Notes following IRPS Cluster Media Briefing, Media Centre, Amphitheatre,
Union Buildings, Thursday 5 July 2007
PRESIDENT MBEKI'S VISIT TO CÔTE
The South African government condemns the assassination
attempt on Prime Minister Soros. As a consequence, the Côte d'Ivorian Flame
of Peace Ceremony scheduled for Bouake yesterday Wednesday 4 July 2007 has been
postponed by the government of Côte d'Ivoire. This Ceremony would have marked
the launch of the disarmament process throughout Côte d'Ivoire.
President Mbeki's visit to Côte d'Ivoire has now been postponed to a later
date in July this year. The date of the Ceremony will be announced by the Côte
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MLAMBO-NGCUKA TO PAY OFFICIAL
VISIT TO KENYA
South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
will on Friday 6 July 2007 depart for Nairobi, Kenya where she is scheduled to
present an address on the impact of HIV and AIDS on African Women at a YWCA hosted
conference scheduled for later in the day.
Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka
will participate in this Conference within the context of her chairpersonship
of the South African National Aids Council which promotes the vision of an HIV
and AIDS free Africa.
While in Kenya, on Saturday 7 July 2007, Deputy President
Mlambo-Ngcuka will participate in the official launch of the SABC's East Africa
Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka is expected to return to South Africa
on Saturday 7 July 2007.
MINISTER DLAMINI ZUMA TO LAUNCH SA-BELARUS JOINT
South African Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma,
on conclusion of the African Union Summit in Ghana, on Wednesday 4 July 2007 departed
from Accra for Minsk, Belarus for bilateral discussions and the launch of the
South Africa - Belarus Joint Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic
Co-operation (ITEC) scheduled for Thursday - Saturday 5-7 July 2007. Minister
Dlamini Zuma will be hosted by her Belarusian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergei
Minister Dlamini Zuma, accompanied by Minister Buyelwa
Sonjica and Deputy Minister Rob Davies, will visit Belarus within the context
of South Africa's commitment to consolidate bilateral political, economic and
trade relations with Belarus.
Bilateral discussions between Ministers Dlamini
Zuma and Sergei Martynov are expected to include, among others:
status of bilateral political, economic and trade relations between both countries
including areas of future engagement and co-operation;
- Belarusian support
for the promotion of the African agenda;
- Nuclear non-proliferation and
- The conflict in the Middle East; and
between the two countries in multilateral fora including the United Nations and
the comprehensive reform of the United Nations.
The South Africa
- Belarus ITEC was signed into law in August 2006 and will be launched in Minsk
on Thursday 5 July 2007.
The ITEC consists of the following sub-committees:
Minerals and Energy, Science and Technology and Trade, Investment and Banking.
These committees will investigate further areas of co-operation between both countries.
her visit, Minister Dlamini Zuma will on Friday 6 July 2007 receive the award
of Honorary Professor of the Belarusian State University.
While in Belarus,
Minister Dlamini Zuma is also expected to pay a courtesy call on President Aleksander
Lukashenko, meet with the Chairperson of the House of Representatives of the National
Assembly, and the Deputy Chairperson of the "Belarusian Women's Union".
Dlamini Zuma is expected to return to South Africa on Sunday 8 July 2007.
Since 2001, our bilateral trade with Belarus has
been increasing but it is our view that the potential for economic development
and interaction with South Africa remains significant, and has, and still could
present South African businesses with excellent opportunities.
bilateral trade as per Belarusian 2006 statistics is US$ 15 million. South African
imports of potassium fertilisers (main import), refrigerators, flax fabrics and
spare truck and tractors parts amount to US$ 6 Million. Belarus also exports fully
assembled low cost agricultural tractors and large dump trucks for the mining
industry. South African exports of diamonds, veneer sheets, organic chemicals,
vehicle spare parts and capital goods amounted to US$ 4 Million.
Minister Dlamini Zuma's visit will give impetus to our trade relations with Belarus
and indeed, other countries in the region.
Trade between South Africa
and Belarus (all figures in ZAR)
All figures R' 000
|SA Exports ||1
191 || 1 841||1
590|| 2 410||2 401||2
292||6 260|| 2 681||20
246||9 042||12 315|
DEPUTY MINISTER AZIZ PAHAD TO DEPART ON 4-NATION
Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad, and Deputy Finance Minister
Jabu Moleketi will on Friday 6 July 2007 depart on a three-nation South American
visit to Cuba, Panama, and Mexico. The delegation will also visit Spain before
returning to South Africa on Thursday 19 July 2007.
The South African delegation
will visit South America and Spain within the context of South Africa's priority
consolidate bilateral political, economic and trade relations with Cuba, Panama,
Mexico and Spain.
Deputy Ministers Pahad and Moleketi
will visit Havana, Cuba from Saturday - Wednesday 7-11 July 2007 during which
Deputy Minister Pahad will together with his Cuban counterpart Deputy Foreign
Minister Bruno Rodriguez co-chair the 5th session of the Joint Consultative Mechanism
between South Africa and Cuba Tuesday - Wednesday 10-11 July 2007.
on the agenda of this session of the Joint Consultative Mechanism are expected
to include, among others:
- The status of bilateral political and economic
relations between South Africa and Cuba;
- Updates on the current situation
in Cuba and South Africa;
- Perspectives on regional developments in Latin
America and the Caribbean, SADC and Africa;
- Areas of trilateral co-operation
between South Africa and Cuba;
- Peace and security challenges in Africa;
within the Non-Aligned Movement;
- The comprehensive reform of the United
Nations and South Africa's tenure of the non-permanent seat on the United Nations
Security Council; and
- Progress towards the 2008 African Union Diaspora
Conference to be hosted by South Africa.
While in Cuba, Deputy Minister
Pahad will also brief resident Africa and Middle Eastern Ambassadors on "Developments
in Africa and the Middle East."
Deputy Ministers Pahad and Moleketi
will depart from Cuba on Wednesday 11 July 2007 for Panama.
Ministers Pahad and Moleketi will visit Panama from Wednesday - Thursday 11-12
July 2007 during which Deputy Minister Pahad will hold bilateral political and
economic discussions with the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ricardo Duran on
Thursday 12 July 2007.
Deputy Minister Moleketi is expected to hold discussions
with the Vice Minister of Finance Orcila Vega de Constable.
Issues on the
agenda of discussions between Deputy Minister Pahad and Vice Minister Duran are
expected to include, among others:
- The status of bilateral political
and economic relations between both countries;
- A briefing on developments
in the Latin American and SADC regions;
- Increased South-South co-operation;
- Co-operation between both countries in multilateral fora including
the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 + China.
Ministers Pahad and Moleketi will depart from Panama and Thursday 12 July 2007
Deputy Ministers Pahad and Moleketi will
visit Mexico from Thursday - Saturday 12-14 July 2007 during which Deputy Minister
Pahad will on Friday 13 July 2007 hold bilateral political and economic discussions
with his counterpart Mexican Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Maria de Lourdes
Issues on the agenda of discussions between Deputy Minister
Pahad and Undersecretary Bezaury are expected to include, among others:
status of bilateral political and economic relations between both countries;
affairs in Latin America and the Caribbean and SADC and the African Union;
co-operation in the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of
77 + China.
Deputy Ministers Pahad and Moleketi are expected to depart
from Mexico on Saturday 14 July 2007 ahead of their visit to Spain.
