Notes following Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz
Pahad, Media Centre, Amphitheatre, Union Buildings, Pretoria, Friday 23 March
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
The South African government
is deeply concerned about the outbreak of violence that has occurred in Kinshasa
over the last 24 hours between the DRC national army and the security officials
of the former Presidential candidate and leader of the opposition.
has taken refuge in the South African compound from where he has called for a
truce and MONUC is also arranging for the other former presidential candidate
Ruberwa to be moved to an unspecified embassy.
MONUC is facilitating dialogue
between all the forces to try to ensure that there is an end to the fighting and
that the objectives of what Africa, and the world has worked for for so long,
ie. to have peace, democracy and stability in the DRC is protected.
South African government appeals to all the forces in the DRC to immediately cease
hostilities and begin negotiations to allow the democratic processes to continue.
Africa welcomes the firm decision of the Zimbabwean courts demanding the release
of all those detained and the subsequent releases. We also welcome that those
injured have been allowed to leave Zimbabwe and travel to South Africa for medical
South Africa remains concerned about the continuing tensions
and violence in Zimbabwe.
We remain convinced that the present situation
is a reflection of the underlying political, economic and social problems in Zimbabwe
and which the AU, SADC and South Africa have been engaged in trying to resolve.
therefore again urge all Zimbabweans to respect the rule of law and not to take
any actions that exacerbates the tensions which will make it difficult to implement
the call for national dialogue and reconciliation proposed by the Reserve Bank
Governor, Mr Gono.
It was quite evident that many of the parties in Zimbabwe
including civil society welcomed this call for dialogue and national reconciliation
and that violence in the last weeks should not delay these processes.
also note the initiative of the religious leaders, "The Zimbabwe we Want,"
which is also intended to contribute towards a national dialogue in the country.
believe the conditions are right for national dialogue to be escalated in order
to find a long term solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.
The statement by the
South African government has been criticised for not being strong enough, but
this has not been followed by what is strong enough.
The ANC has also put
out a statement on the situation in Zimbabwe, expressing its concerns and calling
for all stakeholders to continue to seek peaceful and inclusive solutions.
are also aware of the statement made by the Chair of the AU Commissioner, Mr Konare
in which he "recalls the need for the scrupulous respect for human rights
and democratic principles in Zimbabwe," and "urges all concerned parties
to commence a sincere and constructive dialogue in order to resolve the problems
The AU Chairperson, President Kufuor who has been
in London addressing the International Institute has also said, and I quote, "I
want to tell you straight away that I know that the AU is very uncomfortable.
The situation in (Zimbabwe) is very embarrassing."
He goes on to say,
and I hope the media has noted this, I quote "I know personally that presidents
like (South Africa's Thabo Mbeki) tried desperately to exercise some influence
for the better
please don't think that Africa is not concerned. Africa
is very much concerned. What can Mbeki as a man do? Are you proposing that Africa
compose an expedition team to march on Zimbabwe and oppose? It does not happen
"We are in our various ways trying very hard."
you know, the Chairman of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, visited Zimbabwe where he briefed the Zimbabwean
President on his recent visit to the Scandinavian countries and also discussed
the internal developments in Zimbabwe. He will continue further consultations
and it is expected that later this month there will be a Summit of the SADC Organ
on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation in Dar-es-Salaam to discuss the
regional situation including the situation in Zimbabwe.
Yesterday, on the
fringes of the SADC Ministerial meeting, a meeting of the Double Troika was held.
This meeting welcomed the efforts of President Kikwete and indicated we will give
full support to any efforts he will now make, on behalf of SADC.
therefore been many activities that have been undertaken in the last few weeks
under the banner of what the media calls "quiet diplomacy" and we call
I want to say that it is a matter of
concern that the media is dealing with the situation in Zimbabwe with too much
sensationalism. I will give an example: massive articles were run about 3000 Angolan
ninjas being deployed to Zimbabwe without the facts being checked. There has been
this tendency on many occasions to make generalised statements without checking
the facts. When we attempt to verify this information we find these statements
to be untrue although the public is already under the impression that these events
are taking place.
There has also been a tendency to challenge the positions
of the South African government while giving a lot of attention and credence to
statements of governments other than ours without contextualising what Africa
is attempting to do.
I want to reiterate: it is not our intention to make
militant statements for the purposes of self-gratification or to satisfy governments
beyond Africa. We are committed to dealing with this situation in a way that will
enable us to encourage the Zimbabweans to find a Zimbabwean solution to their
As President Kufour said, if there are any illusions that we
can send an expedition by force to Zimbabwe, such stupid suggestions should be
We will continue to deal with the situation in Zimbabwe as we
have always done: constructively, bilaterally and through SADC and the AU to see
what we can do to assist the Zimbabweans to find a solution.
There has been
many ways to interpret what has been said by former President Kaunda. To assert
that this is the first time such things are being said is not correct. Anybody
will be able to see that all statements are saying the same things albeit without
It is our view that the South African media must play
a more constructive role in assisting us find a solution to the Zimbabwean crisis.
do not believe that it is the job of the South African media to give massive coverage
to views of governments beyond Africa and to contrast it with the views of the
South African government. We do not think this is helpful to finding a solution
to the Zimbabwean challenges.
It is my view, that if outside governments
had played a more constructive role from the earlier stages than we would not
be in the situation we now find ourselves in.
It is our appeal to those
who criticise us from afar, and of whom our media report quite eagerly, to work
with us constructively to assist us find a solution.
There is a strong view
in Zimbabwe, whether you agree with it or not, that the recent events have been
orchestrated by external and internal forces that favour regime change in the
country. I must say that sometimes, when I look at the way in which the South
African media deals with this issue, I feel that the ultimate goal of the media
is regime change in Zimbabwe. I do not say that I accept this view, but this is
a strong view held by senior government officials in Zimbabwe. Foreign diplomats
in Zimbabwe have been briefed of this by the Zimbabwean government.
try to work together to see whether we can bring about the necessary conditions
for the Zimbabweans to resolve their challenges in a way that is in the interests
of all Zimbabweans, SADC and Africa.
SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT STATEMENT
ON THE CURRENT SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE
The South African Government has noted
reports emanating from Zimbabwe regarding the current difficulties being experienced
by the political leadership in the country including the arrests, detention and
reported assault of some opposition leaders.
