Notes following briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad
Media Centre, Amphitheatre, Union Buildings, Thursday 21 June 2007

2010 Soccer World Cup

FIFA president Sepp Blatter on a visit to South Africa this week said, "There are people who still say they can organise a better World Cup elsewhere. But because SA's organisation has been so good, there is always going to be criticism."

"There is always going to be jealousy because the World Cup is coming here. If you (SA) were not good, you would not be getting so much criticism. You may rest assured that nothing will take this World Cup from Africa. Nothing but God."

"After what I have seen here today, I can say we are on track. I am very optimistic."

"I will be very happy to go to Cape Town and meet with mayor Helen Zille and speak about Cape Town. But I am sure that based on what I have seen (on video) and what I have been told; I do not expect any problems."

On 18th July 2007 millions of South Africans and the world will be celebrating former President Nelson Mandela's 89th birthday. The South African government is excited by President Blatter's announcements that a star-studded Africa team will play against a star-studded world team to celebrate the occasion.

This will be another important occasion to showcase South Africa and Africa and put to rest any unfounded views that we will not be able to host a successful World Cup in 2010.

AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT

South African President Thabo Mbeki supported by Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will attend the 9th African Union Heads of State and Government Summit in Accra, Ghana from Sunday - Tuesday 1-3 July 2007.

The Summit will be preceded by the 11th Executive Council session scheduled from Thursday - Friday 28-29 June 2007. Minister Dlamini Zuma will depart for this meeting on the morning of the 28 June 2007.

The Assembly at its meeting in January 2007 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia decided to devote the 9th session of the forthcoming Summit to the Grand Debate on the Union Government.

The Summit, by focusing on the Union Government of Africa seeks to bring to finality this debate that has been going on since 1963.

Also on the agenda of the Summit is the election of the Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and Commissioners of the African Union Commission, as the terms of the current incumbents come to an end in September 2007.

The Heads of State and Government will also consider the report of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee on the Integration of NEPAD into the Headquarters and Procedures of the African Union.

The African Peer Review Forum will be held on the margins of the Summit. Algeria and South Africa are due for review.

The Pan-African Infrastructure Development Fund will be launched on 1 July 2007. This follows a decision that Africa should utilise its own funding for it developmental programmes.

ZONE OF PEACE AND SECURITY

The Zone of Peace and Security (ZPCSA) held its 6th Ministerial Meeting in Luanda, Angola on the 18th and 19th of June 2007. The Zone brings together 24 members states that share a coastline in the South Atlantic Ocean and comprises 21 African states and 3 South American states that include Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Sao Tomé y Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

South Africa hosted the 4th Ministerial meeting of Member States of the Zone on 1 and 2 April 1996 at Somerset West.

South Africa recognizes the benefits of its membership to this Zone and wishes to support the most recent endeavours undertaken following the 6th Ministerial meeting and stands ready to support Angola in this regard, as it holds the Chairmanship of the Zone for the next two years.

Whilst the primary objective of the Zone was to achieve peace and security, the Zone Members have subsequently called for broader cooperation amongst its members in various fields. The most recent meeting in Luanda affirmed these calls by adopting the Luanda Plan of Action.

The benefits of cooperation amongst the members of the Zone will make a significant contribution to the development of the South. The Zone members will make conscious efforts to facilitate the flow of goods and services among its member states, a benefit that can only be achieved through the peace dividend that we increasingly seem to enjoy in the region.

The Luanda Plan of Action identified four clusters:
Economic Cooperation (partnerships for sustainable development / poverty eradication);

  • clean fuels and environmentally friendly energy / bio fuels
  • agricultural and livestock production
  • human resource development
  • health
  • education
  • infrastructure development

Crime Prevention and Combating drug trafficking, Transnational Organized Crime including piracy;

  • exchange of best practice in illicit drug combating
  • technical cooperation for human and institutional capacity building
  • information-sharing, database establishment and judicial cooperation
  • early warning systems on trans-national organized criminal activities

Peace, Stability and Security (including conflict prevention and Peace building within the Zone)

  • regional cooperation and coordination through other regional bodies (SADC, ECOWAS, CEMAC and the OAS)
  • joint peace-keeping exercises
  • cooperation in the areas of capacity building / logistics / information exchanges vis a vis peacekeeping
  • exchanges and facilitation of best practices and establishment of databases vis a vis national institutions on peacekeeping, conflict resolution, peace building etc

Scientific Research, Environment and Marine issues

  • cooperation in the protection and responsible management of marine resources
  • dialogue on issues of intellectual property rights regarding genetic marine resources in areas beyond national jurisdictions
  • combat illegal spillages and dumping of toxic waste
  • research issue of mutual interest in marine biodiversity and ecology

(Comment by Deputy Minister: The greatest concern is that the Atlantic Ocean is experiencing what we call the Super Exploitation of our resources. We have taken decisions that we will work together to try to combat this Super Exploitation of our natural resources by developed countries. This meeting spent a lot of time attempting to co-ordinate our efforts to deal with this issue.)

We call on all civil society organizations, academia, think-tanks and business, amongst other sectors could find equally promising opportunities for outreach and mutual benefit.

LESOTHO

Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili paid an Official Visit to South Africa from Monday 18 - Wednesday 20 June 2007.

