist us better to deal with the situation in Zimbabwe.

MINISTER DLAMINI ZUMA'S VISIT TO NEW YORK

South African Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on Monday 26 March 2007 departed for New York, United States of America, where she will address the United Nations Security Council on the relationship between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union's Peace and Security Council in conflict resolution on Wednesday 28 March 2007.

As you are aware the mandate of the Security Council is to deal with regional and international peace and security. For many years African conflicts have been high on the UNSC agenda and Africa has increasingly participated in peace-keeping operations.

The nature of the conflicts has on many occasions necessitated the AU to act independently, while the long bureaucratic UN processes were being undertaken. It has become increasingly clear that the UN processes must be streamlined to act timeously to deal with conflict situations and these process have to take cognisance of the increasing role of regional organisations in conflict resolution initiatives.

This is why during South Africa's Presidency of the UNSC in March, we proposed that the thematic theme should be "The relationship between the UNSC and regional organisations, ideally, the AU Peace and Security Council, in the maintenance of International Peace and Security.

We believe this will be a very important thematic discussion that will enable us to add to the growing debate within the United Nations structures to see how the UN can transform itself to become more responsive to the challenges we face on the issue of conflict resolution.

NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION

IRAN

The United Nations Security Council on Saturday 24 March 2007 voted unanimously in favour of Resolution 1747 against Iran.

Resolution 1747 (2007)

Adopted by the Security Council at its 5647th meeting on

24 March 2007

The Security Council,

Recalling the Statement of its President, S/PRST/2006/15, of 29 March 2006, and its resolution 1696 (2006) of 31 July 2006, and its resolution 1737 (2006) of 23 December 2006, and reaffirming their provisions,

Reaffirming its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the need for all States Party to that Treaty to comply fully with all their obligations, and recalling the right of States Party, in conformity with Articles I and II of that Treaty, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination,

Recalling its serious concern over the reports of the IAEA Director General as set out in its resolutions 1696 (2006) and 1737 (2006),

Recalling the latest report by the IAEA Director General (GOV/2007/8) of 22 February 2007 and deploring that, as indicated therein, Iran has failed to comply with resolution 1696 (2006) and resolution 1737 (2006),

Emphasizing the importance of political and diplomatic efforts to find a negotiated solution guaranteeing that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes, and noting that such a solution would benefit nuclear non-proliferation elsewhere, and welcoming the continuing commitment of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the support of the European Union's High Representative to seek a negotiated solution,

Recalling the resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors (GOV/2006/14), which states that a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue would contribute to global non-proliferation efforts and to realizing the objective of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, including their means of delivery,

Determined to give effect to its decisions by adopting appropriate measures to persuade Iran to comply with resolution 1696 (2006) and resolution 1737 (2006) and with the requirements of the IAEA, and also to constrain Iran's development of sensitive technologies in support of its nuclear and missile programmes, until such time as the Security Council determines that the objectives of these resolutions have been met,

Recalling the requirement on States to join in affording mutual assistance in carrying out the measures decided upon by the Security Council,

Concerned by the proliferation risks presented by the Iranian nuclear programme and, in this context, by Iran's continuing failure to meet the requirements of the IAEA Board of Governors and to comply with the provisions of Security Council resolutions 1696 (2006) and 1737 (2006), mindful of its primary responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security,

Acting under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

1. Reaffirms that Iran shall without further delay take the steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors in its resolution GOV/2006/14, which are essential to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful purpose of its nuclear programme and to resolve outstanding questions, and, in this context, affirms its decision that Iran shall without further delay take the steps required in paragraph 2 of resolution 1737 (2006);

2. Calls upon all States also to exercise vigilance and restraint regarding the entry into or transit through their territories of individuals who are engaged in, directly associated with or providing support for Iran's proliferation sensitive nuclear activities or for the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems, and decides in this regard that all States shall notify the Committee established pursuant to paragraph 18 of resolution 1737 (2006) (herein "the Committee") of the entry into or transit through their territories of the persons designated in the Annex to resolution 1737 (2006) or Annex I to this resolution, as well as of additional persons designated by the Security Council or the Committee as being engaged in, directly associated with or providing support for Iran's proliferation sensitive nuclear activities or for the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems, including through the involvement in procurement of the prohibited items, goods, equipment, materials and technology specified by and under the measures in paragraphs 3 and 4 of resolution 1737 (2006), except where such travel is for activities directly related to the items in subparagraphs 3 (b) (i) and (ii) of that resolution;

3. Underlines that nothing in the above paragraph requires a State to refuse its own nationals entry into its territory, and that all States shall, in the implementation of the above paragraph, take into account humanitarian considerations, including religious obligations, as well as the necessity to meet the objectives of this resolution and resolution 1737 (2006), including where Article XV of the IAEA Statute is engaged;

4. Decides that the measures specified in paragraphs 12, 13, 14 and 15 of resolution 1737 (2006) shall apply also to the persons and entities listed in Annex I to this resolution;

5. Decides that Iran shall not supply, sell or transfer directly or indirectly from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft any arms or related materiel, and that all States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in the territory of Iran;

6. Calls upon all States to exercise vigilance and restraint in the supply, sale or transfer directly or indirectly from their territories or by their nationals or using their flag vessels or aircraft of any battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems as defined for the purpose of the United Nations Register on Conventional Arms to Iran, and in the provision to Iran of any technical assistance or training, financial assistance, investment, brokering or other services, and the transfer of financial resources or services, related to the supply, sale, transfer, manufacture or use of such items in order to prevent a destabilizing accumulation of arms;

7. Calls upon all States and international financial institutions not to enter into new commitments for grants, financial assistance, and concessional loans, to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, except for humanitarian and developmental purposes;

8. Calls upon all States to report to the Committee within 60 days of the adoption of this resolution on the steps they have taken with a view to implementing effectively paragraphs 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 above;

9. Expresses the conviction that the suspension set out in paragraph 2 of resolution 1737 (2006) as well as full, verified Iranian compliance with the requirements set out by the IAEA Board of Governors would contribute to a diplomatic, negotiated solution that guarantees Iran's nuclear programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes, underlines the willingness of the international community to work positively for such a solution, encourages Iran, in conforming to the above provisions, to re-engage with the international community and with the IAEA, and stresses that such engagement will be beneficial to Iran;

10. Welcomes the continuous affirmation of the commitment of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the support of the European Union's High Representative, to a negotiated solution to this issue and encourages Iran to engage with their June 2006 proposals (S/2006/521), attached in Annex II to this resolution, which were endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 1696 (2006), and acknowledges with appreciation that this offer to Iran remains on the table, for a long-term comprehensive agreement which would allow for the development of relations and cooperation with Iran based on mutual respect and the establishment of international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme;