"South Africa expresses
its concerns about these reports as well as the deteriorating political and economic
situation in Zimbabwe. In this regard, we are of the view that the current difficulties
are symptomatic of the broader political and economic challenges facing Zimbabwe"
said Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad.
"Accordingly, South Africa has consistently
maintained and moved from the premise that only dialogue among the main political
protagonists can help bring about a lasting solution to the current political
and economic challenges facing Zimbabwe.
"In this context, South Africa
will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with all parties in Zimbabwe
in the political, economic, trade and social sectors to ensure the objective of
dialogue among all political parties is realized" continued Deputy Minister
"Pursuant to this objective, South Africa urges the Zimbabwean
Government to ensure that the rule of law including respect for rights of all
Zimbabweans and leaders of various political parties is respected.
we appeal to leaders of opposition political parties to work towards a climate
that is conducive to finding a lasting solution to the current challenges faced
by the people of Zimbabwe" concluded Deputy Minister Pahad.
STATEMENT ON CURRENT SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE
The African National Congress
is concerned about the current situation in Zimbabwe, including reports of the
alleged assault of opposition leaders while in police custody.
trusts that a thorough investigation will be conducted into these allegations,
and that any necessary action be taken in accordance with the law.
reiterates its call on all stakeholders in Zimbabwe to respect and uphold the
constitution and law of the land, and work to safeguard the rights of all citizens.
We further reiterate our call to all stakeholders in Zimbabwe to continue
to seek peaceful and inclusive solutions.
In line with the spirit and positions
of the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), the
South African government should continue to seek to assist the people and leaders
of Zimbabwe to address the challenges facing the country.
For its part,
the ANC will continue to engage all parties in Zimbabwe in the effort to achieve
an outcome that serves the interests of the Zimbabwean people. It will continue
to do so in a spirit of respect, friendship and solidarity.
BY AFRICAN UNION
AU commission chief Alpha Oumar Konare "recalls
the need for the scrupulous respect for human rights and democratic principles
"He urges all concerned parties to commence a sincere
and constructive dialogue in order to resolve the problems facing Zimbabwe."
The statement said that Konare had followed recent developments in Zimbabwe
with great concern.
COMMENTS BY AU CHAIRPERSON JOHN KUFUOR
chairman of the African Union, Ghanaian President John Kufuor, said this week
that the organisation found the turmoil in Zimbabwe "very embarrassing."
Tanzania's president travelled to Zimbabwe on Thursday for talks to try to defuse
"I want to tell you straight away that I know that the
AU is very uncomfortable. The situation in (Zimbabwe) is very embarrassing."
know personally that presidents like (South Africa's Thabo Mbeki) tried desperately
to exercise some influence for the better
please don't think that Africa
is not concerned. Africa is very much concerned. What can Mbeki as a man do? Are
you proposing that Africa compose an expedition team to march on Zimbabwe and
oppose? It does not happen like that."
"We are in our various
ways trying very hard."
He went on to say:
The African Union of
which I am the current Chair, is really concerned about any trouble spots anywhere
on the continent, and I want to say our concern is that in the spirit of the African
Union, and especially NEPAD - the New Partnership for Africa's Development - we
want the rule of law, more than any other way, to be the main agency of governance.
Violence, beating up anybody and using brutal force shouldn't be the way forward.
The rule of law, accountable government, allowing constitutions to work properly,
should be the way forward for all of us. This is our approach.
Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation to Zimbabwe,
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete
The president of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete,
one of three Southern African nations appointed by the Southern African Development
Community to try to address the political crisis in Zimbabwe, met with Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe last week.
The Tanzanian Foreign Minister
Bernard Membe announced, following the meeting between Presidents Kikwete and
Mugabe in Harare last week, that SADC would meet in Dar-es-Salaam later this month
to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe.
are extremely concerned about the escalating violence in Somalia.
last few days the violence has intensified enormously, and at a time when the
AMISOM forces who are mainly Ugandan have been deployed to Mogadishu.
21 February 2007, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed resolution
1744 to make provision for the deployment of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Pursuant to this resolution, on 6 March 2007, AMISOM peacekeepers began to arrive
in Mogadishu. This represents the first batch of peacekeepers to land in Somalia
since 1995 when the UN pulled out of that country. The peacekeepers, all of whom
are from Uganda, are part of the planned 8,000 larger peacekeeping force to be
deployed in Somalia as authorised by the UN to help the TFG assert its authority
and to allow Ethiopian forces to leave.
Apart from Ugandan troops, Burundi
has promised 1,500-1,600 soldiers; Nigeria 850; Ghana 350; and Malawi an unknown
number. Algeria is helping to airlift the Ugandans while the United States is
providing cash and logistics to Uganda, and France will help the Burundians.
to the AU, the countries providing the troops are responsible for their command
structures. "The AU was part of the Somali peace process and is providing
guidelines, has signed agreements with troop-contributing countries and will facilitate
bilateral meetings with partners," Ba said. "But the countries are responsible
for their own command structures and deployment."
He said the main
problem facing the operation was not troops, but financial and logistical challenges.
"The attacks [on the troops] could force a review [of operations], but right
now getting the troops in is not the problem because we have 53 AU member states."
plan to deploy the AU troops has been welcomed by several countries and international
organisations, including the United Nations, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
appealing to the international community to assist the AU in mobilising funds
and other assistance.
The South African government is concerned that although
the peace initiatives are welcomed and supported by the international community,
this is often just verbal support and not supported by the financial and logistical
support to ensure that forces on the ground can cope with the serious situation.
South African government is concerned that AMISOM has come under attack in Somalia.
It seems that increasingly calls are being made by Somali parties to increase
attacks on AMISOM. On 7 March 2007, gunmen fired rockets and grenades at an AU
armoured vehicle. No peacekeepers were wounded during the attack. Some groups
have called on Somalis to fight AU peacekeepers arriving in Somalia. Ethiopians
are also facing attacks in the war-torn Somalia. On 10 March 2007, a military
convoy from Ethiopia was attacked in Lower Shabelle province while on its way
The Somali Deputy Defence Minister Salad Ali Jeele issued
a statement, "that his troops are ready to fill a "power vacuum"
in the restive capital, Mogadishu, with the help of African Union peacekeepers.