Security Situation in Lesotho
An indefinite curfew has been imposed in Lesotho's capital Maseru after a series of attacks by gunmen targeting senior political figures and their bodyguards, police said on Tuesday 19 June 2007.

Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, who held talks Tuesday with South African President Thabo Mbeki in Cape Town, acknowledged there was still some "unhappiness" about the allocation of parliamentary seats following the elections but insisted any disputes should be resolved by the courts.

The SADC Troika did take a decision that it would attempt to resolve this matter. The Commonwealth is also involved in trying to resolve this matter because as you know, the Commonwealth was instrumental in drafting the constitution in Lesotho. It is on the basis of this that these challenges are now being proposed. We do hope we can quickly normalise this situation through the SADC Troika and that any differences that continue to emerge be handled through the legal system. We call on those who are reverting to violence to halt such behaviour. We hope that the SADC Troika will act decisively to bring some stability to this matter.

"The (curfew) follows a series of attacks made on ministers and their bodyguards since June 11," national police spokesperson Inspector Pheello Mphana said in Maseru. "About six ministerial bodyguards were attacked and disarmed by unknown gunmen and this has affected security in the country.".

Prime Minister Mosili however told reporters in Cape Town that the curfew was unavoidable although he indicated it would be relaxed to allow residents to get home by 8pm rather than 6pm. The measure was first introduced at the weekend.

"It was precipitated by... certain very unfortunate incidents in which the residences of ministers were being attacked," he said.

"These things happened under the cover of darkness, which is why the commissioner thought it necessary to contain these acts of crime and to impose a curfew."

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL VISIT TO AFRICA

South Africa, and the United Kingdom, headed a visit of the United Nations Security Council to the Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, to Accra, Ghana as well as to Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from Saturday - Friday 16-22 June 2007.

Under South Africa's co-leadership in Addis Ababa the UNSC held discussions with the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) which focused on identifying ways in which the cooperation between the two bodies can be further enhanced. The discussions also addressed some of the conflict situations on the agendas of the UNSC and the AU PSC.

The visit by the UNSC to Africa generally comes against the backdrop of positive developments in some of the countries on the agenda of the UNSC. The successful elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the signing of the Ouagadougou Peace Agreement by the leaders of Cote d' Ivoire both signal new beginnings for these countries. It is imperative that the international community continues its support to ensure that progress achieved is not reversed.

Joint Communiqué Agreed By The UN Security Council And AU Peace And Security Council
Addis Ababa, 16 June 2007
1. Recalling that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security;

2. Recalling the provisions of Chapter VIII of the United Nations (UN) Charter on the relationship with regional arrangements;

3. Recalling the mandate of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) with regard to the maintenance of peace and security in Africa, as provided for in the relevant provisions of the Protocol Relating to the establishment of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU);

4. Recalling the Presidential Statements and decisions of the UNSC and AU PSC on the relationship between the two bodies;

5. Recognising the contribution made by the AU, Regional Economic Communities and the UN in promoting peace in Africa;

6. Underlining the importance of support for the operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture and in this context encouraging the implementation of the 10-year programme for capacity building between the UN Secretariat and the AU Commission;

7. At our joint meeting here today, we commit ourselves to the development of a stronger and more structured relationship between the UNSC and the AU PSC, inter alia on conflict prevention, management and resolution, peacekeeping and peace building, including Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development, as well as sharing of information on conflict situations on the agendas of the two bodies.

8. We express our support for the strengthening of AU capacity within the Commission in all relevant areas, such as planning and logistics, and in particular the establishment of a well-resourced peacekeeping capability, as well as in the fields of conflict prevention, management and resolution.

9. We attach particular importance to the development of the African Standby Force.

10. We agree to consider, including on the basis of the forthcoming report from the UN Secretary-General, the modalities for supporting and improving in a sustained way the resource base and capacity of the AU. In doing so, we will bear in mind that in taking initiatives for the promotion of peace and security in Africa in terms of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter the AU is also acting on behalf of the international community, and we will examine the possibility of the financing of a peacekeeping operation undertaken by the AU or under its authority, as requested in the decision of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government (Assembly/AU/Dec.145(VIII)).

(Comment by Deputy Minister: This is very important because until recently South Africa had to play a major role in funding what were African Union operations until the United Nations would take them over as UN operations. The UN is now seriously considering that AU operations can be funded by the UN before this blue-hatting takes place.)

11. We agree to strengthen the relationship between all the relevant structures of the UNSC and AU PSC, including their subsidiary bodies.

12. We agree to hold joint meetings between the UNSC and the AU PSC, at least once a year, either in Addis Ababa or New York.

13. We express support for closer co-operation between the UN Secretariat and the AU Commission, particularly on conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peace building.

14. We encourage the sharing of experiences on working methods between the two bodies.

15. We encourage close consultations between the AU and the UNSC as decisions are being prepared on issues affecting peace and security in Africa.

16. To further our relationship we will consider how best to improve the effectiveness of AU and UN peace efforts in Africa and how to strengthen coordination between the AU and the UN. We look forward to further joint consideration at our next meeting.

(Comment by Deputy Minister: It is our view that this new joint communiqué has strengthened the relationship between the Security Council and the African Union in a structured way and we can only benefit from this in terms of our conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction initiatives in Africa.)