11. Reiterates its determination to reinforce the authority of the IAEA, strongly supports the role of the IAEA Board of Governors, commends and encourages the Director General of the IAEA and its secretariat for their ongoing professional and impartial efforts to resolve all outstanding issues in Iran within the framework of the IAEA, underlines the necessity of the IAEA, which is internationally recognized as having authority for verifying compliance with safeguards agreements, including the non-diversion of nuclear material for non-peaceful purposes, in accordance with its Statute, to continue its work to clarify all outstanding issues relating to Iran's nuclear programme;

12. Requests within 60 days a further report from the Director General of the IAEA on whether Iran has established full and sustained suspension of all activities mentioned in resolution 1737 (2006), as well as on the process of Iranian compliance with all the steps required by the IAEA Board and with the other provisions of resolution 1737 (2006) and of this resolution, to the IAEA Board of Governors and in parallel to the Security Council for its consideration;

13. Affirms that it shall review Iran's actions in light of the report referred to in paragraph 12 above, to be submitted within 60 days, and:

(a) that it shall suspend the implementation of measures if and for so long as Iran suspends all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, as verified by the IAEA, to allow for negotiations in good faith in order to reach an early and mutually acceptable outcome;

(b) that it shall terminate the measures specified in paragraphs 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 12 of resolution 1737 (2006) as well as in paragraphs 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 above as soon as it determines, following receipt of the report referred to in paragraph 12 above, that Iran has fully complied with its obligations under the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and met the requirements of the IAEA Board of Governors, as confirmed by the IAEA Board;

(c) that it shall, in the event that the report in paragraph 12 above shows that Iran has not complied with resolution 1737 (2006) and this resolution, adopt further appropriate measures under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations to persuade Iran to comply with these resolutions and the requirements of the IAEA, and underlines that further decisions will be required should such additional measures be necessary;

14. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

Annex I

Entities involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities

1. Ammunition and Metallurgy Industries Group (AMIG) (aka Ammunition Industries Group) (AMIG controls 7th of Tir, which is designated under resolution 1737 (2006) for its role in Iran's centrifuge programme. AMIG is in turn owned and controlled by the Defence Industries Organisation (DIO), which is designated under resolution 1737 (2006))

2. Esfahan Nuclear Fuel Research and Production Centre (NFRPC) and Esfahan Nuclear Technology Centre (ENTC) (Parts of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran's (AEOI) Nuclear Fuel Production and Procurement Company, which is involved in enrichment-related activities. AEOI is designated under resolution 1737 (2006))

3. Kavoshyar Company (Subsidiary company of AEOI, which has sought glass fibres, vacuum chamber furnaces and laboratory equipment for Iran's nuclear programme)

4. Parchin Chemical Industries (Branch of DIO, which produces ammunition, explosives, as well as solid propellants for rockets and missiles)

5. Karaj Nuclear Research Centre (Part of AEOI's research division)

6. Novin Energy Company (aka Pars Novin) (Operates within AEOI and has transferred funds on behalf of AEOI to entities associated with Iran's nuclear programme)

7. Cruise Missile Industry Group (aka Naval Defence Missile Industry Group) (Production and development of cruise missiles. Responsible for naval missiles including cruise missiles)

8. Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International (Bank Sepah provides support for the Aerospace Industries Organisation (AIO) and subordinates, including Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG) and Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group (SBIG), both of which were designated under resolution 1737 (2006))

9. Sanam Industrial Group (subordinate to AIO, which has purchased equipment on AIO's behalf for the missile programme)

10. Ya Mahdi Industries Group (subordinate to AIO, which is involved in international purchases of missile equipment)

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps entities

1. Qods Aeronautics Industries (Produces unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), parachutes, para-gliders, para-motors, etc. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has boasted of using these products as part of its asymmetric warfare doctrine)

2. Pars Aviation Services Company (Maintains various aircraft including MI-171, used by IRGC Air Force)

3. Sho'a' Aviation (Produces micro-lights which IRGC has claimed it is using as part of its asymmetric warfare doctrine)

Persons involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities

1. Fereidoun Abbasi-Davani (Senior Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) scientist with links to the Institute of Applied Physics, working closely with Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, designated below)

2. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi (Senior MODAFL scientist and former head of the Physics Research Centre (PHRC). The IAEA have asked to interview him about the activities of the PHRC over the period he was head but Iran has refused)

3. Seyed Jaber Safdari (Manager of the Natanz Enrichment Facilities)

4. Amir Rahimi (Head of Esfahan Nuclear Fuel Research and Production Center, which is part of the AEOI's Nuclear Fuel Production and Procurement Company, which is involved in enrichment-related activities)

5. Mohsen Hojati (Head of Fajr Industrial Group, which is designated under resolution 1737 (2006) for its role in the ballistic missile programme)

6. Mehrdada Akhlaghi Ketabachi (Head of SBIG, which is designated under resolution 1737 (2006) for its role in the ballistic missile programme)

7. Naser Maleki (Head of SHIG, which is designated under resolution 1737 (2006) for its role in Iran's ballistic missile programme. Naser Maleki is also a MODAFL official overseeing work on the Shahab-3 ballistic missile programme. The Shahab-3 is Iran's long range ballistic missile currently in service)

8. Ahmad Derakhshandeh (Chairman and Managing Director of Bank Sepah, which provides support for the AIO and subordinates, including SHIG and SBIG, both of which were designated under resolution 1737 (2006))

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps key persons

1. Brigadier General Morteza Rezaie (Deputy Commander of IRGC)

2. Vice Admiral Ali Akbar Ahmadian (Chief of IRGC Joint Staff)

3. Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi (Commander of IRGC Ground Forces)

4. Rear Admiral Morteza Safari (Commander of IRGC Navy)

5. Brigadier General Mohammad Hejazi (Commander of Bassij resistance force)

6. Brigadier General Qasem Soleimani (Commander of Qods force)

7. General Zolqadr (IRGC officer, Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs)

Annex II

Elements of a long-term agreement

Our goal is to develop relations and cooperation with Iran, based on mutual respect and the establishment of international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the nuclear programme of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We propose a fresh start in the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement with Iran. Such an agreement would be deposited with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and endorsed in a Security Council resolution.

To create the right conditions for negotiations,

We will:

  • Reaffirm Iran's right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in conformity with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (hereinafter, NPT), and in this context reaffirm our support for the development by Iran of a civil nuclear energy programme.

  • Commit to support actively the building of new light water reactors in Iran through international joint projects, in accordance with the IAEA statute and NPT.