Hundreds of Somali troops, who are part of more than 4 000 troops that finished
their military training in Baledogle arrived in Mogadishu on 9 March. They will
also be involved in disarmament operations in the volatile capital.
Africa supports the Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon call for dialogue among Somalia's
warring factions. The risk of renewed and prolonged insecurity, he said, would
increase unless the TFG rapidly consolidated its authority and ensured stability
and the rule of law. "An inclusive dialogue and a genuine political process
are the only way to achieve a sustainable peace that denies dissatisfied groups
a rallying point."
The semblance of order and security had begun to
deteriorate in Mogadishu, with armed roadblocks, checkpoints, banditry and violence.
The fall of the UIC had also brought to the fore some clan rivalries that had
been suppressed, while the "true intentions and future influence of the former
warlords remain to be seen. The [TFG] must reach out to key political and social
forces in Somalia and engage in an inclusive dialogue."
who renounce violence and extremism and pledge to constructively engage in achieving
a sustainable political settlement in Somalia should be included in the process."
fleeing of civilians from Somalia's strife-torn capital, Mogadishu, has also escalated
over the past weeks, bringing the total number of those displaced from the city
to nearly 20 000. Recently there was a mass exodus of Somali immigrants to Yemen,
of which approximately 107 Somalis died trying to reach Yemen illegally.
is another area of great concern for the South African government. As you know,
the Human Rights Council is at the moment discussing the report of the Human Rights
Mission to Sudan.
The Human Rights Mission Report
the "solemn obligation of the international community to exercise its responsibility
to protect," the report details the grim situation in Darfur, highlighting
that killing of civilians remains "widespread," along with the systematic
use of rape and sexual violence. It also makes recommendations to the Council
itself, the Sudanese Government, the various armed rebel movements and the international
"The Government of the Sudan should cooperate fully in the
deployment of the proposed UN-AU peacekeeping/protection force without further
delay," the report states. "Sudan should end the targeting of civilians
in Darfur, cease all support for Janjaweed/militia forces, and proceed with the
disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of such forces."
also called on the Government to remove all obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian
assistance to the millions in need in the region. The UN says more than 200,000
people have been killed and at least 2 million others forced to flee their homes
since 2003, while in total, some 4 million civilians need assistance to survive
in Darfur, which is in the west of Sudan.
The report also calls on all armed
rebel movements operating in the region to strictly observe and respect international
law, and ensure the free and safe access and movement of humanitarian personnel.
It also urges them to "cooperate in good faith" in the pursuit of peace.
In addition, it calls on the Security Council to take "further action"
to ensure the protection of civilians in Darfur, including through the deployment
of the proposed UN-AU force, while recommending that the Human Rights Council
should help set up an independent national rights commission for Sudan "to
address the grave situation."
The Sudanese government on Tuesday 13 March
2007 rejected as invalid the findings of a United Nations human rights mission
that accused Khartoum of orchestrating and taking part in gross violations in
Sudan's Justice Minister Mohamed Ali Elmardi also told the UN's
Human Rights Council, which had dispatched the mission, that the humanitarian
situation in Sudan's vast western region was "much more stable now".
therefore strongly and resolutely oppose any consideration by this esteemed council
of any report that comes out of this mission," he said.
Report by the
UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs
UN Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), other UN agencies and non-governmental partners
said camps for internally displaced persons in the western Sudanese region of
Darfur are almost at full capacity due to a continuing influx of people fleeing
In North Darfur, As Salaam camp cannot take any more displaced
people due to water shortages, while Abu Shouk has been closed to newcomers and
Zam Zam is very close to maximum capacity, said the Sudan Humanitarian Overview
According to the report, 30,000 people were displaced across
Darfur in February, bringing the total number of people who have fled violence
in the region since January to 80,000.
The largest displacements took place
in South Darfur, where Sudanese government and militia attacks sent 25,000 into
the bush. In West Darfur, 12,595 have been displaced, while North Darfur reported
11,500 displaced since January.
Sexual and physical assaults on civilians
continue to be reported daily, and access restrictions, bureaucracy and targeted
violence impede humanitarian operations.
According to the report, access
for aid agencies in Darfur dropped to 64 percent in January and 20 percent of
the affected people could not be reached by any humanitarian agency. "An
average of 2.45 million people, 70 percent of the conflict-affected population,
remain food insecure," it noted.
The report, however, noted that clashes
between government and rebel forces had fallen in February compared with December
and January, as had aerial bombings.
Humanitarian activities resumed in
Tawilla and Khazan Tungur, North Darfur, but lack of sufficient safety guarantees
delayed resumption in Gereida, South Darfur.
We have to act decisively
to ensure we can have the UN hybrid forces on the ground as soon as possible to
halt the humanitarian crisis on the ground.
UN- AU Forces
El Bashir's reply letter to the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki'Moon
6 March 2007, President El Bashir forwarded his reply letter to the United Nations
Secretary General (UNSG) Ban Ki'Moon:
"In our opinion, the most important
aspect of the proposed United Nations Support Package is to re-energise and successfully
accomplish the political process within the framework of the Darfur Peace Agreement.
The political settlement of the Darfur problem, under the auspices and participation
of both the African Union and the United Nations, is the best course of action,
given the special nature and complexity of the problem. The political process
must therefore be re-energised and accelerated as a priority.
the two envoys (UN and AU) [of our] unwavering stance, full and unqualified support
for the political process.
The efforts yet to be exerted must be protected
from negative political interferences.
The Darfur Peace Agreement "DPA"
is a framework and reference upon which the United Nations should found and deliver
its proposed support packages.
Proposals that tend to amend, nullify or
suspend any article of the DPA will not be acceptable as it may reopen discussions
over issues that were previously settled with difficulty. As an exception, some
aspects of the DPA could be revisited, subject to the outcome of the efforts made
to enjoin the non-signatories within the framework of the Political process, an
equally important part of the proposed support packages, and with the consent
of all parties concerned.
The objective of the proposed support packages
is to enable the African Union to carry on its tasks in accordance with the provisions
of the DPA. Our understanding of the United Nations support packages it that the
UN will provide technical, logistical, financial expertise and civil and military
consultants with ranks below that of the military commander appointed by the AU.
In phase three, the AU forces implementing that phase, in terms of control or
command, must remain forces of the African Union, supported by the United Nations
as per the two packages.