Ministers Pahad and Moleketi will visit Madrid, Spain from Saturday - Wednesday
14-18 July 2007 during which Deputy Minister Pahad will together with his counterpart
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Bernadino Leon Gross, co-chair the 4th
session of the South Africa - Spain Annual Political Consultations on Tuesday
17 July 2007.
Issues on the agenda of discussions are expected to include,
- An overview of the current status of and prospects for
increased bilateral political and economic relations;
- The African agenda
- An evaluation of the Spanish Africa Plan;
Post conflict reconstruction and development with regard to the Democratic Republic
of Congo, Darfur, Côte d'Ivoire, Western Sahara, Equatorial Guinea and Somalia;
The outcomes of the recently concluded African Union Summit;
Union - European Union relations with particular reference to the forthcoming
African Union - European Union Summit in Lisbon at the end of 2007;
conflict in the Middle East including Israel and Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq;
- Nuclear non-proliferation;
- An assessment of developments in the
Latin American region; and
- The comprehensive reform of the United Nations
and South Africa's tenure of the non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security
Deputy Ministers Pahad and Moleketi are expected to return
to South Africa on Thursday 19 July 2007,
TERRORIST ATTACKS IN GLASGOW
by the South African government on the attack at Glasgow Airport
African government condemns the terrorist attack which took place at Glasgow airport
in Great Britain as well as the attempt to explode car bombs in London on Friday
29 June 2007.
We again reiterate our view that no cause can justify such
acts of terrorism and indeed, such actions only serve against the causes perpetrators
are hoping to gain support for.
The latest acts of terrorism reinforce the
view of the South African government that we need a holistic approach to dealing
The international community must more vigorously implement
the global strategy against terrorism adopted last year by the General Assembly.
OF BBC REPORT ALAN JOHNSTON
The South African government welcomes the
release of BBC Reporter Alan Johnston on Wednesday 4 July 2007 in Gaza.
the South African government reiterates calls for the release of the Israeli soldier
Shalit who was captured by some Palestinian groups in July 2006 and all other
Palestinian and Syrian detainees.
We believe this will create a better environment
for movement forward in what is a very difficult situation in the Middle East.
You are aware that the long awaited Grand Debate on the
African government in Ghana has now been concluded.
We are generally happy
with the outcome of this Summit.
It has clearly been reiterated that the
ultimate objective of the African Union is the United States of Africa with a
Union Government. However, we need to do more as a process to achieve this objective.
of Accra Summit
The Assembly of the Union,
meeting at its 9th Ordinary Session in Accra, Ghana from 1-3 July 2007,
our decision Assembly/AU/Dec 156 (VIII) adopted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January
2007 on the need for a "Grand Debate on the Union Government" with a
view to providing a clear vision of the future of the African Union and of African
Convinced that the ultimate objective of the African Union is the
United States of Africa with a Union Government as envisaged by the founding fathers
of the Organisation of African Union and, in particular, the visionary leader
Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana;
Also convinced of the need for common responses
to the major challenges of globalisation facing Africa and boosting regional integration
processes through an effective continental mechanism;
Recognising that opening
up narrow domestic markets to greater trade and investment through freer movement
of persons, goods, services and capital would accelerate growth thus, reducing
excessive weaknesses of many of our Member States;
Further recognising that
the Union Government should be built on common values that need to be identified
and agreed upon as benchmarks;
Acknowledging the importance of involving
the African peoples in order to ensure that the African Union is a Union of peoples
and not just a "Union of States and governments", as well as the African
Diaspora in the processes of economic and political integration of our continent;
declare as follows:
1. There is a need to accelerate the economic and political
integration of the African continent, including the formation of a Union Government
2. The ultimate objective of the African Union is to create the
United States of Africa.
3. We reiterate our earlier decision on the rationalisation
and strengthening of the Regional Economic Communities and the harmonisation of
their activities so as to lead to the creation of an African Common Market, through
the stages set in the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community (Abuja
Treaty), with a reviewed and shorter timeframe to be agreed upon in order to accelerate
the economic integration.
4. We agree on the roadmap to attaining the Union
Government as follows:
- To conduct immediately, an Audit of the Executive
Council in terms of Article 10 of the Constitutive Act, the Commission as well
as the other organs of the African Union in accordance with the Terms of Reference
adopted by the 10th Extraordinary Session of our Executive Council held in Zimbali,
South Africa on 10 May 2007.
- To commission detailed studies on the following:
of the contents of the Union Government concept and its relations with national
- Identification of domains of competence and the impact of
its establishment on the sovereignty of member states;
- Definition of the
relationship between the Union Government and the Regional Economic Communities;
of a roadmap and timeframe for establishing the Union Government; and
of additional sources of financing the activities of the Union.
The outcome of the studies will be submitted to a Committee of Heads of State
and Government which will make appropriate recommendations to the next ordinary
session of our Assembly.
6. We agree on the importance of involving the African
peoples, including Africans in the Diaspora, in the processes leading to the formation
of the Union Government.
Done in Accra this 3rd Day of July 2007
by Deputy Minister Pahad: There seems to be general agreement that the objective
of the African Union government has been agreed to by all. However, much work
needs to be done before this can be achieved.
There are some countries
who did argue that the establishment of five ministries - Foreign Affairs, Defence,
Health, Trade and Infrastructure Development - would help us to move faster towards
this objective of a Union Government. This notion was however rejected by the
What is significant is that the Deputy Secretary General of the
United Nations, speaking on behalf of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at
the Summit, underlined some of Africa's concerns when she said, "However,
Africa is still lagging behind the rest of the world in achieving our common development
The challenges remain daunting:
- Overall, the number
of people living in extreme poverty in Africa is rising, although the increase
has levelled off slightly since 1999;
- Child mortality rates have fallen,
but only marginally to 166 per 1,000 live births. This is nowhere near the objective
of a two thirds reduction by 2015;
- Maternal mortality rates remain shockingly
high. A woman in Africa has a 1 in 16 chance to die in childbirth or from complications
in pregnancy, compared with a likelihood of 1 in 3,800 in the developed world.
stark figures should stir us all to scale up our efforts to achieve the Goals.
This year marks the midpoint between the adoption of the Goals and the target
date of 2015 by which we have committed ourselves to achieve them. That makes
it especially important for there to be more resolute efforts, and deeper partnerships,
to reduce poverty, to address the needs in health, education and other sectors
and to promote gender equality.
On the development front more broadly, the
Secretary-General and I will make specific efforts to ensure that implementation
of the MDGs is intensified. Against this background, the Secretary-General, during
last month's G-8 summit in Germany, launched the MDG Africa Steering Group, which
brings together the leaders of United Nations entities, international financial
institutions and the African Union Commission. The Steering Group will work closely
with donors and developing countries to provide a vital new impetus for a continent-wide
scaling up of interventions.
The African Union Mission in the Sudan has
had a significant impact on the ground, but it lacks the capacity to meet the
extraordinary challenges of protecting civilians and bringing stability to Darfur.
The Secretary-General appreciates the collaboration between the United Nations,
the African Union and the Government of Sudan. We are pleased that the Government
of Sudan has finally accepted the African Union-United Nations hybrid operation.
We must urgently proceed with this undertaking. The deployment of the hybrid operation
will be unprecedented, and will constitute a new chapter in our joint efforts
to address the continent's peace and security challenges.
But we must also
seek to resolve the root causes of the conflict in Darfur. The African Union and
the United Nations are working closely together to reinvigorate the political
process and bring a negotiated solution to the Darfur crisis.
At the same
time, we must not allow our efforts in Darfur to diminish our resolve to take
forward the crucial Comprehensive Peace Agreement for Sudan as a whole.
adoption in the year 2005 of the United Nations Ten-Year Capacity Building Programme
for the African Union was followed last year by the Declaration on "Enhancing
UN-AU Cooperation". The Programme and Declaration reflect our joint commitment
to find more effective ways to advance peace and security in Africa.
United Nations is working with the African Union to develop a standby force capable
of rapid deployment. The ultimate objective is to develop a new peace and security
architecture that can contribute to preventing conflict and maintaining durable
peace on the continent.
It is heartening that the Peace and Security Council
of the African Union and the United Nations Security Council, meeting together
in Addis Ababa just a few days ago, committed themselves to the development of
a stronger and more structured relationship in the areas of conflict prevention,
conflict management and resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
effectively address these challenges and the other pressing issues facing Africa,
the United Nations system is committed to working together in ever closer partnership
with you. Together, let us redouble our efforts to advance development, to improve
peace and security and to strengthen respect for human rights on the African continent.
have built a highly fruitful collaboration in a wide range of areas, from peacekeeping
to the fight against AIDS. Let us strengthen and replicate these bonds as we strive
to achieve our common objectives."