  • Agree to suspend discussion of Iran's nuclear programme in the Security Council upon the resumption of negotiations.

Iran will:

  • Commit to addressing all of the outstanding concerns of IAEA through full cooperation with IAEA.
  • Suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities to be verified by IAEA, as requested by the IAEA Board of Governors and the Security Council, and commit to continue this during these negotiations.
  • Resume the implementation of the Additional Protocol.

Areas of future cooperation to be covered in negotiations on a long-term agreement

1. Nuclear

We will take the following steps:

Iran's rights to nuclear energy

  • Reaffirm Iran's inalienable right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of NPT, and cooperate with Iran in the development by Iran of a civil nuclear power programme.
  • Negotiate and implement a Euratom/Iran nuclear cooperation agreement.

Light water reactors

  • Actively support the building of new light water power reactors in Iran through international joint projects, in accordance with the IAEA statute and NPT, using state-of-the-art technology, including by authorizing the transfer of necessary goods and the provision of advanced technology to make its power reactors safe against earthquakes.
  • Provide cooperation with the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste through appropriate arrangements.

Research and development in nuclear energy

  • Provide a substantive package of research and development cooperation, including possible provision of light water research reactors, notably in the fields of radioisotope production, basic research and nuclear applications in medicine and agriculture.

Fuel guarantees

  • Give legally binding, multilayered fuel assurances to Iran, based on:

    • Participation as a partner in an international facility in Russia to provide enrichment services for a reliable supply of fuel to Iran's nuclear reactors. Subject to negotiations, such a facility could enrich all uranium hexaflouride (UF6) produced in Iran.
    • Establishment on commercial terms of a buffer stock to hold a reserve of up to five years' supply of nuclear fuel dedicated to Iran, with the participation and under supervision of IAEA.
    • Development with IAEA of a standing multilateral mechanism for reliable access to nuclear fuel, based on ideas to be considered at the next meeting of the Board of Governors.

Review of moratorium

The long-term agreement would, with regard to common efforts to build international confidence, contain a clause for review of the agreement in all its aspects, to follow:

  • Confirmation by IAEA that all outstanding issues and concerns reported by it, including those activities which could have a military nuclear dimension, have been resolved;
  • Confirmation that there are no undeclared nuclear activities or materials in Iran and that international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's civil nuclear programme has been restored.

2. Political and economic

Regional security cooperation

Support for a new conference to promote dialogue and cooperation on regional security issues.

International trade and investment

Improving Iran's access to the international economy, markets and capital, through practical support for full integration into international structures, including the World Trade Organization and to create the framework for increased direct investment in Iran and trade with Iran (including a trade and economic cooperation agreement with the European Union). Steps would be taken to improve access to key goods and technology.

Civil aviation

Civil aviation cooperation, including the possible removal of restrictions on United States and European manufacturers in regard to the export of civil aircraft to Iran, thereby widening the prospect of Iran renewing its fleet of civil airliners.

Energy partnership

Establishment of a long-term energy partnership between Iran and the European Union and other willing partners, with concrete and practical applications.

Telecommunications infrastructure

Support for the modernization of Iran's telecommunication infrastructure and advanced Internet provision, including by possible removal of relevant United States and other export restrictions.

High technology cooperation

Cooperation in fields of high technology and other areas to be agreed upon.

Agriculture

Support for agricultural development in Iran, including possible access to United States and European agricultural products, technology and farm equipment.

of South African government

Let me again say, when South Africa as a non-permanent member of the Security Council received a copy of the resolution drafted by the P5+Germany, we, like many other countries proposed some amendments while arguing that we required explanations regarding the conclusions arrived at by the P5+Germany.

We did this within the context of believing that Iran's right, like South Africa's, to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes cannot be challenged, but because of the past experiences, there is an area of distrust so there are two fundamental issues that must be tackled:

1. Iran's right to have nuclear energy for peaceful purposes; and

2. the international community's concern that international safeguards must be put in place before they can be convinced that there is no intention, despite what is being said by the Iranians, to diversify its programme from a peaceful programme to a weapons programme.

It is in this context that we have called on the Iranians, within the IAEA, the Security Council and bilaterally to conclude their negotiations with the IAEA so that the IAEA can conclude that Iran has no intentions of diversifying its programme. We believe this is fundamental to dealing with the mistrust between Iran and many members of the international community.

The South African government and others proposed amendments to the resolution crafted by the P5+Germany after secret negotiations. The reaction of the South African media was inexplicably hostile. The media suggested we were trying to be difficult and trying to scupper the resolution.

We cannot understand why, South Africa, as a member of the Security Council, when given a draft document we had not previously seen, do not have the right to propose amendments and seek explanations. We will never allow ourselves to becoming rubber stamps within the UN or any other multilateral grouping.

We made our views known through negotiations and based on this we voted in support of the resolution on Saturday 24 March 2007. Following our consultations with NAM and other non-permanent members of the Security Council we voted in the best interests of finding a solution and not further escalating a very dangerous situation. I hope that people are convinced that the threat of another arena of conflict in the region is becoming a very real possibility and this will threaten international peace and security. We made it clear that when we proposed our amendments and began negotiations, we did not do so with positions cast in stone. We were prepared to adjust and compromise our positions based on the negotiations and discussions.

I must emphasize that we had not seen the draft resolution. The South African government will not merely accept a document without discussions and explanations and if necessary submit amendments.

We would not be worthy of membership of any multilateral grouping if it has to be that we must simply accept any document that is put before us.

As members of the IAEA we have always insisted that the IAEA with the correct scientific expertise is the body best placed to deal with nuclear non-proliferation issues. The IAEA remains seized with the matter and the matter must be resolved in the IAEA.

It is in this context that South Africa's permanent representative to the UN supported the resolution.

You will see his statement is in line with many of our positions already articulated.

I do hope that you will now have a better understanding of the positions of the South African government. Many of the suggested amendments of the South African government and others were accepted. Not all were accepted but we do believe that that few days of negotiations enabled us to make our positions known and on that basis come to a collective outcome.

STATEMENT IN EXPLANATION OF THE VOTE BY AMBASSADOR DUMISANI KUMALO OF SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa will vote for the resolution before the Security Council today. This resolution, although far from ideal, is a consequence of concern about the need to build international confidence in Iran's nuclear programme.

South Africa approached this resolution on its merits and with a perspective of a country that is not a party to any dispute or conflict.

The Council is well aware that South Africa is fully committed to the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, and is therefore a strong advocate against both the horizontal and vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons. Inevitably, we are against the development of nuclear weapons by Iran, or any other country. Our position is informed by our own national experience as the only country to have voluntarily dismantled its nuclear weapons and related programmes.