Paragraph 20 of the Final Report stated: "UN
member States have indicated that full UN involvement in command and control would
be a prerequisite for UN funding and troop contribution to the HSP."
Communique of the 66th meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council held in Abuja
on 30 November 2006 clarified these matters in paragraphs
· 2b which
reads: "The Force Commander, who should be an Africa, shall be appointed
by the Chairperson of the Commission in consultation with the Secretary-General
of the United Nations,"
· 2c which reads: "the mission shall
benefit from United Nations backstopping and command and control structures and
· 2d which reads: "the size of the force shall
be determined by the African Union and United Nations taking into account all
relevant factors and the situation on the ground, as well as the requirements
for it to effectively discharge its manate."
It is important that these
matters be clarified.
My government is committed to continue supporting
the humanitarian efforts and to extend all necessary and possible facilitations
through an energised fast track, appreciating off course the positive roles undertaken
by different organisations as well as the partners. Despite some conflicting humanitarian
indicators with regard to malnutrition, mortality rates and the Final humanitarian
situation in general.
My hope is that through the Tripartite Mechanism we
would be able to harmonise the various features of the second phase of the UN
support package to ensure consistency with the DPA, the Addis Ababa consultations
and the outcome of the Abuja AU Peace and Security Council meeting. I propose
that the Tripartite Mechanism also be tasked with specifying the format and content
of Phase Three after finalising the implementation of Phase one and two. '
South Africa reiterates its support for the re-energising
of the political processes in line with the AU and UN objectives in the Sudan.
In this respect, South Africa urges the rebel groups outside the DPA to adopt
a common position in preparation for further talks with the GoS.
in line with the AU and UN, supports the UN three-phased approach as agreed to
in Addis Ababa by the GoS on 30 November 2006.
The African Union endorsed
on 30 November 2006 a three-phased United Nations support to the African Union
Mission in the Sudan:
· A light support package;
· A heavy
support package; and
· A hybrid operation.
With respect to the
hybrid operation the Council decided that:
· The Special representative
shall be jointly appointed by the Chairperson of the Commission of the African
Union and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, after appropriate consultations
as per the practice.
· The Force Commander, who should be an Africa,
shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the Commission in consultation with the
Secretary-General of the United Nations;
· The Mission shall benefit
from United Nations backstopping and command and control structures and systems;
· The size of the force shall be determined by the African Union
and the United Nations, taking into account all relevant factors and the situation
on the ground, as well as the requirements for it to effectively discharge its
South Africa is concerned at the delays by the GoS in implementing
the African Union and UN Security Council resolutions. The mandate of the AU Mission
in Sudan (AMIS) is due to end on 30 June 2006 and that the funding for AMIS is
also running dry.
The Tripartite Mechanism should meet urgently to resolve
the different interpretations of the various AU and UN Security Council resolutions.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
"I expressed my regret (about
that he made a number of reservations on ideas that were jointly
proposed by the United Nations and African Union," adding that he had urged
President El-Bashir to accept the proposals for the hybrid force.
is growing frustration among the members of the United Nations, particularly the
my Special Representative and the AU Special Representative
are going to visit Sudan next week again."
"My own hope is that
as we have been going through this political dialogue with the Sudanese government
and even though the response letter of President El-Bashir was not a satisfactory
one, now I'm in the process of making all diplomatic efforts, including AU leaders."
Ban Ki-Moon accepted President El-Bashir's invitation to visit Sudan and said
the details will be finalised through diplomatic channels.
British UN Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry called the letter from the Sudan's President
a major setback that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) needed to discuss.
He said the letter was disappointing and tantamount to a requirement for a re-negotiation
of some of the points in the package. Britain, as well as other European countries
favour sanctions against the Sudan.
Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry also said
that it was time to put pressure on Sudan because the letter from Bashir "amounts
to a renegotiation" of earlier agreements: "I would put down a resolution
on sanctions next week on that basis that I would expect to get it adopted."
China's UN Ambassador called on the Sudan's President to explain his reply letter
to the UNSG. As far as China is concerned, on 30 November 2006 in Addis Ababa,
the understanding was clear that all the Parties are committed to the Plan. However,
from the Chinese perspective it seems that there are miscommunications and misunderstandings
on the Sudanese part.
United States: Acting US Ambassador Alejandro Wolff
said he had not studied the letter from President El Bashir but was not surprised
at the initial indications of firm resistance and no progress. Wolff further said
the US would see whether it was time to pursue further sanctions against the Sudan.
French President Jacques Chirac on Tuesday 20 March 2007 threatened Sudan with
sanctions if the "crimes against humanity" in the war-torn region of
"I say solemnly: if the attacks continue, if agreements
are not respected, the (United Nations) Security Council will have no other choice
but to adopt sanctions. We are already working on it," he said in a message
read out during a meeting organised by French group Urgence Darfur in Paris.
everything must be done to ensure the UN and African Union forces can be deployed
to Darfur," he added.
African Mission in Sudan (AMIS)
Somalia, we are also concerned that African forces in Sudan, AMIS have come under
attack in Darfur. On 5 March 2007, two AMIS soldiers were killed and one was injured
when forces opened fire on 4 soldiers. Since its deployment in 2004, AMIS has
suffered eleven casualties. The situation in Darfur, particularly the implementation
of the DPA as the implicated soldiers belong to the SLA faction led by Minni Minnawi
who is the signatory to the DPA and the Senior Assistant in the Sudan Presidency.
On Tuesday 13 March 2007 Rwanda threatened to withdraw its troops from
Sudan's Darfur region unless more resources are committed to the African peacekeeping
Rwanda has about 2,000 troops forming the backbone of the 7,000-strong
African Union (AU) force in Darfur, which is facing a shortage of money and equipment.
Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president, told reporters: "The AU ... is being
overstretched in the sense that it has no capacity, no logistics, no funds and
is facing weaknesses in coordination.
People are still dying, the
rebels and government are still clashing," he said. "We have given our
support, but there are no results on the ground."