Another significant development
at the Summit has been the launch of African Infrastructure Fund on Sunday 1 July
2007 at an African Union summit in Ghana.
This fund was launched based on
a decision that Africa should mobilise its own resources for African development.
public and private investors plan to finance highways, hydro-power dams and other
infrastructure through a continent-wide fund that puts hard cash behind the goal
of a more united Africa.
"This is a fund by Africans for the benefit
of Africans," South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said.
Ghanaian Foreign Minister Nana Akufo Addo, said the home-grown initiative
was a break from the tradition of African states "holding their hands out
for alms" from the world.
The fund's chief executive, Tshepo Mahloele,
said mostly South African public and private investors, including banks and pension
funds, had already committed $625m to the first long-term equity fund of its kind
in Africa. "The goal of the fund is to raise $1.2bn," he added.
is our view that this initiative would provide long-term financing for cross-border
energy, transport, telecoms, water and sanitation projects. Other investment instruments
- quasi-equity, structured finance and high-yielding debt - would be considered.
The fund, whose start-up investors include the South African government-owned
Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and Ghana's Social Security and National Insurance
Trust (SSNIT), was now looking for more investors and financing partners inside
and outside the continent.
"We've got a lot of international interest.
We've got the Singaporean pension funds looking, we've scheduled engagements with
American institutions, and also some of the regular development finance institutions,"
"We have set ourselves the next 12 months to get to
the $1.2bn," Mahloele added, saying the funds had made a point of obtaining
its initial commitments from African institutions.
"It is unlikely
that we will get anyone to invest on the continent unless Africans start investing
themselves," he said.
Mahloele said the fund, which was based in South
Africa but would open offices in the main geographical regions of the continent,
had more than 19 possible infrastructure deals in the pipeline.
the projects under consideration included an airport in West Africa, a toll road
in Nigeria, a gas scheme in Namibia, a satellite covering the whole of Sub-Saharan
Africa and investment in the massive Inga hydro-electric dam in the Democratic
Republic of Congo.
"Of our five top projects, what we call our A list,
we're sure that we should be able to close two within the next 12 to 18 months,"
Countries such as Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria, Botswana and
Tanzania, were looking at amending their legislation and regulations to allow
national pension funds to invest abroad so they could join the initiative.
said the time was ripe for the launch of such an investment vehicle, allowing
African pension funds to invest resources on their own continent and contribute
to easing the region's huge infrastructure deficit, which was hampering development.
by Deputy Minister Pahad: This is a very important development because for the
first time we have an African Fund that will support African development. We will
use our own resources and partner with other agencies to achieve our objectives.)
2007 Report on Progress towards Achieving MDGs
2007 report on progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)
is pessimistic on Africa's chances of achieving the targets overall, but notes
that the number of extreme poor has increased only marginally - from 296 million
in 1999 to 298 million in 2004, despite a population growth rate of 2.3%.
addition, the proportion of people living on US$1 a day or less has fallen from
45.9% to 41.1% since 1999; however, achieving the MDG target of halving the extent
of extreme poverty on the continent by 2015 means the pace of reduction has to
Significantly, once again, the report indicated that it is
important that developed countries meet their official aid commitments otherwise,
even the modest the gains made thus far would be eroded. "We do not want
the donor countries must meet, in their entirety, the commitments
already made." Only five donor countries have reached or exceeded the long-standing
UN target of donating 0.7%of gross national income being to development aid -
Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
As I have previously
indicated, and what is now reflected in this report, is that the reality is that
total official development assistance fell in real terms by 5.1% between 2005
and 2006, the first decline since 1997, despite pledges by the G8 industrialised
nations at the Gleneagles summit in 2005 to double aid to Africa by 2010. It is
therefore clear that we will not meet this target.
Worldwide, the proportion
of people living on $1 a day has dropped from 32% (1.25 billion in 1990) to 19%
(980 million in 2004). According to the report, if that trend continues, the "MDG
poverty reduction target will be met for the world as a whole and for most regions".
Other signs of progress globally are an increase in primary school enrolment
- from 80% in 1991 to 88% in 2005; a greater number of women in politics and government;
a decline in child mortality, mainly through interventions against measles, for
example; a boost in anti-malaria measures; and progress against tuberculosis,
albeit insufficient to achieve the target of halving prevalence and death rates
Asia has made dramatic progress in eradicating extreme poverty
and hunger, halving the proportion of people living on $1 a day, according to
the report, and is thus comfortably on track to achieving the first MDG. However,
this gain comes with increased income inequality within countries and across regions.
In southern Asia, almost 30 percent of people still live on $1 day while
in eastern Asia the share of income of the poorest fifth of the population had
fallen from 7.3% in 1990 to 4.5 percent in 2004. Improvements in child nutrition
rates and gender equality in southern and south-eastern Asia were also poor: southern
Asia shared with sub-Saharan Africa the highest number of maternal deaths and
the lowest proportion of skilled health attendants at birth.
gains made towards some MDGs in Asia would be limited by challenges in other areas,
such as deforestation, unplanned urbanisation, and the fast rate of growth of
HIV/AIDS in some regions, stated the report.
On the positive side, northern
Africa is on track to achieving most of the eight MDGs, with poverty rates down
from 2.6% to 1.4% between 1990 and 2004; income inequality the lowest among all
developing regions; significant gains in universal primary education, with enrolment
ratios at 95 percent in 2005; and child mortality down from 88 deaths per 1,000
births in 1990 to 35 in 2005. Only gender equality and empowerment of women let
the region down, the report found.
ECOSOC and the Millennium Development
There have been some important developments within ECOSOC and
presents us with another instrument through which to address developmental challenges.
The South African government welcomes ECOSOC's bold new initiatives to
re-energize its functions and to rejuvenate its mission. It is now better prepared
for being the mechanism to devise and oversee development policies and practices.
creation of the Annual Ministerial Reviews and the Development Cooperation Forum
are important initiatives. The Ministerial Reviews will enable the Council to
better assess national progress towards the internationally agreed development
goals. The new Development Cooperation Forum can help countries to better gear
international development cooperation towards achieving these goals.
United Nations Secretary-General's analytical report for the Ministerial Review,
as well as The Millennium Development Goals Report 2007, "shows that progress
towards the Development Goals has been slow in some of the world's poorest countries,
particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. However, its main message remains encouraging:
the Millennium Development Goals remain achievable in most countries, but only
if political leaders take urgent and concerted action.
Countries in Africa
and elsewhere are demonstrating that rapid and large-scale progress on the MDGs
is possible. As this weeks national presentations on implementation experiences
will show, it flows from strong Government leadership and sound governance good
policies. It requires practical strategies for scaling up investments in key areas.
And it needs adequate financial and technical support from the international community.
has also shown that successful national development strategies must be aligned
with the MDGs through internal effort -- not imposed from outside. Such strategies
should be coupled with a broad-based and balanced macroeconomic policy that fosters
growth and employment creation. Decent jobs, especially for women and youth, provide
the strongest link between economic growth and poverty reduction. Their generation
must become a higher national policy priority, along with related efforts to enhance
productive capacity and improve access to markets.
All of this will simply
not occur without adequate financing, much of which has to flow from a strengthened
global partnership for development.
I cannot stress strongly enough the
need for developed nations to keep their promises. They have to meet the 0.7 per
cent official development assistance target. Today, I urge donors to issue timelines
for scaling up aid to reach their target commitments by 2010 and 2015."
they do so, they must also address the disparities in the global trade regime,
which handcuff so many developing nations. The world desperately needs a successful
conclusion to the Doha trade negotiations. Existing trade barriers, agricultural
subsidies and restrictive rules on intellectual property rights reinforce global
inequities -- and they make a mockery of our tall claims to eliminate hunger and
poverty from our world.
The time to convert existing promises into actual
progress is now. We must convert the "global partnership for development"
into more than a catchy slogan, and turn it into fact, so as to address the most
pressing development issues of our day, from climate change to trade and aid.