In this regard South Africa acts on the basis of principle and in full support of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), where it is active as a Member of its Board of Governors and works consistently to promote consensus.

Whilst South Africa recognises that Security Council may be called upon to impose coercive measures such as sanctions, we believe these measures should be utilised with great caution, and only to support the resumption of political dialogue and negotiations to achieve a peaceful solution.

South Africa's interventions in the Security Council have therefore focused on trying to de-escalate tensions, promote dialogue to establish confidence in the nuclear programme of Iran, ensure that the IAEA inspectors remain on the ground in Iran and that Iran remains part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

South Africa has always been very clear as a matter of principle that the UN Security Council must remain within its mandate of addressing threats to international peace and security. If the co-sponsors of this resolution were convinced that the Iranian programme was a threat to international peace, then the Security Council should have been asked to take a decision on a draft that would have concentrated on that, and not act as if the Iranian Government itself posed a threat to international peace and security.

South Africa proposed a number of constructive amendments to the draft resolution. Our purpose was to assist the Security Council to find language for a new resolution that matched the stated objectives of the co-sponsors that the resolution would be "proportionate, incremental and reversible".

While we remain disappointed that not all our proposals were accommodated, the resolution does, however, correctly acknowledge that there is a need to respect the right of all countries, including Iran, to exploit the peaceful uses of nuclear technology subject to appropriate safeguards. We are particularly pleased with the fact that the resolution now reaffirms the need of all State Parties to the NPT to comply fully with all their obligations, which corresponds to our view that the twin obligations to nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation require our equal attention. After all, there is no basis for arguing that weapons of mass destruction are safe in some hands and not in others.

We note that the IAEA has been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. However, we share the concern of the IAEA Director General that the Agency continues to be unable "to reconstruct fully the history of Iran's nuclear programme and some of its components" because the necessary level of transparency and cooperation have not been provided by Iran.

Like other Members of this Council, South Africa sought to engage in the negotiation process in its national capacity, mindful of the duty bestowed on all Council members to contribute towards a peaceful and negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear standoff, which is an issue that affects the entire international community, indeed humanity as a whole.

The fifteen Member States of the Security Council will take a difficult decision and, after today's vote, a great deal of work still lies ahead if the international community hopes to prevent heightened tensions from spiralling out of control, to the detriment of all. A path needs to be urgently found back to negotiations, restraint and compromise on all sides. South Africa therefore hopes that the latest offer by Iran to resume negotiations will lead to concrete results.

South Africa urges Iran to provide the necessary assistance and cooperation to the Agency in its efforts to resolve the outstanding issues as soon as possible since this will make a substantial contribution to building confidence in Iran's nuclear programme. It is imperative that confidence is established in Iran's nuclear programme for peaceful purposes.

Every effort must be made to resume dialogue and enter into meaningful negotiations to find a sustainable long-term solution to this matter since no one will win through a process of confrontation that can lead to disastrous consequences in a highly volatile region.
We hope the support of this resolution would not be perceived as an obstacle for future negotiations. It is in that spirit that we vote in favour of this resolution.

Statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

The Secretary-General notes with satisfaction the Security Council's unanimity in adopting resolution 1747 of 24 March 2007. He calls on the Islamic Republic of Iran to fully implement the resolution's provisions and to urgently take the necessary steps to restore the international community's trust that its nuclear programme is peaceful in nature.

The Secretary-General believes that a negotiated solution would strengthen the international non-proliferation regime and hopes that dialogue will resume on this issue of paramount importance.

STATEMENT BY FOREIGN MINISTERS OF P5 + GERMANY

The following is a statement by the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, with the Support of the High Representative of the European Union:

The unanimous adoption of Security Council Resolution 1747 reflects the international community's profound concerns over Iran's nuclear programme. We deplore Iran's failure to comply with the earlier resolutions of the Security Council and the IAEA, and we call upon Iran once again to comply fully with all its international obligations.

We are committed to seeking a negotiated solution that would address the international community's concerns. The purpose of negotiations would be to reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran, based on mutual respect, that would re-establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme and open the way to improving relations and developing wider cooperation between Iran and all our countries

We recognise Iran's rights under the NPT to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in conformity with its NPT obligations. In this respect, future arrangements, modalities and timing will be dealt with in negotiations.

Full transparency and cooperation by Iran with the IAEA is essential in order to address outstanding concerns. We reiterate our full support for the IAEA and its staff.

We stand by our "suspension for suspension" proposal. That means that for the duration of negotiations, which would take place within an agreed timeframe, extendable by mutual agreement, Iran would maintain an IAEA verified suspension as required by Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747, and Security Council discussion of Iran's nuclear programme would also be suspended, as would the implementation of the measures adopted under the relevant Security Council Resolutions.

We reconfirm the proposals we presented to Iran in June 2006. They include cooperation with Iran on civil nuclear energy, legally-binding guarantees on the supply of nuclear fuel, and wider political security and economic cooperation. These proposals remain on the table.

We urge Iran to take this opportunity to engage with us all and to find a negotiated way forward. Our proposals would bring far-reaching benefits to Iran and to the region, and they provide a means to address the international community's concerns while taking account of Iran's legitimate interests. In a region that has known too much instability and violence, let us find an agreed way forward that builds confidence and promotes peace and mutual respect. In this spirit, we propose further talks with the Islamic Republic of Iran to see if a mutually acceptable way can be found to open negotiations.

Remarks by Iranian President

Iranian president said Sunday 25 March 2007 that Iran will definitely continue its peaceful and legal nuclear activities regardless of a UN Security Council resolution issued Saturday in this regard.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the adoption of this resolution is a fresh act along other spiteful and vicious movements of certain powers since the victory of the great Islamic revolution.

Speaking at the first session of the cabinet in the new Iranian year, the president remarked that the recent illegal resolution is nothing new to the Iranian people. He added that some powers who have made up certain mechanisms like the Security Council after the second World War, are trying to consolidate their dominance worldwide and are against the prosperity and independence of the Iranian nation.

He also said that the enemies have once again perpetrated a mistake about the great Iranian nation who are united and determined in pursuing their lofty aspirations.

Referring to the resolution, Ahmadinejad said such acts would only bring international bodies into disrepute and removes the nations trust in them.

Remarks by Iranian Government Spokesman

Government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham announced on Sunday 25 March 2007 that the government had decided to reconsider cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Calling Saturday's UN Security Council Resolution (1747) against Iran ''illegal'', Elham noted, ''The Council of Ministers met Sunday evening under chairmanship of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to discuss a recent law passed by the Majlis (27.12.06) obliging the government to review its cooperation with IAEA. The cabinet meeting decided that Iran Atomic Energy Organization should halt part of its cooperation with IAEA until Iran's case returns to IAEA from the Security Council and the situation gets back to normal.''