The European Union
(EU) which has provided most of the financing for AMIS appealed for wider international
financial support for AMIS. It is reported that the EU's Special Peace Support
Fund for Africa has run dry. An extra US$262 million is needed for the Mission
to maintain its presence until the expiry of its mandate in June 2007.
is clear that the international community cannot expect Africa to play its role
in conflict resolution, and in this case conflict prevention and peace enforcement
if the necessary assistance is not provided to the African troops.
is that although, quite correctly, much attention is being placed on Darfur, not
enough attention is being placed on the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace
The implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)
10 March 2007, President El Bashir and his two Vice Presidents, Salva Kiir Mayardit
and Ali Osman Taha, two Ministers of State in the Presidency and the commanders
of the Joint Defence Board (JDB) held a meeting to review the work of the JBD.
The meeting was briefed by the Head of the JDB, Wiay Deng who stated that the
work of the JBD on security arrangements was progressing well as stated in the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), especially on matters related to the Joint
Integration Units (JIUs). The only problem is the issue of outstanding financial
entitlements to Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) troops in the JIUs.
Presidency responded by urging the Sudan Ministry of Finance to resolve the issue
as soon as possible and also called for better co-ordination between the Sudan
Armed Forces (SAF) and the SPLA. In addition, the Presidency called for the commencement
of the training of all JIUs personnel within a period of one month. On the agenda
for the next meeting are the issues of the Abyei border dispute and the other
armed groups in the Sudan.
Further to its campaign to fight corruption,
the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) on 10 March 2007 arrested the Director-General
in the GOSS Ministry of Finance on the charges of corruption. It will be recalled
that in February 2007, the GOSS Minister of Finance, Arthur Akuein, was accused
of embezzling US$1 million. Retired Brig. Martin Malual, former Sudan Minister
of Cabinet Affairs has also been arrested on similar allegations of corruption.
The GOSS Legislative Assembly has resolved to establish committees to further
investigate allegations against the Director General and Brig. Martin Malual.
6 March 2007 the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) launched
a US$56.1 million appeal for its operation in Southern Sudan. The money will be
used to assist with the return of more than 100 000 refugees from nearby countries,
the resettlement of 25 000 internally displaced persons, the provision of reintegration
packages to returnees, the rehabilitation of health clinics and schools in the
region and the improvement of shelter and sanitation.
Sudan suspends links
with International Criminal Court
Sudan has decided to suspend all co-operation
with the International Criminal Court in response to its accusations that Sudanese
officials were involved in war crimes in Darfur, the justice minister said on
Sunday 18 March 2007.
"We had extended our cooperation with the ICC
for some time, but now the situation is completely different," Justice Minister
Mohammed Ali al-Mardi said from Geneva, where he was attending a United Nations
Human Rights Council meeting.
"It's not even a question of co-operation
anymore, it's a question that they (the ICC) want to try Sudanese citizens, which
is absolutely nonsensical," the justice minister said.
in Peace Process
On 17th February 2007, 17 members of the core leadership
of the Paliphehutu-FNL returned to Bujumbura. They will be sitting on the Joint
Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JVMM) and the Joint Liaison Teams (JLTs).
The JVMM is the structure that oversees the ceasefire and the JLTs are subsidiary
structures of the JVMM.
The first meeting of the JVMM was held on 19th
January 2007. The Facilitator and Amb JNK Mamabolo were present, as were the representatives
of AU, ONUB and the representatives of the Regional Technical Team (consisting
of personnel from Uganda and Tanzania). The JVMM agreed on the establishment of
· JLT for the Release of Political and War Prisoners
JLT for the Movement of Combatants from Locations to Assembly Areas
JLT for Assembly Areas
· JLT for the Demobilisation Centres
JLT for Human Resource Development
· JLT for Training.
has received donor support from donors:
· France has provided €150,000.00
Belgium pledged €250,000.00 (post assembly period),
· The Netherlands
has pledged +/-R20 million.
These funding contributions will assist with
the establishment of the Assembly Areas, provide for welfare of the combatants
in the Assembly Areas, and assist with the DDR process. A number of NGO's, IGO's
and Government have indicated that they may assist once the combatants have moved
to the Assembly Areas.
"Political Agreement" was concluded on 4 March 2007 in Ouagadougou between
President Gbagbo and rebel leader Guillaume Soro under the mediation of ECOWAS
Chairman, President Blaise Compaore.
The South African government welcomes
this decision and will fully support efforts to ensure the speedy implementation
of this agreement.
The Ouagadougou Political Agreement on Cote d'Ivoire
encapsulates elements of both UNSC Resolution 1721 and President Gbagbo's Five
Point Plan with the latter seeking to address the following issues: national dialogue
with the rebels; the disarmament and the reunification of the country; the cancellation
of the confidence zone; creation of a National Civic Service; establishment of
an Aid Program for the return of the displaced war victims.
contains elements aimed at paving the way for the implementation of the United
Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1721 on Cote d'Ivoire, as follows:
The parties acknowledged the lack of a clear and coherent
census as well as the lack of national document to attest the identity and citizenship
of individuals. In this regard the following measures were taken:
The re-launching of the itinerant public audiences for the establishment of birth
· The restoration of lost or destroyed births, marriages
and deaths records.
· The organisation of the production of new IDs
(National Identification Cards and Residence Permits).
on the basis of the new electoral list.
parties in the direct dialogue repeated their commitment to the organisation of
open democratic and transparent presidential elections in accordance with the
Linas Marcoussis Agreement as soon as the identification process is completed.
To this end the following point were agreed upon:
· The enrolment on
the electoral list
· Publication of the electoral list
and distribution of voter's cards
· Collaboration with organisations
working in the electoral process.
Defence and Security of Cote d'Ivoire
parties agreed to proceed with the unification of the two belligerent forces by
creating an integrated operational structure that will implement the following:
· the creation of an integrated commandment centre to adopt its own
operational program and work under the authority of the Chief of Staff of the
FANCI and the Chief of Staff of the army of the New Forces
· The speedy
establishment of the national program of disarmament, demobilisation and rehabilitation
· Setting up and enrolment in the Civics Service by the ex-combatants.
National reconciliation, Peace, Security and the free movement of people and goods:
In this connection the following measures were taken:
· Removal of the
arms embargo and importation of light weapons three months after the presidential
elections, with the assistance of the UNSC and the ECOWAS Mediator.