SUDAN/DARFUR

Subsequent to the Addis Ababa High Level Consultations on the situation in Darfur of 16 November 2006 which was endorsed by the AU Peace and Security Council Summit on Darfur on 30 November 2006 and later endorsed in the Presidential Statement (S/PRST/2006/55) by the United Nations Security Council - which called for a comprehensive approach to the peace process in Darfur, including reenergizing the political process, strengthening the ceasefire and the following three phased approach:

  • a light support package
  • a heavy support package and
  • a hybrid operation.

    The UNSG and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission presented a joint report to the SC of 25 May 2007. We are all bound by this report since it is a joint report, whether or not we are members of the Security Council.

The report inter alia states that:

Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA)
The DPA has failed to achieve its objectives of bringing peace and security to the people of Darfur. The appointment of two Special Envoys who have been holding consultations with all relevant parties, including the Government of Sudan. The outcome has been that both the Government of Sudan (GoS) and other parties have accepted that the DPA cannot be considered as a "take it or leave it" document. However, it was also understood that the agreement would not be re-negotiated in its entirety. The parties consulted also agreed that a political solution is the only way forward to a lasting peace in Darfur.

DPA provisions on Wealth Sharing
No progress has been made with regard to the implementation of the aforesaid provisions. Darfur Joint Assessment Mission (D-JAM) appointed to assess development and reconstruction has suspended its work due to lack of security. A donors pledging conference had to be postponed due to processes that have not been finalized.

DPA provisions on Comprehensive Ceasefire and Final Security
Violation of ceasefire is still continuing and that has been due to constraints largely related to logistics and funding as well as the lack of an all-inclusive political process.

The importance of fragmentation of non-signatory group whose reunification of their leaders is critical for the efforts of AU-UN Joint Mediation to bear fruits as well as a sustainable and self enforced cease-fire.

(Comment by Deputy Minister: I raise this because it illustrates that the matter is much more complicated than just the mere intransigence of the Sudanese government on the matter of the joint AU-UN force.)

Funding
Funding has also been a challenge. The cost of providing the representatives of non-signatory groups with allowances is very high for AMIS - whose funding is unpredictable. To address this, the AMIS in consultation with international partners decided to reduce the number of representatives of the parties and that will subsequently reduce the mission's subsistence allowances.

On the Three phased package the report states:
Light support package
Light Support Package consisted of equipment and deployment of personnel in logistical and material support area, military staff support area, advisory support to civilian police, as well as civilian support in the areas of mine action. There has been a hold in the deployment of additional personnel who have been identified and recruited. This has been due to the construction of office facilities and living accommodations that are compliant with UN safety and security standards in Darfur. The lack of security has also been a major challenge with regard to the full implementation of the Light Support Package.

Heavy Support Package
This package consisted of military, police, mission support personnel and equipment as well as civilian staff to provide support in a range of areas, including civilian affairs, humanitarian liaison, public information, mine action and support to the Darfur political process. Certain substantive capacities of the HSP have been redesigned and will be undertaken.

A speedy implementation of this package depends on cooperation with AU by Member States' contribution of troops and police, the agreement of the GoS on land and water drilling in Darfur, deployment of two additional AMIS battalions with requisite equipment as well as the restructuring of AMIS from its present eight sector structure to three sectors. This process also depends on international partner's support for expansion of seven AMIS camps to accommodate the deployment of the two additional AMIS battalions, the three sector headquarters and temporarily, HSP engineering elements

AU-UN Hybrid Operation
The mandate of the Hybrid Operation and its tasks includes, support for peace process and good offices; security; the rule of law, governance and human rights and humanitarian assistance.

With regard to the structure of the Hybrid Operation, the Joint AU-UN Special Representative (JSR), Mr. Rodolphe Adada, will be the head of the Operation. His duties will involve overall authority over the peacekeeping mission in Darfur, oversee the implementation of its mandate and be responsible for mission's management and functioning. A Deputy joint AU-UN Special Representative (DJSR) as his deputy and they will both report to the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security and the UN under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.

The Force Commander and Police Commissioner for the Hybrid will be appointed by the AU in consultation with UN. The Force Commander will be an African. They will both be reporting to the JSR and their deputies will also be appointed to assist them. The Force Commander will exercise command and control over air support assets through the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) and over mission enablers through the Joint Logistics Operations Centre (JLOC)

With regard to command and control, while the Force Commander will be an African, the management of the Operation will be based on the United Nations standards, principles and established practice.

In terms of the Addis Ababa conclusions as endorsed by the 66th Abuja PSC, it is assumed that UN Member States will consider a recommendation from the Secretary-General to provide funding for the Hybrid Operation in Darfur through the UN assessed budget governed by UN Financial Rules and Regulations.