He added that IAEA had agreed in line with safeguards agreement with IAEA to increase cooperation with the agency ''but this cooperation will stop until Iran's case returns to IAEA from the Security Council and the situation gets back to normal.''

The safeguards agreement, he added, obliged Iran to inform the IAEA of all details of any plans and decision-making for creation of any facilities and execution of programs related to its nuclear issue. This is while, according to NPT, the member states are duty bound to inform the IAEA of their nuclear programs just six months before.

Comments by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki

Speaking to journalists in New York, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that "a few select countries do not have the right to abuse the Security Council."

"The Security Council has to be aware of its own position and status. Actions that are illegal, unwarranted and unjustified ... reduce the credibility of the Security Council."

He said Iran has repeatedly sought negotiations with the powers that drafted the resolution against the Islamic regime: the five permanent council members - the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China - and Germany. But he accused those countries of lacking the political will to reach a diplomatic solution.

"If this political will existed, the other side wouldn't have imposed preconditions on the talks," Mottaki said, referring to demands by the U.S. and its allies that Iran first halt enrichment before engaging in negotiations on its nuclear program.

He said the Iranian government will examine the resolution and issue a response in the next few days. He added the world has two options to proceed on the nuclear issue: continued negotiations or confrontation.

"Choosing the path of the resolution ... will be the wrong choice. Of course, it will have its own consequences," he said without elaborating.

Minister Mottaki's interview with Spiegel:

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in an interview with Spiegel recalled the United Nations Security Council Resolution 50 years ago in which the world body termed nationalization of Iranian oil industry as "detrimental to international peace and security".

He compared the UN action 50 years ago to the resolution 1747 both aiming to deprive Iran of legitimate rights.

He said that every country is obligated to respect the decisions of the UN but the Security Council should not jeopardize its legitimate powers through illegal behavior and pressures from individual member states.

"There is a historical precedent. Iran was in the process of completing the nationalization of its oil industry. The beginning of this nationalization process was the subject of debate in the Security Council 50 years ago. It too was seen as a threat to peace and stability at the time, which of course was absurd. In the nuclear conflict, the question that now arises is for which offense we are actually being punished? Uranium enrichment is one of the fundamental rights of every country.

"We cannot invest billions of dollars in our nuclear power plants and then rely on the help of other nations to produce and supply the fuel.

He said that if the Security Council sends back Iran's nuclear case to the IAEA once again, the Iranian parliament will ratify the Additional Protocol to Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"We are the ones who must tolerate sanctions today, and that's why we are opposed to boycotts to achieve political interests. But of course we too must be granted the right to a full energy supply."

Other International Reactions to Resolution 1747

Comments by Russian and Chinese Presidents

The stand-off over Iran's nuclear ambitions should be resolved exclusively through peaceful means, Russian and Chinese leaders said in a resolution signed in Moscow on Monday 26 March 2007.

"Russia and China stress that the Iranian nuclear problem should be solved exclusively though peaceful means and negotiations," Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a joint declaration signed during Hu's visit to the Russian capital.

"Russia and China also urge Iran to undertake all necessary and constructive steps to carry out the appropriate resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the IAEA," said the declaration.

"(We) believe that Iran ... has the right to explore peaceful nuclear energy while adhering to all its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty."

EU Seeks Co-operation with Iran

The EU foreign policy chief said Javier Solana said he hopes to resume negotiations with Iran following the UN decision to impose new sanctions aimed at forcing Tehran to curb its nuclear programme and that he was seeking immediate talks with Iran's leading negotiator, Ali Larijani.

"We want to get in touch with Dr Larijani, this morning (25 March 2007) if we can, to try to find a route that would allow us to go into the negotiations," Solana told reporters on the sidelines of a European Union summit.

"The door is open for negotiations, let's see if together we can go through."

Solana said talks with Larijani would seek to "prepare a route that leads to a negotiated solution to this conflict".

Solana issued a statement on Saturday night, immediately after the UN resolution was passed in New York, that confirmed the continued "twin track" approach by the Europeans, US and other world powers.

That involves gradually imposing tougher sanctions if Iran fails to halt uranium enrichment but offering negotiations on economic and political advantages for Iran if it falls into line.

"We want to be as generous as possible," Solana said.

Comments by Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht

"Belgium supports all the efforts that lead to a negotiated solution and calls on Iran to accept the offer of the top EU Representative Solana to examine how the negotiations can resume again," Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht said in a statement.

De Gucht said the new sanctions on Iran are more proportional, more gradual, and reversible.

"They can be widened, if Iran does not conform with the various resolutions, or they can be suspended, if Iran decides to cooperate with the international community in accordance with the conditions determined by the Security Council," he said.

"As president of the sanctions committee of the Security Council on Iran, it falls back on Belgium to oversee the correct observation of this resolution. I call upon all the Member States of the United Nations to scrupulously implement the resolutions," he said.

Comments by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal on Monday 26 March 2007 called for resolving Iran's nuclear dispute through negotiations.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 19th General Conference of Arab Countries' Foreign Ministers, he noted that Saudi Arabia calls for the Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction (WMD) without any exemption.

Al-Faisal also added that all world countries including the Middle East states are entitled to use nuclear energy.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he referred to the 2002 Accord of Arab head of states in Beirut, saying that it was the best and most reasonable agreement to settle disputes between Israel and the Arab states.

According to the agreement, establishing peaceful relations between the two sides depends on Israeli withdrawal from all territories of Palestine it occupied in 1967.

Another section of the agreement refers to the formation of an independent Palestinian government as well as the return of all Palestinian refugees to their homeland.

Pointing to the Mecca Agreement, he noted that the accord between Hamas and Fatah is considered a proper opportunity for the Arab world to preserve the Arab peace diplomacy.

The minister said that the study of political and security situation in Iraq and the Lebanese crisis was the other major issues of the current conference.

Comments by Syrian President Bashar Assad

Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday 26 March 2007 underlined that all countries have the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Assad made the remarks in a meeting with a Britain parliamentary delegation,

Comments by Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz

Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Monday 26 March 2007 opposed the policy of sanctions and use of force to deal with Iran's nuclear case.

"The Iranian nuclear issue should be solved through only dialogue and it should not be addressed through any other means," Prime Minister Aziz told a news conference.

He said each country has the right to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful use and it should be in the parameters of the IAEA.