By acting now, we can still deliver by the 2015 deadline.
That is the task
facing this Council, as well as the entire international system. I am confident
that today's ECOSOC can and will come through, and provide the leadership and
guidance that we all seek.
For my part, I will spare no effort to ensure
that the entire United Nations system functions in a coherent, effective and efficient
way for our Member States, and for all the ordinary people whose hopes and aspirations
rest with us.
UN SUPPORT FOR PEACEKEEPING
The South African
government Welcomes General Assembly's Approval Of Peacekeeping Operations' Restructuring
To Promote Effectiveness And Oversight
Peacekeeping is one of the key issues
being discussed in the United Nations Security Council and one in which South
Africa is keenly involved. We believe the new proposals that are emerging will
enable us to more effectively use UN institutions to deal with peacekeeping and
The proposals approved by the General Assembly
include a restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations; the establishment
of a separate Department of Field Support, headed by an Under-Secretary-General;
a major augmentation of working-level resources in both departments and in other
parts of the Secretariat; and new capacities as well as integrated structures
to match the growing complexity of mandated activities.
The approved reform
package has been carefully crafted to ensure that the two Departments, the Department
of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support, will work in harmony,
so as to provide unity of command, coherence in policy and strategy and operational
efficiency, while promoting the overall effectiveness and oversight of peacekeeping
Through this resolution, Member States have reaffirmed the importance
they attach to United Nations peacekeeping, and demonstrated their willingness
to substantially invest in bolstering the Secretariat's capacity in this key endeavour.
The Peacebuilding Commission which was created which was created as one
of the reforms to United Nations operations proposed by the September 2005 World
Summit in New York to support societies recovering from the devastation of war
-- had shown in its first year that the consolidation of peace must be based on
both national ownership and international partnership. The efforts to consolidate
peace and development must be based on the needs and perspectives of the countries
The Commission has co-operated with Governments and institutions
as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Community and
the Organization of the Islamic Conference, to agree on modalities to ensure the
tapping of the resources and skills of civil society. Members of the Commission
had focused their first efforts on the challenges facing Burundi and Sierra Leone,
and the entire United Nations system would support the integrated strategic peacebuilding
processes for both countries, for which funding envelopes of $35 million had already
The Security Council increasingly integrates the work of
the Commission into its own work.
The Commission recognizes the link between
poverty, weak State capacity and conflict. It had ensured that its priorities
included job creation, especially for youth, capacity development and delivery
of basic social services. By making substantial progress in those areas the Commission
could ensure the sustainability of national peacebuilding efforts.
Oshima (Japan) is the new Chairman. Carmen Maria Gallardo Hernandez (El Salvador)
and Leslie Kojo Christian (Ghana) are Vice-Chairpersons for the session that will
end in June 2008.
South Africa believes that it will be important, in the
second year, to deliver tangible results, with the country-specific approach remaining
at the core, he said. Working methods should be streamlined as more countries
were taken into consideration and standard operating procedures developed where
possible. The Commission could also act as a focal point for best practices in
peacebuilding, and should take on cross-cutting issues such as rule of law and
security sector reform.
Affect of Armed Conflict on Civilians
Africa is deeply concerned about the effect of armed conflict on civilians, especially
women and children. International humanitarian law demands the protection of civilians.
Security Council Open Debate on Civilians in Armed Conflict took place on Friday
22 June 2007.
General Assembly Resolution 46/182, amongst others, highlights
the important value that humanitarian assistance should be provided in accordance
with the principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality and consequently
that assistance should not be given due to geopolitical considerations.
debate highlighted the three main areas of concern: the targeting of civilians
and indiscriminate firing, forced displacement and lack of access and security
for humanitarian workers.
Other issues raised were that of gender-based
violence and the necessity fo end the culture of impunity and the need to strengthen
the protection of civilians. Rule of law and judicial redress are key and greater
participation by women in all aspects of protection, including peacekeeping, would
substantially improve attitudes regarding sexual violence.
For the first
time since 2002, the number of refugees worldwide has increased surging to 9.9
million at the end of 2006 primarily because of refugee flows from Iraq.
that need action include: security for displaced persons and host communities,
ensuring access to those in need and a secure environment for relief workers,
strengthening the rule of law, protection of women and girls, preventing recruitment
of child soldiers, mine action, and action on disarmament, demobilization and
The South African government welcomes the increasingly widespread
acceptance of these principles, together with the existence of institutions and
staff specifically charged with monitoring and, where possible, ensuring their
observance was a huge step forward. This was in line with the General Assembly's
agreement at the 2005 World Summit.
South Africa welcomes the call on the
international community to invest more in conflict prevention, facilitating political
solution through increased mediation capacity and support to help resolve conflict
and immediate post-conflict measures to prevent rapid relapse into conflict.
should avoid the politicisation of humanitarian assistance and in this context,
we urge the international community to not ignore the occupied Palestinian Territory
in Gaza. The Head of the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian Territory said that the humanitarian situation
in the Gaza Strip could worsen unless Israel ceases with restrictions and closures
at its border crossings with the area. South Africa supports the call by OCHA
for the reopening of Karni crossing, the main commercial crossing point into Gaza.
Africa supports the work of the International Criminal Court and the various international
tribunals and believes that all perpetrators, regardless of nationality and geopolitical
status, should be properly and fairly tried. It is therefore hoped that addressing
the challenges of protecting civilians in armed conflict be done in a way that
would increase respect for the principles of international humanitarian, human
rights and refugee law, human dignity and the legitimacy of the United Nations.
Africa also raised the importance of co-operation and co-ordination between the
Security Council and regional organisations especially the African Union to better
protect and offer humanitarian assistance and the need to include the protection
of civilians in armed conflict in the mandates of peacekeeping operations as is
already the case with regard to the protection of women and children in armed
AFRICA - EUROPEAN UNION CO-OPERATION
Union - Africa Summit
We are happy to report that Africa - European
Union discussions towards the next AU-EU Summit are progressing well.
is indicated by the comments of the Portuguese Prime Minister, who ahead of Portugal's
accession to EU Chair said, "Portugal proposes to convene the second EU-Africa
summit in December. Europe has not had a structured institutional dialogue with
Africa for seven years - an incomprehensible failing in European foreign policy.
If there is one country that must take a stand against this and do everything
to overcome the situation, it is Portugal. We were already central to the first,
and last, Summit in Cairo in 2000 and we want yet again to be the foundation for
a new strategic partnership between Europe and Africa, aimed at sustainable development,
peace, combating endemic diseases and a balanced and mutually advantageous management
of migratory flows."
You can also add to this the perceived challenge
China proposes and an issue that is high on the agenda of many European and American
The Summits have previously not taken place because of the European
insistence to determine Africa's delegation, viz. the invitation to Zimbabwe.
We hope that this statement by the Prime Minister indicates that Europe is committed
to holding the Summit without determining who from Africa should attend.
positive sign has been that the European Commission has announced a new EU-Africa
Strategy that outlines a long-term partnership that will focus on trade, aid and
position the 27-member EU bloc to access energy and oil resources from Africa,
has been unveiled.
"Sustained economic growth and political reform
mean that Africa is increasingly emerging as a key political player in its own
right. The EU and Africa are looking to strengthen their political partnership
to embrace these recent changes.
"To fully adapt to the new reality,
the EU intends to take its future relations with Africa beyond the traditional
donor-recipient relationship. It is hoped that a new strategy will be adopted
in December at a joint summit in Lisbon.
To this end, the EU commission
has published its vision for the future of EU-Africa relations:
development - working together on political matters of common concern and interest
- Beyond Africa - looking beyond Africa towards the rest of the world
fragmentation - the African Union will be considered the central political player
- Beyond institutions - dialogue and partnership will be taken beyond Brussels
and Addis Ababa
The Lisbon summit will focus on a number of significant
initiatives, including sustainable and efficient management of energy resources;
limiting climate change (expected to hit developing countries the hardest); migration
policy; plans for a governance forum, and structured political dialogue between
In preparation for the summit, commission President Barroso
and Development Commissioner Louis Michel attended the African Union Summit in
Ghana on 1-3 July.