Regarding the force and personnel generation, based on Addis Ababa conclusions and the 66th Abuja PSC communiqué, the peacekeeping force will have to be predominantly African. Offers from African troop and police contributing countries (T/PCC) will therefore be considered first. However if T/PCC are unable to meet the Hybrid force requirements, other T/PCC offers will be considered. The final T/PCC will be agreed upon by the AU and the UN after due consultation with the GoS. The police and force generation process will follow United Nations General Assembly rules and regulations

The civilian personnel will have to be hired under UN contracts and in accordance with established UN selection and recruitment guidelines, standards and procedures. All UN-AU personnel deployed to the Mission shall be administered in accordance with UN rules, regulations, policies, directives and administrative instructions as well as standard operating procedures including, but not limited to those relating to performance, conduct and discipline

The proposed mandate of the Hybrid Operation in Darfur will be the following:

  • To contribute to the restoration of necessary security conditions for the safe provision of humanitarian assistance and to facilitate full humanitarian access throughout Darfur;
  • To contribute to the protection of civilian populations under imminent threat of physical violence and prevent attacks against civilians, within its capability and areas of deployment, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Government of Sudan;
  • To monitor, observe compliance with and verify the implementation of various ceasefire agreements signed since 2004, as well as assist with the implementation of the DPA and any subsequent agreements;
  • To assist the political process in order to ensure it is inclusive and to support the AU-UN Joint Mediation in its efforts to broaden and deepen commitment to the peace process;
  • To contribute to a secure environment for economic reconstruction and development as well as the sustainable return of IDPs and refugees to their homes; and
  • To contribute to the promotion of respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Darfur;
  • To assist in the promotion of the rule of law in Darfur including through support to strengthening an independent judiciary and the prison system and assistance in the development and consolidation of the national legal framework;
  • To monitor and report on the security situation at Sudan's borders with Chad and the Central African Republic

The Hybrid Operation will consist of the following component

  • Political affairs component
  • Civil affairs component
  • Military component
  • Police component
  • Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration component
  • Human rights component
  • Rule of law, judicial and prisons advisory component
  • Humanitarian liaison
  • Child protection
  • Gender
  • HIV/AIDS support
  • Mine action
  • Public information
  • Safety and Security
  • Conduct
  • Mission support

    With regard to Chad and CAR, the Hybrid Operation will establish civilian military liaison offices there for coordination with Chadian and CAR authorities in the border region as well as AU-UN offices in these countries. Chad and Sudan should be encouraged to respect each other's territorial sovereignty and should implement the existing agreement of non-aggression. Regional actors should also use their influence over some rebel groups to support a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Need to sustain the AMIS operation and urges Member States to find a viable and sustained solution to AMIS's financial problems in the context of deployment of the hybrid operation.

Lack of infrastructure and geographical conditions also poses logistical challenges for the peacekeeping presence to be deployed in time in Darfur.

The Operation will function separately from UNMIS, but there will be a liaison component between UNMIS and the Hybrid Operation so as to ensure complementary of efforts between the AU and UN in respect of DPA and Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Also that there will be liaison arrangements between the Hybrid Operation and Special Envoys of the UN and AU. The report also highlights that the Operation will function separately from the humanitarian operations.

Reaction of the UNSC
We are pleased that the United Nations Security Council on Friday, 25 May 2007 welcomed the report of the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on the hybrid operation in Darfur and also noted that this agreement is an important development in the comprehensive approach to the peace process in Darfur.

The Security Council also called for the full implementation without delay of the United Nations light and heavy support packages of assistance to AMIS, as well as for the report of the Secretary-General and Chairperson of the African Union Commission on the hybrid operation to be considered and taken forward immediately.
It also demanded that all parties must meet their international obligations, support the political process, end violence against civilians and attacks on peacekeepers and facilitate humanitarian relief.

South Africa believes that this proposal is largely in line with the previous agreements, resolutions and communiqués (i.e. Addis Ababa high-level meeting, summit level meeting of AU PSC, etc).

We welcome the progress that has been made with regard to the Light Support Package and should call for a speedy implementation of the Heavy Support Package which is incidentally, the deployment of at least 3000 African troops - this is being held back by the lack of funding. We therefore call on the international community to urgently provide funding for implementation of this phase.

South Africa urges the Member States to provide funding for the Hybrid Operation in Darfur through the UN assessed budget.

South Africa urges both the GoS and rebel groups to adhere to the ceasefire agreements as this will be of assistance in protecting the civilians.

South Africa commends the peacekeeping mission provided by AMIS in Darfur and should support the call towards strengthening and sustaining AU mission (AMIS) in Darfur as the implementation of proposed Operation will not happen overnight.

Acceptance by Sudanese government of Hybrid Force
"The Sudanese leadership, at the level of the President of the Republic, has confirmed that the State of Sudan is committed to all the agreements signed - including the recent agreement signed in Addis Ababa on a hybrid operation in Darfur," Sudan's Foreign Minister, Lam Akol, told reporters.

"The President of the Republic has made it clear that the ball is now in the court of the United Nations," he added.

The United Nations Security Council also visit Sudan the purpose of which was to reaffirm the Council's commitment to the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Sudan while encouraging its Government and other parties to engage constructively in the Darfur peace process.

In addition the aim was to "achieve without delay, full agreement" on deploying the hybrid operation. The Council also "came to encourage all parties here to fully implement the ceasefire agreement," the delegation said.

Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry of the United Kingdom said the Security Council would seek financing for the force from the UN's regular peacekeeping budget, meaning that the cost would be borne by all UN Member States.

"We all laid heavy emphasis in two long constructive meetings and over lunch" on the hybrid force with emphasis on the need "to accelerate the implementation and get that in place as soon as possible," he said.