He said Iran has already signed the NPT and it will fulfill its responsibilities

It is clear that the resolution has now been passed, it was deemed necessary since it was believed that the Iranian government had not made sufficient progress in responding to the demands of the Security Council since the passing of resolution 1737 in December 2006.

A time frame has now been given to Iran to negotiate to see whether a solution can be found to the concerns of the international community to Iran's nuclear programme.

We do seriously hope that negotiations will intensify within the IAEA and outside of this forum. We will continue to co-operate with all governments who are playing a major role to ensure we do not create the conditions for the further exacerbation of tension within that part of the world.

MIDDLE EAST

Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, announced after talks with President Mahmoud Abbas, on Wednesday 14 March 2007, that Fatah and Hamas, the rival Palestinian factions, have agreed on the composition of a Palestinian unity government. We believe this a very representative Cabinet and the first time in the history of the Palestinian people is there such a Cabinet.

Let me emphasize that it is the view of the South African government that the agenda of the Unity Government does in many ways address the concerns of the international community and particularly the Quartet.

It is our view that this programme makes it quite clear that it accepts that the Palestinian Unity Government will, in terms of the document concerning negotiations with Israel that empowered the PLO as the designated authority to hold negotiations with Israel and the PLO Chairman, is a clear indication that there has been fundamental movement within the Palestinian Authority and that there is now an acceptance that we must work towards implementing the two-state solution based on 1967 borders.

We do believe that the Palestinian Unity Government has committed itself to dealing with the matter of the abducted Israeli soldier and indeed with the issue of political prisoners.

They have committed themselves to working with the international community and will uphold all decisions of previous negotiations and agreements with Israel and will allow the Palestinian President to continue to carry out negotiations to find a solution.

They have committed themselves to improving their relations with some of the members of the international community and have called on the United States of America to review its relations with the government of national unity.

Agenda of the Unity Government

The government confirms that ending the Israeli occupation is the key for achieving peace in the Palestinian territories, recognising the Palestinian peoples right of self-determination, the government will co-operate with the international community for ending the Israeli occupation, and the restoration of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people which will enable us to construct a solid ground for peace, security and prosperity in the region.

The government abides by protecting and saving the higher interests and rights of the Palestinian people, preserving their achievements and developing it, implementing their national goals, according to national councils, basic law articles, the national reconciliation document and the Arab summits' resolutions, up on this basis the government will respect the resolutions of the international legitimacy and the accords which were signed by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO).

The government confirms that resistance is a legitimate right for the Palestinian people which is approved by all norms and international documents, our people have the right to defend themselves against any Israeli occupation, the government believes that stopping resistance is related to ending the Israeli occupation.

However, through national reconciliation, the government will do its best to stabilise the ceasefire accord and will continue expanding it to achieve an overall mutual ceasefire accord in exchange for ending the Israeli occupation, assassinations, raids, needs, demolishing houses, Jerusalem excavations, lifting check points, roadblocks, re-opening crossings, lifting restrictions on frequent movement and releasing prisoners.

The government abides by what was stated in the national reconciliation document concerning negotiations with Israel, where the PLO is designated to hold negotiations with Israel and the Palestinian Authority Chairman on the basis of adhering to the Palestinian national goals and implementing it, however any fateful agreement will be presented for a vote of confidence in the Palestinian Legislative Council first, or will be subjected to a public referendum inside and outside Palestine.

The government will support all efforts done regarding releasing the abducted Israeli soldier Saleet and achieving an honourable prisoners swap deal.

The government stresses on its Arabic and Islamic depth, it will establish correct, strong relations and ties with different countries in the world as well as with the international associations including the UN and the Security Council, and regional international organisations, this will help in strengthening peace and world stability. The EU has offered a lot of aid to our Palestinian people and its supported its right for independence and freedom, the EU had serious policies in criticising the Israeli policy towards Palestinians, that is why we are concerned about building strong and solid relations with the EU, we still expect a bigger role from the EU to push Israel to respect the human rights which were stated by international documents and its withdrawal from all the Palestinian territories, stopping all continuous aggression towards our people.

The government will also develop its relations with the permanent members of the Security Council (Russia, China, Japan, African states and Asian states) thus ensuring the rights of our Palestinian people. In the meantime the government will call on the United States to reconsider its unfair stance on the Palestinian case and it will call on the US administration to respect the Palestinian people's choice represented in the formation of the unity government.

Based on this agenda, it is our view and I want to repeat it, at last all Palestinian leaders have put the interests of the Palestinian people at the top of their agenda.

United in action, the Palestinians can now, decisively, continue to struggle for a Palestinian state living side by side with an Israeli state.

It is still unclear how the Quartet, EU and US are responding to this development in Palestine.

The UN Secretary General has welcomed this development and hope this will allow for a really creative approach to begin negotiations to end the violence that has been going on in that part of the world for so long.

We will continue to call on Israel to release the Palestinian funds, amounting to millions, that it has blocked since the Palestinian elections in January 2006.

We will continue to call on the Palestinian Authority to stop all rocket attacks against Israel. This has only resulted in massive Israeli military and other repressive actions and has undermined the just Palestinian cause internationally.

We will continue to call for the release of all political prisoners.

Without resolving the Palestinian-Israeli issue, no other major challenges in the region, including terrorism, can be solved.

We therefore watch very keenly the Arab League Summit that will be held on Wednesday 28 March 2007 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

It is now clear from all emerging reports that there is a united Arab position to push for the 2002 Arab Plan as a solution for the Middle East. As you know, the Arab Plan is not a difficult plan to implement. It calls for the return of all Palestinian land based on the 1967 borders and on the basis of a genuine attempt to establish a Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel the Arabs are committing themselves to normalise relations with Israel and therefore create the conditions for a solution in the region.

We believe this will be one of the most important Arab Summits in a long time. It is the first time that the Arab community is being collectively decisive about determining the approach they want to emerge from the Summit.

We hope this will open up the possibilities for consultations with the Israeli government for a long term solution.

There has been some talk of the Israelis seeking some amendments to the Arab Plan but the Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa has made it clear that the 2002 Arab peace initiative is a basis for peace negotiations, and insisted that Arab leaders meeting in Saudi Arabia later this week will not alter the proposal's land-for-peace offer.

Mr Moussa rejected what some Arab leaders have seen as a hint from US officials, including US Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice, that Arab countries should normalize relations with Israel as a start for the resumption of peace talks.

"We see nothing but (calls for) normalization.... It cannot materialize unless there are reciprocal moves," Moussa said.

"If Israel accepts the basis of the initiative, there will be negotiations and a peace process," Moussa said. "Otherwise, the initiative will not be amended."

Egyptian and Saudi leaders have said they want the offer to stand as is, and Syrian Vice President Farouk al Sharaa has been touring Arab countries urging no changes.