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL VISIT TO AFRICA
of Mission to Africa Report on Visits to Sudan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire,
Democratic Republic of Congo
With the Government of the Sudan having agreed
unconditionally to support the deployment of a hybrid United Nations-African Union
peacekeeping force in the conflict-ridden Darfur region, it was necessary to build
on the successes achieved in Khartoum, the co-leaders of a recent Security Council
mission to Africa said as they briefed the wider Council membership on the week-long
"So far so good," Emyr Jones Parry (United Kingdom) said
of Khartoum's decision to allow the deployment after months of on-again-off-again
negotiations and mounting international pressure. While the improved tone of the
recent talks was a good sign, "we got where we are today by sustained pressure
for what we need to do in Darfur", the western region of the Sudan where
the efforts of some 7,000 African Union peacekeepers had been hampered by a lack
of equipment and funding.
To pave the way for the proposed 20,000-strong
hybrid force, Member States and the Council must work constructively with Khartoum
to ensure the deployment, he stressed, noting at the same time that the Sudanese
Government had rightly chastised the international community for not exerting
enough pressure on the rebels, who bore an equally large burden for implementation
of the plan.
Ambassadors Jones Parry and Dumisani Kumalo (South Africa),
co-leaders of the Sudan leg of the mission, confirmed that high-level officials
in Khartoum, including President Omer Hassan al-Bashir, had implicitly confirmed
"total and unconditional" acceptance of the hybrid force. The trip had
begun on 16 June with "positive" meetings with officials at African
Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, and had included stops
in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire before wrapping up in the Democratic Republic
of the Congo on 21 June.
South Africa welcomes the major breakthrough and
believes that the outstanding issues are logistical. To that end, the Council
had informally discussed -- and must soon address directly -- a timeline for "who's
going to do what and when", while assessing duties and tasks for the African
Union, the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Council
Senior officials from the United Nations and the African Union (AU)
have met with the non-signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) to discuss
next steps in the political process aimed at ending hostilities in the strife-torn
region of Sudan, the UN Mission in Sudan said on Tuesday 3 July 2007.
the past week, the UN-AU Joint Mediation Support Team, led by the UN's Pekka Haavisto
and the AU's Sam Ibok, has held talks with groups based in North Darfur and in
Asmara, according to the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).
The team met with
Eritrean officials in Asmara to discuss the next steps of the political process
as outlined in the road map presented by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's envoy,
Jan Eliasson, which calls on all parties to cease hostilities and prepare for
Together with Eritrean officials, the team also
met with First Vice President Salva Kiir in Juba in southern Sudan on 2 July to
discuss the role of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the political
Comments by UN Secretary-General
South Africa welcomes
comments by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who on Monday 2 July
2007 said there had been "slow but credible" progress towards peace
in the strife-torn Sudanese region of Darfur in the past six months.
said that Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir "has recently shown some signs
of flexibility" on the issue of a hybrid force of 20 000 UN and AU peacekeepers,
having previously resisted outside intervention.
Still, the international
community has so far failed to show sufficient resolve during four years of fighting
in which the UN estimates nearly 200 000 people have been killed, and a further
two million forced to flee their homes, he added.
"The people in Darfur
have suffered too much and the international community has waited too long. It
is now high time for us to take necessary action and I hope the Sudanese government
will implement faithfully the commitment they have made," the UN chief said.
Ban said there were four main tracks that all players should follow to
bring peace to Darfur, namely humanitarian assistance; the hybrid peacekeeping
force, the political process with Khartoum; and the prospect of reconstruction
and development assistance in the post-conflict era.
These four aspects
were reconfirmed by China, France, the United States and some 15 other nations
at a meeting in Paris last week, and will be reasserted at a further meeting chaired
jointly by the United Nations and African Union in New York in September.
Peacekeeping Force for Darfur
The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping
Operations (DPKO) met Friday 29 June 2007 with potential contributors of troops
and police to the planned African Union-UN hybrid operation for the violence-wracked
Darfur region in Sudan.
The DPKO plans to hold informal discussions with
the potential contributors and then another meeting after the Security Council
officially authorizes the hybrid operation and establishes a mandate.
from African countries will be given priority but other offers will also be accepted,
especially if there are not enough suitable African commitments.
contributors were given a briefing on the requirements for the hybrid force, which
is expected to need almost 20,000 troops, more than 6,000 police and nearly 5,000
civilians at full deployment. The logistical challenges of deploying in Darfur,
a remote and impoverished region the size of France on Sudan's western flank cannot
The current focus is on expediting the deployment of
the heavy support package, which is the second leg of the three-phase programme
to support and enhance the under-resourced AU Mission in Darfur (AMIS), he said.
"Most, if not all" the offers necessary have been received and
now the potential contributors have to visit Darfur to assess the situation to
determine equipment needs.
South Africa welcomes the Sudanese Government's
unconditional support of a joint AU-UN peacekeeping force in Darfur following
talks with a Council delegation earlier this month.
Now the Security Council
will adopt a resolution regarding the establishment of such a force, after which
a budget must be prepared.
The challenges the new hybrid force - which
will report to both the UN and the AU - could face, the two organizations are
"committed to working together to coordinate their work so that the operation
can work as smoothly as possible."
Paris Meeting regarding Darfur
high-level meeting in Paris bringing together over a dozen countries concerned
about the situation in the war-ravaged Darfur region of Sudan has helped generate
additional momentum towards ending the suffering of the people there.
from the world's top aid donors, members of the Group of Eight industrialised
nations and from China, a key ally of Sudan, met in Paris to help find a political
solution to the conflict and provide cash for peacekeeping and humanitarian aid.
United Nations is maintaining its focus on four distinct tracks - the political
process, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, and reconstruction and development
The South African government welcomes the observation by the
Secretary-General that considerable progress has been made with respect to the
deployment of the UN-African Union hybrid peacekeeping operation, as well as in
reinvigorating political dialogue among the parties.
The United Nations
and African Union have developed a road map to negotiations, with the objective
of restarting peace talks by the end of the summer.
Comments by French
Nicolas Sarkozy, the new French president, has urged
the international community to find a way to solve the humanitarian crisis in
Darfur warning that "silence kills".
"As human beings, and
as politicians, we must resolve the crisis in Darfur," Sarkozy said after
hosting the meeting in the Elysee palace in Paris.
Sarkozy said the existing
force of 7,000 AU troops, which is widely seen as ineffective and is to be reinforced
by the proposed hybrid force, must get more funding. He said France was willing
to contribute roughly $13.46 million.
The EU pledged an extra $41.7 million
of humanitarian funds for "the coming months".
US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice
"The international community
simply cannot continue to sit by," Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice told
reporters at the end of the one-day meeting aimed at galvanizing peace moves in
western region of Sudan. "We really must redouble our efforts."
who have been around this for a while are going to work very hard against backtracking.
We have had circumstances in which we have had agreements before and those agreements
have not gone forward," she said.
Co-operation between UN and AU
had been a working meeting between the Security Council and its African Union
counterpart, during which all the representatives had, among other things, expressed
the desire to hold an exchange of views at least once every year and the shared
understanding that, on peace and security matters, the African Union would always
be acting on behalf of the international community and ensure that its actions
benefited the work of the Security Council.
The meeting also discussed how
the United Nations could, on a case-by-case basis, assist the African Union with
regard to resources, particularly when it was acting on behalf of the Security
Council. This was a difficult and sensitive issue, particularly since it hinged
on financing and budgetary matters that were decided, not by the Council, but
by the General Assembly. Also during the meeting, the African Union had extended
the mandate of the African Union Mission in the Sudan for another six months.
is understood that, increasingly, the Council would have to look to regional actors
to help it maintain international peace and security. Therefore if the African
Union was delivering better peace and security in the region, this was good for
numerous initiatives and measures falling within the Council's ambit, including
in the areas of conflict prevention, peacekeeping, post-conflict activities, disarmament,
demobilization and reintegration, and security sector reform.
visited Côte d'Ivoire on 18 and 19 June. The top priority in Abidjan had
been to welcome the ownership of the Ivorian peace process by the parties in the
context of the Ouagadougou Agreement.