The elimination of the Zone of Confidence and the establishment of the green line
from East to West to be monitored by impartial forces
of the Amnesty Law to exclude certain crimes
· The waving of sanctions
against certain Ivorians involved in the national crisis
· Setting up
of the program for the return of the displaced Ivorians.
by all parties to the Code of Good Behaviour to avert biased interpretation of
Follow-up and Consultation mechanism
A Permanent Framework
for Consultation was set up to periodically examine any issue relating to the
present agreement. The forum is composed as follows:
· Mr Laurent Gbagbo,
President of the Republic;
· Mr Guillaume Soro, Secretary General of
the New Forces;
· Mr Alassane Ouattara, President of the RDR;
Mr Konan Bedi, President of the PDCI
· Mr Blaise Compaore, ECOWAS Chairman
re: creation of military structure
President Laurent Gbagbo has signed a decree
creating a military structure that includes rebel forces.
The new integrated
command centre will include equal numbers of government troops and rebels, and
will work to demobilise militias from both sides.
The initiative is one
of the steps agreed in a recent peace deal aimed at ending years of civil war.
Outcomes of the 13th International Working Group
paid tribute to the President of Burkina Faso, H.E. Mr Blaise Compaoré,
for his untiring facilitation efforts in a spirit of Cupertino and appeasement.
It encouraged him to pursue these efforts in order to reach, as soon as possible,
an agreement that can re-launch the peace process in Côte d'Ivoire in keeping
with the expectations of the Ivorian populations. In this regard, the Group welcomes
the fact that the direct dialogue deals with fundamental issues mentioned in resolution
1721 that are at the core of the Ivorian crisis, namely: identification, the restructuring
of the defence and security forces, DDR, DDM, the redeployment of the administration,
and the preparation of elections. The Group appeals to the Ivorian parties to
take ownership of the peace process within the framework of resolution 1721. The
Group stresses that the agreement to be concluded by the Ivorian parties must
permit the normalisation of the situation in Côte d'Ivoire.
heard a briefing by the commanders of the impartial forces, who mentioned the
fragility of the situation in the country and recalled the security risk that
would result from a stagnation of the peace process.
The Group stressed
that any global agreement reached at the direct dialogue will not be able to facilitate
the settlement of the Ivorian crisis unless the signatories translate into action
their will to achieve peace by fulfilling all their commitments in good faith.
Group will hold its next meeting on 13 April 2007 in Côte d'Ivoire.
by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
Following the signing of a peace agreement
between the rival leaders in Côte d'Ivoire, United Nations Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon called on the international community to be ready to provide key help
in such fields as disarmament, security sector reform and preparations for elections
in the divided country.
"The United Nations stands ready, and continues
to prepare and assist Ivorian parties in implementing rapidly and in a comprehensive
manner the many key tasks related to those processes."
of the international community for the political process should be complemented
by commensurate efforts to address the humanitarian situation in the country,"
he writes, urging donors to contribute generously to the 2007 UN appeal for Côte
I think that we have in the last few
days seen some very historic decisions.
Palestinian Unity Government
Minister Ismail Haniya, announced after talks with President Mahmoud Abbas, on
Wednesday 14 March 2007, that Fatah and Hamas, the rival Palestinian factions,
have agreed on the composition of a Palestinian unity government. We believe this
a very representative Cabinet and is the first time in the history of the Palestinian
people that there is such a Cabinet.
Ismail Haniya Hamas
Deputy prime minister: Azzam al-Ahmad Fatah
Bassam El Salehi Peoples party (Communist)
Foreign: Ziad Abu Amr Independent
Salam Fayad Independent
Health: Radwan al-Akhras Fatah
Interior: Hani al-Qawasmi Independent
Saidi al-Krunz Fatah
Planning: Sameer Abu Aicheh Independent
Samih al Abed Fatah
Prisoner Affairs: Suleiman Abu Sneina Fatah, West Bank
of state: Khuloud Ehdeib Independent
Social Affairs: Saleh Ziedan Democratic
Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Agenda of the Unity Government
government confirms that ending the Israeli occupation is the key for achieving
peace in the Palestinian territories, recognising the Palestinian peoples right
of self-determination, the government will co-operate with the international community
for ending the Israeli occupation, and the restoration of the legitimate rights
of the Palestinian people which will enable us to construct a solid ground for
peace, security and prosperity in the region.
The government abides by protecting
and saving the higher interests and rights of the Palestinian people, preserving
their achievements and developing it, implementing their national goals, according
to national councils, basic law articles, the national reconciliation document
and the Arab summits' resolutions, up on this basis the government will respect
the resolutions of the international legitimacy and the accords which were signed
by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO).
The government confirms that
resistance is a legitimate right for the Palestinian people which is approved
by all norms and international documents, our people have the right to defend
themselves against any Israeli occupation, the government believes that stopping
resistance is related to ending the Israeli occupation.
national reconciliation, the government will do its best to stabilise the ceasefire
accord and will continue expanding it to achieve an overall mutual ceasefire accord
in exchange for ending the Israeli occupation, assassinations, raids, needs, demolishing
houses, Jerusalem excavations, lifting check points, roadblocks, re-opening crossings,
lifting restrictions on frequent movement and releasing prisoners.
abides by what was stated in the national reconciliation document concerning negotiations
with Israel, where the PLO is designated to hold negotiations with Israel and
the Palestinian Authority Chairman on the basis of adhering to the Palestinian
national goals and implementing it, however any fateful agreement will be presented
for a vote of confidence in the Palestinian Legislative Council first, or will
be subjected to a public referendum inside and outside Palestine.
will support all efforts done regarding releasing the abducted Israeli soldier
Saleet and achieving an honourable prisoners swap deal.
The government stresses
on its Arabic and Islamic depth, it will establish correct, strong relations and
ties with different countries in the world as well as with the international associations
including the UN and the Security Council, and regional international organisations,
this will help in strengthening peace and world stability. The EU has offered
a lot of aid to our Palestinian people and its supported its right for independence
and freedom, the EU had serious policies in criticising the Israeli policy towards
Palestinians, that is why we are concerned about building strong and solid relations
with the EU, we still expect a bigger role from the EU to push Israel to respect
the human rights which were stated by international documents and its withdrawal
from all the Palestinian territories, stopping all continuous aggression towards
The government will also develop its relations with the permanent
members of the Security Council (Russia, China, Japan, African states and Asian
states) thus ensuring the rights of our Palestinian people. In the meantime the
government will call on the United States to reconsider its unfair stance on the
Palestinian case and it will call on the US administration to respect the Palestinian
people's choice represented in the formation of the unity government.
of South African government
South Africa welcomes this historic development.