Stressing that "there isn't going to be an enduring peace unless there is a political settlement," he said Council members called for accelerated efforts on that front. "The Government confirmed its commitment to pursue that, and I quote the Minister, 'aggressively' - meaning that the Government is fully committed to it."

Sudanese officials also provided "certain assurances" on humanitarian access to those in need.

On the need for a ceasefire, Ambassador Jones Parry said the Council members stressed that Government "should exercise a measure of self-restraint faced with lots of temptations given the performance of the rebels."

We do believe as the Secretary-General has said that there are positive developments that must be encouraged to continue. It is therefore quite surprising that we continue to hear strident calls for sanctions. We do believe that such actions will not support the processes in any way and only serve to hinder what progress has been made. We therefore call on all countries calling for sanctions to read the Secretary-General's report and statements and to give more support to the processes.

Sudan leader scoffs at Darfur sanctions
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said on Tuesday 19 June 2007 he was not concerned by the prospect of more US sanctions, saying existing ones had helped his country to stand on its own two feet.

Security Situation in Sudan
The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said the security situation in the southern Darfur town of Gereida has not improved and militia attacks against civilians, especially women, are continuing.

UNMIS conducted the visit to Gereida to follow up on the Darfur Peace Agreement's (DPA) effect on the overall security situation, livelihoods and tribal reconciliation, according to a news bulletin issued by the Mission.

The UNMIS team found that Janjaweed attacks outside towns were ongoing and women were still subject to rape and harassment.

In a related development, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed France's offer to airlift life-saving humanitarian assistance to a growing number of Sudanese refugees and displaced Chadians living in an "increasingly precarious situation."

"With the onset of the rainy season, thousands of refugees and internally displaced people will face even greater hardship. This airlift will help avoid any critical gaps in our operation to feed thousands of people," said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.

WFP aimed to pre-position a six-month supply of food to feed 240,000 Sudanese refugees in 12 camps and 150,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in eastern Chad through the rainy season from June to November. So far, it has managed to build four months of food stocks.

CÔTE D'IVOIRE


The Security Council delegation visiting Africa wrapped up its visit on Tuesday 19 June 2007 to Côte d'Ivoire, where the role of the United Nations in staging elections scheduled for later this year was the focus of discussions with the leaders of the divided West African country.

The delegation held talks with President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro.

Both leaders stressed that the UN which operates a peacekeeping mission in Côte d'Ivoire should remain involved in the country, to certify the identification process, help in the organization of elections and to implement the peace agreement reached in March 2007.

That accord, known as the Ouagadougou Peace Agreement, sets out a series of measures to deal with the political divide in Côte d'Ivoire, which has been split between the Government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north since 2002.

Among other steps, the agreement calls for creating a new transitional government, organizing free and fair presidential elections, and merging the Forces Nouvelles and the national defence and security forces through the establishment of an integrated command centre.

It also calls for dismantling the militias, disarming ex-combatants and enrolling them in civil services programmes, as well as replacing the so-called zone of confidence separating north and south with a green line to be monitored by UNOCI.

The Security Council delegation and the Ivorian officials discussed the modalities of how the UN can assist the process leading up to elections scheduled for later this year, as well as the elections themselves.

As you are aware, President Mbeki held discussions with Prime Minister Soros in Cape Town yesterday 20 June 2007. He briefed the President on progress regarding the transitional processes, to thank the President for his support of the peace process and to invite President Mbeki to the Ceremony of the Flame in Bouake.

The Ivorians have started the process of deploying magistrates to issue birth certificates and cards to the citizens to start the identification process by the end of June 2007.

Since 18th June Prefects have been deployed to all territories.

There is agreement that the UN will oversee the electoral process and to validate them.

The key issue of whether the UN Higher Representative should continue to deal with the issues or whether this task should be transferred to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General is expected to be discussed by the Security Council and a decision will be taken after consultations with the Mediator, President Blaise Compoare.

BURUNDI

South Africa welcomes the agreement in Dar es Salaam on 17 June between the President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza, and leader of the Palipehutu-FNL Agathon Rwasa concerning the implementation of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement. South Africa urges both parties to maintain the progress made in Dar es Salaam to allow for the earliest recovery and consolidation of peace.

The UN Secretary-General also welcomed the agreement and expressed his deep thanks to Tanzania, South Africa and the African Union for their valuable contributions to the peace process, and assures the people of Burundi that the United Nations will continue to support their efforts to bring lasting peace to Burundi.

SOMALIA

The situation remains very volatile and tense.

The South African government however, welcomes the news that the Somali government has announced that they will pardon suspected insurgents and release those detained in connection with recent fighting in a move to encourage national reconciliation: "The amnesty is intended to allow those who fought the government directly or indirectly to come out and participate in the reconciliation process," Justice Minister Hassan Dhimbil Warsame told reporters on 19 June.

The pardon was announced in a presidential decree on 18 June. "The aim is to reduce lingering animosity caused by the fighting between the insurgents and Ethiopian-backed government forces."

The decision, which follows the postponement of the national reconciliation conference from 14 July to 15 July, does not cover those who "engage in international terrorism."