The delegation noted that the Ouagadougou
Agreement had created a new atmosphere in Côte d'Ivoire. Although it would
not immediately resolve the problems at the heart of the crisis, it had established
a new dynamic towards resolving them. Both the President and the Prime Minister
had agreed that delays in implementation had merely been due to technical difficulties
and the parties remained committed to implementing the Agreement's provisions.
South Africa calls on the United Nations to continue to assist during the electoral
period in the areas of security, international assistance and support for the
There was great improvement in the security situation,
and the commanders of the neutral forces estimated only a "minimal risk"
of a return to hostilities. However, remaining problems included high criminality,
including many illegal control posts on the roads, and lack of progress in the
disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process. The Facilitator requested
the Council to agree to a partial lifting of the arms embargo to enable the police
forces to maintain law and order. Several mission members, however, had expressed
doubts about lifting the embargo, as security sector reform and disarmament were
The Prime Minister indicated that a key challenge to address
would be the identification process. The mission was convinced of the need for
continued international assistance to Côte d'Ivoire.
The Mission visited
the Democratic Republic of Congo on 20 June. South Africa welcomes the Council's
decision to extend the presence of the United Nations Organization Mission in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), while adapting its mandate to the
South Africa remains concerned about the situation
in the Kivus was caused by the activities of the forces of Laurent Nkunda and
former members of the Forces armées rwandaises (FAR)/Interahamwe. The most
pressing concern for the Congolese authorities was a political and diplomatic
solution without completely excluding military action.
As for security
sector reform, he said the police and army seemed to have made little progress,
despite the creation of some integrated brigades. The mission had stressed the
importance of consolidating any progress and of establishing a truly professional
army. It had asked the authorities to draw up a plan describing the type of army
the country needed, as well as the necessary resources. The mission had also called
on the Congolese authorities to take all necessary measures to end atrocities
committed by certain elements of the national security forces.
He said the
mission had also raised the question of relations between the Government and the
opposition, and stressed the importance of respecting the latter's constitutional
role. All parties must remain committed to the political process and to national
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
The United Nations
peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is taking
measures to help the authorities bolster security in the country's troubled eastern
provinces of North and South Kivu, a spokesperson for the United Nations said.
MONUC said UN peacekeepers, in cooperation with the Congolese Army, have
conducted some 600 patrols in the two provinces in recent weeks, including more
than half that figure in the course of last week alone as part of efforts to restore
security and public safety.
"UN peacekeeping naval units have also
stepped up patrols on Lake Kivu to stop illegal traffic of firearms between DRC
and neighbouring countries," spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New
The region has been the scene of insecurity caused by armed groups
and continuing military operations. On 26 May, a group of 10 to 12 militiamen
attacked the villages of Nyabuluze and Muhungu in South Kivu province, killing
18 civilians, among them women and children, and wounding more than two dozen,
according to MONUC, which condemned the massacre "strongly and unequivocally."
Security Situation in Eastern DRC
International Committee of the Red
Cross expresses concern over abuses in South Kivu
The International Committee
of the Red Cross (ICRC) has expressed concern over abuses against civilians, especially
women and children, in South Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, saying
it frequently receives reports of abductions, executions, rapes and pillage.
an operation on 2 July to help 15,000 people displaced by increased violence in
the region, the ICRC said a large number of families had fled their homes in the
"The ICRC is particularly concerned about abuses committed
by armed persons against the civilian population, usually women and children,"
said Patrick Walder, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Bukavu.
are in the locality of Kaniola, 60km east of the provincial capital, Bukavu.
operation has been made possible by a broader humanitarian effort coordinated
between several large international organisations working in the country,"
the ICRC said in a statement. "That effort is covering the most urgent needs
of 55,000 people affected by the violence."
To support medical facilities
struggling to cope with the influx of internally displaced persons fleeing the
violence, the ICRC is also providing Walungu and Kaniola hospitals with medical
kits to treat the wounded, and other essential supplies.
said it would continue to monitor the security situation in the area and pursue
its dialogue with the local civilian and military authorities.
this end it is maintaining a confidential dialogue with the relevant authorities
about violations of international humanitarian law, while closely monitoring the
situation of people displaced within the country," the ICRC said.
On 22 June, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said attacks on civilians and clashes between Congolese
and Rwandan rebels had hindered efforts to reach affected populations in eastern
The attacks were mainly perpetrated by the Forces démocratiques
pour la libération du Rwanda (FDLR) rebels, who fled their country after
the 1994 genocide, and continue to clash with the Forces armées de la République
Démocratique du Congo (FARDC).
The head of OCHA in South Kivu, Modido
Traore, said the situation meant populations were constantly on the move. According
to OCHA, attacks against civilians reached a peak in March. Some calm prevailed
thereafter, but a new wave occurred in May.
One such attack left 18 dead
in Nyalubuze, Muhungu and Cihamba, with 27 injured and four kidnapped. Leaflets
were dropped giving warning of more trouble.
Council, in Presidential Statement, Issues Strong Condemnation of Attack Against
Côte D'Ivoire Prime Minister's Plane
South Africa supports the Presidential
statement which reads as follows:
"The Security Council strongly condemns
the attack committed on 29 June 2007 in Bouaké against the Prime Minister
of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Guillaume Soro, that resulted in several
deaths, and any attempt to destabilize the peace process by force. It stresses
that the perpetrators of this criminal act must be brought to justice.
Security Council recalls its support for the Agreement signed by President Laurent
Gbagbo and Guillaume Soro in Ouagadougou on 4 March 2007 under the facilitation
of the Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),
President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso. It stresses that it is critical
that all parties continue to work within the framework of the Ouagadougou political
Agreement, which is the way to settle the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire."
Persons Need More Help, Says UN Rights Expert
Walter Kälin, the
Secretary-General's Representative for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), after
a five-day visit to Côte d'Ivoire called on the international community
and donors to support the programmes in place to help returnees readjust to regular
He said, "Without money, there is no programme. Without programmes,
there are no lasting solutions and if lasting solutions are not found" [for
the IDPs], then the peace is also in jeopardy of not lasting.
that some people have already started returning to the north and west of Côte
d'Ivoire, which has been divided between the Government-controlled south and the
rebel-held north since 2002, when a UN peacekeeping mission to the country, known
as UNOCI, began maintaining a "zone of confidence" between the two sides.
But many of these returnees have few resources and their arrivals are placing
a strain on local communities, he added. Female-headed households, young mothers
and widows are especially vulnerable.
"Displaced persons, even when
they return to their homes, live in an extremely vulnerable situation and they
need continuing humanitarian assistance during the transition period."
continue to be faced with a situation of escalating violence. The Reconciliation
Conference is still being held up and not progressing as quickly as we think it
A positive development has been that elders from the dominant Hawiye
clan in Somalia's capital have met to consider co-operating with a fragile government
struggling to bring peace to the embattled country, but the future is fraught
with religious and clan differences that make stability only a distant dream.
After two hours of talks on Monday, more than 300 Hawiye leaders suspended
their meeting for two days because they could not agree on who should attend.
The government wanted the Hawiye at a reconciliation conference scheduled
for July 15 and envisioned as a chance for elders to deal with past clan grievances.
Escalating violence in Mogadishu this
month has forced more than 3,500 people to flee the Somali capital in recent weeks,
the United Nations refugee agency has reported.
The UN High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR) also reported that only 123,000 of the estimated 401,000
civilians who fled the heavy fighting that raged in Mogadishu between February
and May have returned to the capital.
Even as people continue leave Mogadishu,
they are returning at nearly a tenfold rate. UNHCR said that while more than 3,500
people fled the city in June, an estimated 33,000 returned there in the same period.