Palestinian leaders have put the interests of the Palestinian people at the top
of their agenda.
United in action, the Palestinians can now, decisively,
struggle for a Palestinian state living side by side with an Israeli state.
the EU, the US, the Quartet and Israel have given a qualified welcome to the formation
of the unity government and have indicated that they will not lift sanctions and
normalise relations with the Palestinian government.
The South African government
believes this is a very short-sighted approach and call on the USA, the EU, Israel
and other countries that have imposed sanctions against the Palestinian Authority
to immediately lift these sanctions and start genuine talks without pre-conditions
with the Palestinian Authority.
We call on Israel to release the Palestinian
funds that it has blocked since the Palestinian elections in January 2006.
call on the Palestinian Authority to stop all rocket attacks against Israel. This
has only resulted in massive Israeli military and other repressive actions and
has undermined the just Palestinian cause internationally.
We call for the
release of all political prisoners.
Without resolving the Palestinian-Israeli
issue, no other major challenges in the region, including terrorism, can be solved.
urge the Security Council, the Arab League and the Quartet to fulfill its responsibilities
and to seize the moment to ensure that at last we achieve a negotiated outcome
based on the two-state solution.
We do sincerely hope that the countries
who are making a qualified and sometimes begrudging recognition of the Palestinian
government should not lose this opportunity. We therefore eagerly watch the Arab
League Summit that will take place next week because we believe the neighbours
must take a decisive stand on the issue. The opportunity is there for a solution
and any attempt to minimise this historic moment will create the conditions for
more tension and violence.
South Africa has been in touch with all sectors
of Palestinian society before the formation of the unity government. We will now
intensify our efforts to assist the Palestinian government move from their isolation.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
In an interview
earlier this week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said, he was disappointed
that the new Palestinian coalition government did not endorsed the three basic
peace principles set down by the Middle East Quartet, namely recognition of Israel,
acceptance of previous agreements signed by the PLO and the Jewish state and renunciation
"It is important that parties concerned should respect
the right to exist, particularly Israel's, and engage in dialogue without resorting
to violence," he said.
Middle East Quartet Statement
Nations, Russian Federation, the United States and European Union)
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 - discussed by telephone the situation in the Middle East, and
in particular the establishment of a Palestinian National Unity Government.
Quartet reiterated its respect for Palestinian democracy and the agreement reached
in Mecca on 8 February 2007, which laid the foundation for Palestinian reconciliation.
The Quartet expressed hope that the establishment of a new government on 17 March
2007 would help end intra-Palestinian violence and ensure calm. The Quartet reaffirmed
its previous statements with regard to the need for a Palestinian government committed
to nonviolence, recognition of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements and
obligations, including the Roadmap, and encouraged progress in this direction.
The Quartet agreed that the commitment of the new government in this regard will
be measured not only on the basis of its composition and platform, but also its
The Quartet expressed its expectation that the unity government
will act responsibly, demonstrate clear and credible commitment to the Quartet
principles, and support the efforts of President Abbas to pursue a two-state solution
to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, thereby achieving the peace, security, and
freedom the Israeli and Palestinian people desire and deserve.
reiterated the continuing need to coordinate and mobilize international assistance
in support of the Palestinian people, and endorsed the continuation of the Temporary
International Mechanism (TIM) for a three-month period while it evaluates the
situation and the international community works to develop a more sustainable
international mechanism for support to the Palestinians.
The Quartet expressed
its strong support for Secretary Rice's efforts to further facilitate discussions
with President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert with the aim of defining more clearly
the political horizon for the establishment of a Palestinian state and an end
to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Quartet agreed to meet in the region
soon to review developments and discuss the way ahead.
Defence Minister Ephraim Sneh on Friday 16 March 207 said Israel must boycott
the incoming Palestinian unity government but continue to work with president
Mahmud Abbas to defeat Hamas.
"Israel cannot give legitimacy to the
Palestinian unity government by cooperating with it while it rejects the principles
of the Quartet," Sneh told Israeli public radio.
"To cause the
failure of Hamas, we need a moderate Palestinian alternative and for that purpose
we must negotiate only with Abu Mazen (Abbas)," he added.
Union said it welcomed the formation of the government, although it remained cautious
about a possible resumption of aid.
"The EU will carefully assess
the platform and actions of the new government and its ministers," it said
in a statement.
Norway today Monday 19 March 2007
restored full relations with the Palestinian Authority on Monday after Ismail
Haniya's Hamas movement and president Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction formed a unity
government on Saturday.
Raymond Johansen, Norway's deputy foreign
minister, said: "We hope that all the European countries, and even other
countries, will ... support this unity government.
"We hope that
this unity government will work hard in order to fulfil the expectations from
the international community."
The Arab League Summit scheduled for 28 March 2007 held under the banner,
"The Summit of Solidarity," is expected to focus on the relaunch of
the Arab peace plan to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
to region by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice
Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice will travel to Aswan, Egypt; Jerusalem; Ramallah; and Amman,
Jordan March 23-27, 2007. In addition to bilateral meetings with representatives
from the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, Secretary Rice will
meet with the foreign ministers of the Arab Quartet and with Egyptian President
Mubarak in Aswan. She will also meet with Jordanian King Abdullah in Amman. While
in the region, Secretary Rice will discuss the next steps in achieving a two-state
solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as other regional issues
of mutual interest.
The need to move urgently and boldly to normalise relations
with the Palestinian Unity Government and to lift sanctions is highlighted by
three recent reports:
1. Briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Political
Affairs to Security Council B Lynn Pascoe
"Despite continuing tensions,
violence and mistrust, a majority of Israelis and Palestinians still embrace a
common dream of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace
and security," B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs,
told the Security Council.
In his first briefing on the issue, he said
that, often and tragically, the hopes for peace in the Middle East had been frustrated.