We will watch the Summit very keenly and we are convinced that the conditions are correct for a real breakthrough in the region.

President Abbas is ready for Middle East peace, Ban Ki-moon says in Ramallah

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Ramallah on Sunday 25 March 2007 offered full support for plans by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for achieving Statehood, and stressed that the current critical juncture opens a window of opportunity for peace in the region.

"President Abbas, you have shown an unwavering commitment to achieving the self-determination and an independent State for the Palestinian people," Mr. Ban said at a joint press conference given by the two men.

"Today, you have explained to me your plans for advancing this goal: unity among Palestinians; negotiations with Israel; a two-State solution; a permanent settlement of all of the issues, including Jerusalem, refugees, borders, and settlements; an end to the conflict with Israel; comprehensive peace between Israel and all Arab countries."

Mr. Ban told reporters that he had offered President Abbas support for these endeavors. "His vision of peace is consistent with the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. I welcomed President Abbas' commitment to the Road Map, and his desire to advance its implementation," the Secretary-General said, referring to an outline peace plan put forward by the diplomatic Quartet - the UN, Russian Federation, United States and European Union - for achieving a two-State solution with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace.

"I encourage this new Government, and I very much hope that its actions will show a genuine commitment to the basic principles not only of the Quartet, but of peace," Mr. Ban said. "Its immediate priorities should be to stabilize the situation in Gaza through releasing the captured Israeli soldier, consolidating the ceasefire, and bringing law and order back to the streets. Such steps would address vital Palestinian interests, and would be strongly welcomed by the international community."

The Secretary-General said he and President Abbas "also discussed the importance of the Israeli government taking steps to transfer withheld revenue, ease the closure and checkpoints, freeze all settlement activity, remove outposts, and cease construction of the barrier in occupied Palestinian territory."

He added that he would be encouraging Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on those issues during their scheduled talks tomorrow, "as well as hearing his concerns and plans."

"Above all, President Abbas and I agreed on the importance of this moment," the Secretary-General said, citing a unity government that supports President Abbas negotiating with Israel; renewed dynamism in the Arab world based on the Arab Peace Initiative; and the efforts of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to advance dialogue.

The Secretary-General acknowledged the difficulties while voicing cautious optimism. "Progress will be very hard. The obstacles are enormous. Achieving peace will require all parties to go further than they have before. But it can and must be done. And my message to Israel and to the world from here in Ramallah is that I am convinced that President Abbas is ready."

Addressing himself to the Palestinian people, Mr. Ban pledged the UN's continued support. "I have seen for myself the challenges that the Palestinian people face every day, and I have been moved by what I have seen this morning," he said.

"My determination to ensure that we continue our support to the Palestinian people has been fortified. So has my conviction that we must find a political solution to this painful conflict. As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I will work tirelessly in that cause."

Visit to region by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is currently on a visit to the Middle East. She has thus far held discussions with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit.

There is some talk of a new plan that is being proposed but we have not been briefed of this but we welcome any efforts to solve the Palestinian-Israeli situation based on a two-state solution on the 1967 borders.

Questions and answers

Question Deputy Minister, can you give us more information regarding the talks between Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka and Zimbabwean counterpart?

Answer The Vice President of Zimbabwe was in South Africa on a very private visit. Both the Vice President and Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka met at a meeting not organised by themselves and the discussions that ensued had nothing to do with the internal dynamics Zimbabwe.

As you would have seen from some reports: there was a delegation of Secretary-Generals of two factions of the MDC who held discussions with South African officials on that same day.

It was also announced by some faction of the MDC that they had met with the ANC, Cosatu and the SACP.

I do not believe there was any pre-plan or anything more that can be read into the visit of the Zimbabwean Vice President to South Africa. It was a private visit on which she held discussions with an NGO. It had nothing to do with discussing the broader Zimbabwean situation.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, what do you expect the outcomes of the SADC meetings in Tanzania to mean for Zimbabwe?

Answer When we went to the Lesotho meeting last week, there was a meeting of the double Troika to look at regional dynamics including Lesotho and the report of the Tanzanian Foreign Minister on the visit of President Kikwete to Zimbabwe the previous week. The Tanzanian Foreign Minister did inform the meeting that President Kikwete was consulting with other Heads of State to call a meeting in Tanzania to, broadly speaking, consider the regional dynamics.

To me, it will be very difficult as a Deputy Minister to speculate on the outcomes of the meeting. We will go to Tanzania tomorrow with President Mbeki.

It will be an opportunity for all parties to put forward their positions and all countries in the region have indicated their participation. We will emerge from there with a communiqué that will lead us forward.

As you know, there is a very important meeting of the Zanu-PF Central Committee in Zimbabwe on Friday.

We will obviously hope to receive full briefings from everybody including President Kikwete and the Zimbabwean delegation, based on which the region can determine what actions need to be taken.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, is the South African government participating in the meetings with an idea of an initative to be proposed?

Answer I cannot pre-empt the thinking of the President.

I will brief you fully on the meetings when we return.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, can you brief us on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Answer We remain very concerned about the recent escalation of violence in the DRC. It is conservatively estimated that MORE THAN 120 people have been killed.

The former Presidential Candidate Jean Pierr-Bemba who is also the leader of the MLC is still at the South African High Embassy.

MONUC is trying to see how it can negotiate a solution.

The MLC has just put out a statement calling for a truce and discussions to resolve the problem.

The Attorney-General has now officially put out a warrant of arrest for Mr Bemba on charges of high treason and Prime Minister of the DRC has apologized for the damage to foreign property.

It is a very volatile and fluid situation. We continue to be seized with the matter since Mr Bemba is on South African property.

We are in touch with the UN and the DRC government, to see what are the possible options to resolve the standoff and normalize the situation.

Many countries are expressing deep concern that recent developments could erode all successes and advances that has been achieved thus far. We are calling on all sides to act with restraint to see how we can find a solution based on the MONUC facilitation.

Question (inaudible)

Answer It is clear that since Mr Bemba has had interviews with international media that he has access to some communication. I suspect he is using his own communication channels.

There is a lot of speculation re: asylum or no asylum. Mr Bemba himself has not clearly indicated what his own thinking is. He is awaiting the outcomes of the MONUC negotiations, on the basis of which he will decide what he wants to do.

He has taken asylum in terms of international conventions.

We need to give him all the protection he requires until he deems it fit for him to leave the Embassy.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, when the Deputy President crossed paths with the Zimbabwean Vice President, did the matter of Zimbabwe come up?

Answer I was not in the vicinity and therefore suggest you ask the Deputy President whether this matter was discussed. As far I we are concerned, we have been assured that that matter of Zimbabwe was not discussed.