While the South African government welcomes this amnesty, we are concerned that attempts to find a political solution are continuously stalled, since to find a political solution is the only viable way forward.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Somalia, François Fall, welcomed the amnesty, saying it was "a good decision and a step in the right direction." However, he said, the government needed to take it further and allow more people to participate in the reconciliation process that will culminate in the national conference due to be held in the capital of Mogadishu.

UIC Oppose Reconciliation Conference
The much anticipated Somalia national reconciliation conference may not take place after all because of inter-clan suspicion and the demand by the ousted Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) that it must be held on neutral grounds.

As the conference failed to take place for the second time, a communiqué was issued by UIC leaders in Doha, Qatar, on June 7 during a two day conference, in which the UIC insisted that there would be no genuine reconciliation until Ethiopian troops left Somalia.

The two-day Doha conference, organised by a lobby group, the Foreign Interventions and the Future of the Horn of Africa was attended by UIC leaders led by the chairman Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Somali parliamentarians led by the former speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan and representatives of the Somali diaspora.

Among other issues, the conference said the reconciliation conference in Somalia called by the TFG was part of a wider campaign of fragmenting the Somali society so as to cement the occupation by Ethiopian forces.

Under no circumstances can any legitimate meeting be held under Ethiopian occupation," the communiqué said. "While the reconciliation conference is a national demand, it must be based on a national agenda and should be held at a neutral venue in which all concerned parties can participate with a sense of security.

Such a conference should deal with the political differences among Somali clans to decide the future of the country and the destiny of the nation," it added.

The Doha conference accused Ethiopia of being an occupying force that has committed atrocities, looting, mass displacement and rape, besides arguing that the high-handedness of the Ethiopian troops is responsible for the destruction and spread of violence and instability in the Horn of Africa.

The conference demanded that the UN Security Council take responsibility for the affected and displaced persons and punish those who obstruct relief aid from reaching them and called for the establishment a Somali national movement "for the liberation of the country from the foreign occupation" by all legitimate means available.

The Ethiopian embassy in Nairobi, maintained that the UIC has no say in the reconciliation process and that Ethiopia is in Somalia at the invitation of the TFG, which is the legitimate government recognised by the AU, UN and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad).
"Ethiopia is committed to withdrawal despite requests by the international community to stay longer in order not to create a vacuum. We will go by our agreement with the TFG because we are there to train the police and other security agents. That is why we have opened an embassy in Mogadishu."

Somalia presidential spokesperson shot
Somalia's presidential spokesperson was shot twice at close range in the latest assassination attempt on government officials Somalia officials said on Tuesday 19 June 2007.

"He was shot in the neck and near the jaw," a security source said. "I think the gunman was aiming for the head. He wanted to eliminate him."

He is reported to be in a stable condition and was to be flown to Nairobi for treatment.

UN Security Council Presidential Statement
"The Security Council reiterates its support for the National Reconciliation Congress as a mechanism for much-needed political dialogue and reconciliation in Somalia. The Security Council calls on the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the National Governance and Reconciliation Committee to ensure that the Congress convenes as soon as practicable. The Security Council appreciates the efforts of Member States and partners to support the early convening of the Congress and calls for further support. The Security Council underscores the importance of the Congress:
· addressing in a comprehensive and meaningful manner issues of political reconciliation, including representation in the Transitional Federal Institutions; and
· agreeing a road map for the remainder of the transitional political process, in line with the Transitional Federal Charter and as laid out in the Roadmap to Governance, National Dialogue, and Reconciliation in Somalia of 14 March 2007.

"The Security Council expresses its grave concern regarding the recent pattern of attacks by extremist elements in Somalia, including the increased use of explosive devices, and condemns all attempts to use violence to undermine the political process and prevent the early convening of the National Reconciliation Congress. The Security Council calls on all Member States to cease immediately any further support for extremist elements or those who seek to block progress by violent means, and to support the ongoing efforts towards inclusive political dialogue. The Security Council recalls its readiness, as set out in its resolution 1744 (2007), to consider measures against those who block progress in the political process and threaten the Transitional Federal Institutions.

"The Security Council condemns the attack on the Prime Minister on 3 June 2007 and the attack on the forces of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in Mogadishu on 16 May 2007. The Security Council expresses its deepest sympathies to the families of the victims.

"The Security Council underlines its appreciation for the efforts of the Ugandan forces currently deployed in Mogadishu under AMISOM and Uganda's invaluable contribution to peace and stability in Somalia. The Security Council reiterates its call on Member States of the African Union to contribute troops for AMISOM, and on other States and partners to provide financial, technical and logistical support for this effort.

"The Security Council emphasizes the urgent need for appropriate contingency planning for a possible United Nations mission, to be deployed in Somalia if the Security Council decided to authorize such a mission. The Security Council looks forward to receiving the report from the Secretary-General regarding progress in this regard by mid-June.

"The Security Council emphasizes again the need for strengthened efforts to provide humanitarian relief assistance to Somalia, including assistance to the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, urges Member States to support generously such operations, and demands that all parties ensure unfettered access for humanitarian assistance."

WESTERN SAHARA

As you will recall, UN Security Council Resolution 1754 (2007) on Western Sahara called on the Secretary-General to initiate direct negotiations between all the parties.

South Africa is happy to note that the Secretary-General convened negotiations between the parties in New York from 18-19 June. The negotiations were facilitated by the Secretary-General's Special Envoy Peter Walsum.