In another major new displacement development, UNHCR's local partners report
that some 10,000 people have fled violence between rival clans in and around the
southern coastal city of Kismayo.
Most of those unwilling to return to
Mogadishu cite continuing insecurity at a time when daily acts of violence are
rising despite claims by the Ethiopian-backed Transitional Federal Government
(TFG) that it has defeated insurgent forces.
"These people say they
will not come back until Mogadishu is completely safe," a UNHCR staff member
reported from the capital.
The latest fighting has left many civilians
dead and injured from rocket attacks, roadside bombs and crossfire, the agency
The UNHCR staffer said that some of the civilians who recently returned
to the capital are leaving it once more because of the insecurity. "Others
leave their neighbourhood to move to another part of the city because of persistent
bomb explosions close to their homes, especially in the north of the city. They
fear being caught in skirmishes," he added.
The TFG has to date evicted
2,000 people in order to restore the buildings to public use. "These families
are lost, they can no longer access the place where they used to live and sometimes
their houses have been already destroyed by the authorities," said a local
aid worker whose organization works with UNHCR.
He said these vulnerable
people needed water, food and shelter. Many of them also needed to find employment
so that they could support their families. UNHCR has asked the TFG to halt the
evictions and to help provide basic services and find alternative solutions for
these displaced people.
Report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
his latest progress report on the situation in Somalia, Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon says the TFG's efforts to secure key public institutions in Mogadishu
are continuing to face significant resistance from remnants of the deposed Union
of Islamic Courts and from various sub-clans of the Hawiye clan, which is dominant
in the city.
The rest of the country remains plagued by widespread banditry,
lawlessness and intra-clan violence, he adds in the report, noting the situation
is more volatile since tensions erupted again in the Puntland and Somaliland regions
He stresses that the UN system would continue its efforts to
meet the serious humanitarian needs across the impoverished country.
Ban said it was important for the Somali transitional government to reach out
to opposition groups to ensure that Congress is as inclusive as possible, adding
he pledged to encourage troop contributions and other support to the existing
African Union mission in the country, known as AMISOM.
for UN peacekeepers
The Somali prime minister has urged the UN Security
Council to send peacekeepers to his country, but council members told him they
wanted to see steps towards peace first.
Ali Mohamed Gedi said on Thursday
28 June 2007 that Somalia wanted to see the African Union's Somalia force, AMISOM,
transformed into a UN mission.
"Somalia is at a critical crossroads and
it is the right time for the United Nations Security Council to assist in the
maintenance of peace and security," Gedi said.
"It's not fair
to say, 'Make peace and I will come and keep it', It's not right to ignore or
neglect the interests of the Somali people," he added.
Emyr Jones Parry,
the British ambassador, said that the West supported Gedi's government, but expected
political progress before sending troops.
"We need to get AMISOM
reinforced, and if peace is brought about and there's sufficient agreement, the
United Kingdom will support a UN peacekeeping presence in Somalia," he said.
has been another breakthrough. As you know, the Facilitator Minister Charles Nqakula
on 17th June 2007 in Tanzania organised a meeting between Burundian President
Pierre Nkurunziza and leader of the Paliphehutu-FNL Chairman Agathon Rwasa. President
Kikwete also attended this meeting.
This meeting decided on a new programme
of action. An agreement was reached to move the processes along speedily.
also ensured that a Forum was created to unblock obstacles that may arise in future.
We are now confident that, following this meeting, the Joint Verification
and Monitoring Mechanism will become operational and that there will be a speedy
conclusion to the negotiations.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
following Security Council press statement on the Central African Republic was
read out Tuesday 3 July 2007 by Council President Wang Guangya (China):
members of the Security Council heard a briefing by the Special Representative
of the Secretary-General, General Lamine Cissé, on the situation in the
Central African Republic, and reiterated their appreciation for his role as head
of the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in the Central African Republic
The members of the Security Council expressed their concern at
the continuing volatility of the security situation in certain parts of the Central
African Republic, due in particular to banditry and the activities of armed groups.
They expressed appreciation to the members of the Economic and Monetary Community
of Central Africa for the action of the Community's Multinational Force in the
Central African Republic (FOMUC), as well as to the African Union and the European
Union for their political and financial support. They called on the partners of
the Central African Republic to continue to support FOMUC, as well as security
sector reform in the Central African Republic.
The members of the Security
Council encouraged the authorities to organize a dialogue with all Central African
political forces and civil society, in order to consolidate peace and stability
in the country. They encouraged the Government to continue its discussions with
rebel groups in order to restore security to the whole territory, and called on
these groups to act in accordance with the constitutional and legal framework
by giving up any armed activity.
The members of the Security Council called
on the authorities to fight impunity and ensure the full implementation of the
international obligations that the Central African Republic has accepted concerning
the protection of human rights and international humanitarian law. They expressed
serious concern at the human rights situation in the Central African Republic
and reports of disproportionate use of force by Government forces, and condemned
the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by
armed groups and also by some elements of the Central African Armed Forces.
members of the Security Council encouraged the Government to continue and intensify
its efforts, with the help of its international partners, in order to effectively
fight poverty and promote sustainable economic and social development, through
a reform process based on good governance, in particular.
The members of
the Security Council recalled their readiness to examine the deployment of a multidimensional
United Nations presence in the regions of eastern Chad and the north-eastern Central
African Republic neighbouring the Sudan, and looked forward to the upcoming report
of the Secretary-General on the basis of the contacts that the delegation he dispatched
to Chad and Central African Republic had in those two countries.
The situation remains catastrophic. As you know, having military
taken over Gaza, the Gaza is now separated from the West Bank.
The new emergency
government is trying to do its work.
STATEMENT BY MIDDLE EAST QUARTET
is the text of a statement issued by the Quartet (United Nations, Russian Federation,
United States, European Union):
Quartet principals noted that recent events
in Gaza and the West Bank make it more urgent than ever that we advance the search
for peace in the Middle East. The Quartet reaffirms its objective to promote an
end to the conflict in conformity with the Road Map, and expresses its intention
to redouble its efforts in that regard. The urgency of recent events has reinforced
the need for the international community, bearing in mind the obligations of the
parties, to help Palestinians as they build the institutions and economy of a
viable State in Gaza and the West Bank, able to take its place as a peaceful and
prosperous partner to Israel and its other neighbours.
To facilitate efforts
to these ends, following discussions among the principals, today the Quartet announced
the appointment of Tony Blair ( United Kingdom) as the Quartet Representative.
Mr. Blair, who is stepping down from office this week, has long demonstrated his
commitment on these issues.
As Quartet Representative, he will:
international assistance to the Palestinians, working closely with donors and
existing coordination bodies;
- Help to identify and secure appropriate
international support in addressing the institutional governance needs of the
Palestinian State, focusing as a matter of urgency on the rule of law;
plans to promote Palestinian economic development, including private sector partnerships,
building on previously agreed frameworks, especially concerning access and movement;
- Liaise with other countries as appropriate in support of the agreed
As Representative, Tony Blair will bring continuity
and intensity of focus to the work of the Quartet in support of the Palestinians,
within the broader framework of the Quartet's efforts to promote an end to the
conflict in conformity with the Road Map. He will spend significant time in the
region working with the parties and others to help create viable and lasting Government
institutions representing all Palestinians, a robust economy and a climate of
law and order for the Palestinian people.
Tony Blair will be supported in
this work by a small team of experts, based in Jerusalem, to be seconded by partner
countries and institutions.
The Quartet representative will report to and
consult regularly with the Quartet and be guided by it as necessary.
Quartet looks forward to welcoming Mr. Blair at its next meeting.
by Deputy Minister Pahad: we will monitor progress in the mandate of former
Prime Minister Tony Blair. The South African government does not believe that
you can have reconstruction and development without peace and security and that
will not be possible until the situation in Israel and Palestine is solved on
the basis of a two-state solution.)