I have indicated that there are other channels of communication between the South Africans and Zimbabweans, including the meeting of the two MDC Secretary's-General who held discussions with COSATU, SACP, ANC and are reported to have met with representatives of government.

Discussions were going on. There was no need for any back-door discussions.

I have been assured that there were no discussions regarding Zimbabwe - these were left to the correct channels.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, did President Mbeki receive a call from Prime Minister Blair who announced this in the British House of Commons yesterday? What are your views on the comments by the Zimbabwean President regarding Zimbabwe? There has been speculation regarding a shift on the matter of Zimbabwe - is this so?

Answer There have been long discussions in the British House of Commons.

The Foreign Secretary has indicated that Prime Minister Blair has spoken to President Kikwete and written to President Mbeki. I am not sure whether Prime Minister Blair has talked to President Mbeki telephonically. In any event, President Mbeki should by now be in receipt of the letter. I expect President Mbeki will share it with us at the appropriate time.

The Zambian President was reflecting his concerns. The Zambian authorities have made it quite clear that they are committed to working within a collective framework to create the necessary conditions to assist the Zimbabweans to move forward. This remains the perspective of the Zambian government and is nothing new.

The President was referring to what he saw as a growing problem. We have been raising this issue and I said last week that the Reserve Bank Governor Mr Gono, a month ago, presented a detailed report of the crisis in the Zimbabwean economy.

You have seen reports suggesting that within months the inflation rate will have reached 5000%.

The Reserve Bank Governor has indicated that there is a serious economic crisis unfolding and called on the internal forces to begin an internal dialogue across party-political lines bringing in civil society to see how they can dialogue on this matter.

Commissioner Konare, on behalf of the AU, has also indicated his concerns. The South African government has issued a statement as has the ANC.

President Kufour, speaking in London, expressed his concerns as Chairman of the African Union.

There is no shift in positions. It is clear that the economic situation is reaching dire proportions and people are saying it is impacting on the region.

We need to work together, and this remains our position, how do we collectively work together within SADC and the AU to help the Zimbabweans find a solution to their challenges.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, you speak of an economic crisis in Zimbabwe. Is there a humanitarian or political crisis in Zimbabwe? Do you have any insight into the conversation between President Mbeki and President Mugabe?

Answer On the conversation between Presidents Mbeki and Mugabe - I am not privy to conversations between Heads of State - these are not channelled through my office. They must obviously have exchanged views on the current situation in Zimbabwe. I cannot see that they would call each other to discuss the Zimbabwean cricket teams performance in the World Cup.

We have consistently said that there is a socio-economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe that has been developing over many years. We have also consistently said that we must see what we can do to help the Zimbabweans out of this quagmire.

I have previously said that the violence that broke out a few weeks ago is a symptom of what is the broader political and socio-economic crisis in Zimbabwe and this must be handled.

We will continue to work as we have been working - this term "quiet diplomacy" is a misnomer - it is "constructive diplomacy".

If you have been following the debates in the British House of Commons as well as the EU discussions, the British are saying they cannot do anything alone. They have to work with the EU and the AU to effectively address this situation. Everybody is saying this and it is accepted as a given.

Yet when the South African government say the same thing - ie. South Africa cannot independently bring about a solution in Zimbabwe or anywhere else - unless we work collectively within SADC if it is within the region or the AU if it beyond the region, there is nothing we can achieve in isolation of a collective solution, everybody says the same thing, yet we are taken to task over this position.

I do believe we cannot act independently of the SADC region. In the end we can only implement a collective SADC position.

Everyone talks of a crisis yet I cannot understand what crisis is being faced by countries abroad. We have a crisis in the region with an undocumented 2 million illegal immigrants rapidly rising to a figure of 3 million. It is clear that we are facing a dire situation and it cannot be otherwise since the economies of South Africa and Zimbabwe are very interlinked. In the pre-apartheid days and in the days of Ian Smith, there was a lot of interaction between the private sectors of Zimbabwe and South Africa. South Africa will therefore suffer the most if we are unable to find a solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe.

We have a historic and real responsibility in our own interests to help find a solution. It is no longer, and never was, an academic situation for South Africa.

If there are governments suggesting we do more, it would be helpful if we were told what more to do. It is not helpful to sit far away and make militant statements.

I am looking forward to tomorrow's parliamentary debate and hope the opposition can formulate some constructive suggestions on how to address the Zimbabwean challenges.

I want to repeat that we will never make militant statements for the sake of self-gratification or to satisfy foreign governments.

Our objective is to help normalise the situation and to protect ourselves from any further serious impact from the Zimbabwean crisis.

We continually ask those who have criticised us for following an approach of "quite diplomacy" what has succeeded? It is now becoming apparent that the route pursued by the US and EU has also not worked. I did say last week that if we had worked together to find a common approach to the Zimbabwean situation then we would not find ourselves confronted with the crisis we do so today.

I want to remind you that President Mbeki was quite forthright that you could not debate the matter of land reform. But he was quite critical that the way in which the programme was implemented was flawed. He has been critical since the Victoria Falls meeting in 2000 on how elements of the programme we being implemented.

I think we have selective amnesia. When we do constructively raise our concerns about the situation such things are forgotten. All that happens is that we are criticised regarding our policy of "quiet diplomacy." I would encourage you to go back to your notes, from the time that the we commented on the land reform programme, our discussions with the British government to raise funds for the land programme, you will see a consistent approach on how we tried to resolve the problem.

I really believe the time has come for us to sit down together to evaluate constructively and critically what has succeeded, what has not and what we can do to resolve the dire predicament in which the people of Zimbabwe find themselves.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, is the ANC involved in negotiations with the Zimbabwean government and what is the nature thereof? You have said that other approaches by other governments have not worked. Would you say that the approach of the South African government has worked?

Answer The ANC is in constant touch with Zimbabweans at various levels. The ANC meets with Zanu-PF on a bilateral basis but also within the context of meetings of former liberation movements.

Only history will tell whether we have succeeded. This is work in progress.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, will President Mugabe be attending these meetings? Have you noticed a flexibility on the part of the Zimbabwean government regarding 2008 elections?

Answer We know that the Zimbabwean government will attend the meeting but I am not sure at what level.

I see it reported in the media about President Mugabe talking to the Youth and Women's League indicating that he is working towards 2008 elections. The nature of these elections have not been revealed in the media reports.

South African media reports are speculating together with the British newspapers that moves are underway in Zimbabwe for consultations between 'factions' in Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangarai. We are not privy to any of this. I hope we will be briefed on this in the meetings in Tanzania.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
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27 March 2007

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