The South African government welcomes talks carried out under United Nations auspices on Western Sahara last week outside of New York, with the participation of representatives of the parties - Morocco and the Frente Polisario - along with neighbours Algeria and Mauritania.

The South African government agrees with the comments of the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe that said today (opening of the meeting) marked the beginning of a new phase in the search for a solution on Western Sahara.

He urged the parties to proceed in good faith and to establish an atmosphere of mutual trust, and expressed the UN's firm commitment to assist in the negotiations, Ms Montas said.

Mr. Pascoe stressed that the stalemate is becoming "intolerable" and that the dispute over Western Sahara must be brought to a conclusion through "a mutually agreed solution that will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara."

The Secretary-General will report to the Council by 30 June with regard to the status and progress of negotiations.

In a communiqué issued after the talks, van Walsum said the parties had agreed to continue their negotiations in Manhasset in the second week of August.

COMORES

Minister Dlamini Zuma will, following the Ministerial meeting of the African Union Countries of the Region on Comores in Cape Town earlier this week, in her capacity as the Chair of the Committee lead a delegation to Comores on Saturday 23 June 2007.

The objective of this visit will be mainly to discuss the current developments in the Comores as well as to prepare for Presidential elections.



MIDDLE EAST

The South African government is deeply concerned about recent developments in occupied Palestine.

The military take over of Gaza by Hamas and the wanton destruction of property cannot be justified. The invasion and ransacking of the late President Arafat's house is inexplicable and it is difficult to understand how any genuine Palestinian patriot could have been party to such activities. We are very concerned that the fighting in Gaza has resulted in the deaths of 210 Palestinians and over 900 wounded.

A report to the UN Security Council indicates there have been many grave violations of humanitarian and human rights law including attacks on hospitals. We believe this cannot be in the interests of the Palestinian people. We therefore fully support the view of the UN Security Council that these actions are unacceptable.

The South African government urges Hamas to end the military occupation of Gaza.

President Mbeki speaking in Parliament last week called on the Palestinians to end the fratricide and went on to say, "The victory (the emergence of a Palestinian State) is not possible on the basis of an internal war for hegemony, fought by the powerless to gain power over the powerless, at great cost to the masses that have placed their hopes in the hands of the leadership of both Fatah and Hamas. The incontrovertible truth is that a just peace with Israel is not possible when Palestine cannot make peace with itself."

According to the Palestinian Basic Law, the President of the National Authority has the right to declare a state of emergency, to dissolve government and institute an emergency government. This emergency government must however be ratified by two thirds of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) if the President wishes it to continue its tenure longer than 30 days it now legally has.

Democratically elected President Abbas, using the basic law, has declared a State of Emergency and formed a new Palestinian Cabinet.

New Palestinian Cabinet
Salam Fayyad Prime minister, finance and foreign affairs
Abdel Razak Yehiyeh Interior, civil affairs
Ziad Abdullah Bandak Agriculture, local government
Khouloud Khalil Deibes Tourism and women Affairs
Mohammed Kamal Hasouneh Economy, public works, telecommunications
Lamis Al-Alami Education and culture
Samir Abdullah Labour
Dr. Abdullah Al-Murghi Health
Riyad Al-Malki Justice and information
Sheik Jamal Mohammed Bawatneh Religious and social affairs
Mashhour Abu Daqqa Transport
Ashraf Eid Al-Ajrami Prisoner affairs, youth and sports

The South African government urges the President and the new Cabinet to take steps to bring about peace and security in Gaza and work towards attaining the unity of Gaza and the West Bank.

We also call on the governments of Egypt, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab League who have been instrumental in efforts to end the factional violence in Palestine to spare no effort to ensure the return of peace and the rule of law in Gaza.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has invited Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah II to attend a summit in Egypt early next week.

A senior aide to President Abbas, Rabbo aid today Thursday 21 June 2007 that the Palestinians demand concrete results from the gathering, and warned that if it ended without results, it would cause more harm than good.

Another senior aide to President Abbas, Saeb Erakat said that President Abbas will call for a resumption of peace talks with Israel at the Summit, arguing that only progress toward Palestinian statehood can serve as a true buffer against Hamas.

"The most important thing is to realise is that time is of the essence," Erakat said. "We need to deliver the end of occupation, a Palestinian state. If we don't have hope, Hamas will export despair to the people."

As immediate steps, Erakat said, President Abbas will ask Israel to remove West Bank checkpoints that disrupt daily life and trade and to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars in Palestinian tax funds Israel froze after Hamas came to power last year.

Comments by UN Secretary-General
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced concern on Tuesday 19 June 2007 about the continuing humanitarian problems in the Gaza Strip as he held talks by telephone with Middle East leaders - Prime Minister Salam Fayyad of the Palestinian National Authority, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian Foreign Minister Daoud Khattab - about the ongoing crisis in the region.

During those talks Mr. Ban and the leaders discussed the humanitarian situation inside Gaza, where recent fighting between members of the Fatah and Hamas movements has left dozens of people dead and severely hampered international relief operations, which a large segment of the local population depends on for daily sustenance.

The discussions also focused on security and political issues, with Mr. Ban reaffirming his support for Mr. Abbas and the need for a two-State solution in the Middle East, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security.