Israel returns Palestinian funds
has begun returning to the Palestinians some of the hundreds of millions of dollars
in tax funds it had frozen for 17 months, hoping to bolster Mahmoud Abbas, the
Palestinian president, while isolating his Hamas rivals.
A senior Palestinian
official told Reuters Israel's initial transfer was $120m, a fraction of the sum
held by Israel.
Salam Fayyad, the prime minister in Abbas's government,
chaired a cabinet meeting on Monday to discuss how the funds would be used.
After the meeting, Riyad al-Malki, the information minister, said: "On
Wednesday we will start paying salaries to the public sector, civil and military
"We are delighted that the public sector will be paid fully
for the first time since February 2006."
Malki stressed that employees
working for or allied with Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip last
month, would not be paid.
Saeb Erakat, chief Palestinian negotiator,
said some of the money would be earmarked to help ease the deteriorating humanitarian
situation in the Gaza Strip.
"Gaza will be our priority. Our people
there have suffered enough because of the despicable coup d'etat and should not
suffer more," Erakat said.
Nations agency tasked with helping Palestinian refugees on Thursday 28 June 2007
welcomed the opening of the Karni crossing point between Israel and the Gaza Strip,
which has allowed 5,000 tons of wheat to reach Gaza.
UN Relief and Works
Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) spokesperson Chris Gunness
said it was now crucial that Karni is permanently open and fully functional.
we are to avoid total aid dependency for Gaza, we need to get commercial imports
and exports moving," Mr. Gunness said.
UNRWA and other UN aid agencies
have been warning that Gaza faces food shortages within weeks unless the border
crossing points into Israel are re-opened after they were closed during the deadly
intra-Palestinian fighting that erupted earlier this month.
The Karni crossing
is considered particularly vital as it used to handle 200 to 300 trucks each day
and is the main commercial crossing between Gaza and Israel.
The Erez crossing
remains open to international agencies' staff and to health referrals to Israel,
while no interruptions have so far occurred along the Nahal Oz line, which supplies
petrol, diesel and cooking gas to Gaza. But the Rafah crossing - the main crossing
for people - has been closed since 10 June, and an estimated 5,000 Palestinians
are waiting at the Egyptian border to return to their homes in Gaza.
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said UN agencies are
currently meeting the basic needs of the Gaza Strip's estimated 1.4 million residents,
with about 80 to 90 trucks carrying relief supplies able to enter the territory
But there is still a long way to go, Under-Secretary-General for
Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said today.
"Everyone is working hard on this and I welcome the news of our increased
capacity to deliver urgently-needed aid in Gaza, but I cannot over-emphasize the
importance of ensuring the resumption of full-scale supplies through the main
crossing points and beginning to open up regular economic access too."
the crisis began in the Gaza Strip, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has reported
that there are 100,000 additional recipients of food aid in the crowded territory.
The Programme helps about 377,000 people in Gaza, while UNRWA provides food assistance
to some 860,000 others there.
(Comment by Deputy Minister Pahad: we
will try to see how the South African government can assist the Palestinians find
some unity amongst themselves so they can get on with the major task of seeking
a two-state solution.)
NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION: IRAN
Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in an interview on 27th June 2007 said the
Security Council should let the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency
work toward a resolution of the dispute over Iran's nuclear development programme.
must be resolved through political negotiations, through dialogue," Ban said.
When IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei "says he wants to have a plan
of action and engage in dialogue, I support that kind of initiative," he
Inspectors are preparing to travel to Iran at the invitation of the
country's top security chief for negotiations on what the IAEA called a plan "for
resolving outstanding issues related to Iran's nuclear programme."
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, did President Mbeki brief
SADC leaders at the African Union Summit? If not, when does he intend to do so?
It was expected that President Mbeki would use the opportunity of the presence
of SADC leaders at the AU Summit to brief them on developments in the mediation
process. I was not there and our delegation has not yet returned but I do believe
that President Mbeki would of as planned, briefed SADC Heads of State on the Facilitation
I will brief you further when I next speak to you.
Deputy Minister Pahad, you met with the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister yesterday.
Did he use this opportunity to seek an assurance of South Africa's position should
this matter come before the Security Council again?
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister was here to attend a legal conference being held
in Cape Town. He is the Deputy Minister in charge of multilateral organisations.
He basically briefed us on the talks between the Iranian Chief Negotiator Larijani
and EU Policy Chief Javier Solana. They have now had three talks. The Iranians
are saying that they are willing to resolve all outstanding issues within the
framework of the IAEA. However, because of their parliamentary decision, they
cannot co-operate with the IAEA even on the implementation of the additional protocol,
a voluntary mechanism they have signed, unless there is a stop to efforts to put
another resolution before the Security Council.
They have told the European
Union that they need to make all the necessary preparations to finalise discussions
with the IAEA within their 60 days cooling off period.
As you know, they
have said that taking the matter to the Security Council has not assisted in any
way. In fact it has only made matters worse. What began with trying to find a
compromise 20 centrifuges has now been escalated and they are now on 168 centrifuges.
They have consistently said the threat of sanctions is something they have had
to take into account but they have made the necessary preparations should this
They are firm in their position that this should not be taken to
the Security Council unless the other processes within the IAEA have been completed.
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, there are reports that the Portuguese
Foreign Minister has said there could be some difficulty on the attendance of
President Mugabe at the Summit later this year. Is the African position completely
intractable on this matter?
Answer This is a very important conference
that has been held up since Cairo on precisely this point. Our view is that nothing
stops an item being placed on the agenda but I think that Africa will not move
on its position that you cannot determine the African delegation to the Summit.
There is a concern that if this is so, a precedent will be set and it can be another
country in the future. If we allow this to happen, we will not be able to have
a united approach in our dealing with the Europeans on many many fundamental issues.
We do hope this matter will be handled sensitively.
I do think the Foreign
Minister has clarified that this would be his view but is not that of the organizing
committee as a whole.
Question Deputy Minister, how concerned are you
regarding the economic decline of Zimbabwe?
Answer All the reports
are indicating there is a serious problem. The SADC Executive Secretary was here
last week during which he briefed us on the second part of the mandate given to
the SADC Secretariat by the Extraordinary Summit - ie. the visit by the Secretariat
to assess and report on the economic crisis.
By and large, there are indications
that inflation stands at 5000%, the currency has for all intents and purposes
collapsed, there is no new inward investments excepting in some sectors like mining,
unemployment is rising.
The Reserve Bank Governor in December 2006 highlighted
the crisis of the economy which has now been exacerbated.
We are concerned
that the economic situation in not in the interests of the people of Zimbabwe.
SADC's mandate to help to address this situation becomes very urgent.
is a separate process to our political facilitation process. We did ask the Executive
Secretary to go to the AU Summit to brief the SADC leaders on the plans he is
proposing to deal with the economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
So, we are concerned.
Deputy Minister, do you have any idea on how many Zimbabweans are in South Africa?
This figure is not scientific and continues to increase. The last figure I
heard, although I am not sure on what basis this is calculated, is that there
are three million undocumented Zimbabweans in South Africa. This does not account
for the professionals and entrepreneurs who are coming in with the correct documentation
and working in South African sectors.
It is quite high anyway.
is why, for South Africa, the resolution to the Zimbabwean political, economic
and social situation is critical. South Africa is affected by this and we cannot
prevent Zimbabweans from entering South Africa.
Question Deputy Minister,
are there any key developments re: Western Sahara?
I said last time, the first meeting has taken place between Polisario, representatives
of the Moroccan government, Mauritania and Algeria.
has said that there is expected to be a follow up later this week.
will brief you further when there is any movement.
Clearly, the Secretary-General
will put out a report on this matter in the next few days and this matter is being
discussed within the Security Council.
Question Deputy Minister, when
will the peer review report be released?
Answer You should raise
the matter with Minister Moleketi since she is the line function Minister.
The process of the peer review is that: experts peer review a country. This is
then submitted to the host country for comments and is then sent back to the experts.
For the first time we have had a consensus and this was the report presented in
I have seen in the media today that the report can be released within
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