In an extraordinary meeting held on 15 June 2006, the Arab League decided, amongst other issues, to "respect the Palestinian national legitimacy under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as to respect the legitimate institutions of the Palestinian National Authority stemming from the PLO, including the elected Palestinian Legislative Council; and to adhere to a unified Palestinian stance in order to protect the rights of the Palestinian people that have been put at risk".

Statement of the Quartet
Following is the text of the statement by the Quartet Principals - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. 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 -- on their June 15 telephone call:

In a telephone call on June 15, Quartet Principals shared their deep concern over the welfare and security of all Palestinians -- especially those in Gaza, whose lives have been most seriously affected by the ongoing crisis. The Quartet expressed its support for efforts to meet the humanitarian needs of Palestinians and called for respect for the human rights of all those in Gaza and the safety and security of international workers. It called for an urgent end to the violence, and the cooperation of all parties to ensure appropriate security and access conditions for the passage of humanitarian goods and personnel both within the Gaza Strip and at key crossing points.

The Quartet expressed understanding and support for President Abbas' decisions to dissolve the Cabinet and declare an emergency, given the grave circumstances. The Quartet recognized the necessity and legitimacy of these decisions, taken under Palestinian law, and welcomed President Abbas' stated intention to consult the Palestinian people at the appropriate time. The Quartet noted its continuing support for other legitimate Palestinian institutions.

The Quartet supports the efforts of responsible regional states to help calm the situation, and will continue to promote a negotiated, comprehensive, just and lasting Middle East peace in line with relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Western powers vow to back Abbas government
Western powers said on Monday 18 June 2007 they would end a 15-month-old embargo on the Palestinians.

Abbas told US President George Bush by phone that the time had arrived to resume serious peace talks.

"The government will pursue its jurisdiction over all parts of the homeland, regardless of what happened in Gaza," Abbas's Information Minister, Riyad al-Malki, told reporters after the new government met in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Humanitarian Catastrophe
This violence has meant that Gaza is being totally strangled. The UN World Food Programme on Tuesday 19 June 2007 sent its first shipment of food aid into Gaza since the latest wave of unrest, which forced many aid agencies to suspend operations and Israel to close border crossings.

Two trucks carrying 51 metric tons of food have crossed the border between Israel and Gaza and more are expected to follow later today.

WFP has warned that commercial food stocks in Gaza are depleting quickly, with stocks having already run out in some areas, due in part to panic buying of stable goods, and expected to run extremely low in other areas within two weeks.

Despite the effort a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Gaza.

The South African government urges the Israeli government to lift the severe restrictions of the freedom of movement of the Palestinians and release Palestinian tax funds.

The South African government also urges the international community to lift sanctions.

NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION

IRAN

There have been no major developments but we look forward to the meeting of the EU Foreign Policy Advisor Javier Solana and Mr Larijani, the Chief Iranian Nuclear Negotiator on Saturday 23 June 2007.

Questions and answers

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, regarding South Africa's mediation in Zimbabwe - is it correct that talks will resume in Pretoria on Friday? Can you give us an indication of what is happening with the talks?
Answer As the Department of Foreign Affairs, we are not aware of any meeting that has taken place. We know from the newspaper reports, and if you look at page 1 of the Star today, that sources from Zimbabwe have indicated that a meeting did take place and that agreement has been reached on the agenda items.

My only knowledge has come from the article on page 1 of The Star. This is all I am aware of and all I can confirm.

It is however clear that, despite our commitment to not discuss the processes, that information is being leaked.

President Mbeki is scheduled to brief SADC at the end of the month according to media reports. I suspect this meeting will take place on the fringes of the AU Summit in Ghana.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, just for clarity, are you saying that definitely did not sit in on any talks?
Answer That is what I am saying.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, there are reports from Portuguese media that the Portuguese Foreign Minister has said that Zimbabwe would not be welcome to participate in the EU-Africa Summit at the end of the year. What is your view on this matter?
Answer We are looking for more clarity on this matter from the Portuguese Foreign Minister. As you know, Minister Dlamini Zuma did meet with the Foreign Minister recently and also held discussions with the EU Troika in Brussels and the matter of the Summit to be held in Lisbon in December was discussed.

Question Deputy Minister, is it your determination that Zimbabwe should be at the Summit?
Answer As you know, since the Cairo Summit no further Summit has taken place because of Europe's insistence that President Mugabe not attend. The decision of the African Union and prior to that the OAU is that it would be incorrect for our delegation to be determined by others.

There are so many issues that we need to discuss between Africa and the Europeans but we should not impose conditions.

If the matter of Zimbabwe is such an emotive one for so many countries, then we believe it should be on the agenda of the meetings.

Question Deputy Minister, has South Africa been approached by the UN for additional troops to the UN Force or the AMIS?
Answer Given the constraints on our own resources we are in constant touch through our Ministries of Defence. We will, if we have the capacity, see how we can best contribute to the hybrid force.

Question Deputy Minister, regarding Sudan - is it realistic that all 17000 of the troops for the hybrid force will be African?
Answer There is a general feeling, especially with the participation of North Africa, that Africa can manage to supply the 17000 troops. Failing this, we will have to look at our options. I think there is no objection to troops coming from Latin America and Asia. This matter is being discussed by the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

21 June 2007


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