There was no choice, however, but to keep working towards that end; to overcome
the setbacks that would inevitably occur and to build, wherever possible, on steps
in the right direction. There had been several positive developments during the
past month -- among them the agreement reached in Mecca on a Palestinian national
unity Government and the renewal of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.
said that the ceasefire agreed in Mecca had already calmed the internal Palestinian
front, although isolated clashes underscored the fragility of the situation. Palestinian
Prime Minister designate Ismail Haniyeh had consulted all factions on forming
a new Government and remained in close and frequent contact with President Mahmoud
Abbas. Under the basic law, the new Government must be finalized by 21 March,
and there were signs that it might be presented imminently to the Palestinian
Legislative Council. "We must hope that the new Government will take positions
and actions that demonstrate, as was agreed in Mecca, respect for the signed agreements
of the PLO, which renounce terrorism, recognize Israel's right to exist in peace
and security, and impose crucial obligations on the Palestinian Authority."
21 February in Berlin, Germany, the Quartet had affirmed it would take a "wait
and see" approach, he continued. In the meantime, preliminary discussions
were under way on new ideas proposed by the European Commission for facilitating
aid, financing and coordination to support Palestinian social and economic development
and to strengthen public institutions and governance. President Abbas and Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert had met on two occasions, one on 19 February with United
States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and again last Sunday in a bilateral
meeting, he said. There were also welcome signs of increased engagement by Arab
countries, centring around efforts to breathe new life into the Arab Peace Initiative.
There were no further moves, however, towards dialogue between Israel and Syria.
the past month, the lives of 23 Palestinians -- 8 at the hands of the Israel Defense
Forces -- and 1 Israeli had been taken by violence, he said. Noting that Palestinian
militants had fired at least 55 rockets into Israel from Gaza, he commended Israel's
continued restraint in the face of those unjustified provocations in breach of
the agreed ceasefire. Israeli security forces in Tel Aviv had arrested a man who
allegedly had been preparing a suicide bombing. Those incidents underscored the
importance for a new Palestinian Government to ensure that its security forces
worked in harmony to prevent the smuggling of weapons, to impose internal law
and order, and to act firmly against those who perpetrated attacks against Israel.
late February, the Israel Defense Forces had launched a large military operation
in Nablus, during which sites used for preparing explosives had been uncovered
and a number of suspects arrested, he said. However, thousands of Palestinians
had been put under curfew for several days. Other Israel Defense Forces' actions
included the firing on fishermen in the coastal waters of the Gaza Strip.
to the situation in the Old City of Jerusalem and Israeli excavation and construction
activity near the Al-Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, he said a delegation of the
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had
recently visited that World Heritage-listed site and reported on the situation
to the Secretary-General yesterday. The report recommended that the Government
of Israel be asked to comply with its obligations regarding heritage conservation
in World Heritage Sites, and to stop immediately the archaeological excavation,
even though the works did not threaten the stability of the Western Wall or Al-Aqsa
Mosque. Other recommendations included a call on the Israeli Government to clearly
define the final design of the access structure to the Mughrabi Gate and to have
the process supervised by an international team of experts coordinated by UNESCO.
Pascoe also expressed concern at the continued creation of facts on the ground.
The construction of the barrier was now complete along more than half of its route
and continuing, contrary to the advisory opinion of the International Court of
Justice. Settlement activity also continued and the Israeli Government had yet
to begin to dismantle the more than 100 settlement outposts in the West Bank,
despite its clear obligations to do so under the Road Map.
on Movement and Access was still not being fully implemented and, while there
had been some progress at Karni, where truck crossings had increased by 15 per
cent during the past month -- doubling since November -- further efforts were
needed to meet the targets of the Agreement. There had been little or no progress
on other fronts, he added. Rafah had been open for only 16 per cent of the scheduled
hours and the crossing had become increasingly volatile and insecure. As the European
Union Border Assistance Mission had warned repeatedly, limited and unscheduled
openings at Rafah made it extremely difficult to control the crossing.
some 5,000 Palestinians had tried to exit Gaza through Rafah during an unscheduled
opening on 8 March, the human crush had left one person dead and seven injured.
"The unsatisfactory situation at Rafah raises the risks of violence, creates
greater incentives for smuggling through illegal entry points and causes disillusionment
among Gaza residents," he said. Despite the commitments made this past December
between Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas, there had been no meaningful
reduction in the number of obstacles to movement in the West Bank, which currently
stood at 529. The lack of action to improve movement and access in accordance
with existing commitments undermined efforts to revive the Palestinian economy.
said that United Nations workers were also facing increased restrictions on their
movement, thus jeopardizing humanitarian operations in Gaza, even as needs on
the ground continued to grow. That situation had recently drawn the attention
of senior Israeli officials, and he hoped that would lead to the lifting of the
On Lebanon, he said that there had been
several important developments since the Council had last been briefed. Opposition
demonstrations that had begun in Beirut in December had continued to occur in
a calm and orderly manner and without major incidents. Regional efforts to broker
a solution to the political impasse were becoming more intense in the lead up
to the Arab League Summit on 28 March, resulting in a general atmosphere of cautious
optimism. He said that the Speaker of Parliament, Nabih Berri, and the leader
of the Future Movement, Saad Hariri, had met three times in recent days to bridge
the gap between the Government and the opposition.
In contrast, there had
been a "worrying increase" in the number of security threats and bomb
scares reported in Lebanon over the past four weeks, he said, adding that Lebanese
security forces had discovered several explosive devices in Beirut, in populated
areas outside the capital and throughout the country. While a number of those
explosives were not primed to detonate; on one occasion, detonators linked to
chemical substances had been discovered.
Turning to the situation in southern
Lebanon, he said that the past month had been relatively calm along the "Blue
Line", although, regrettably, Israeli violations of that border continued.
For instance, Israeli planes had violated Lebanese airspace on 21 February, drawing
anti-aircraft fire from the Lebanese army in response. In addition, the United
Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was conducting an investigation into
a Blue Line violation that had taken place earlier this month when a Lebanese
youth was forced by Israeli soldiers to cross the Blue Line and the technical
fence into the Israeli side. The findings of that investigation would be communicated
to both sides.
Wrapping up his presentation, he said he had highlighted
a number of positive developments that contrasted with a year of diminished hopes
and expectations in the region. "Much will depend now on how recent agreements
are implemented on the ground," he said, adding that an international community,
engaged in the period ahead with both firmness and flexibility, could help ensure
that encouraging steps forward turned into longer strides for peace.
Report by Special Rapporteur Professor John Dugard
The report by John
Dugard, a South African law professor who is the UN's special rapporteur on human
rights in the Palestinian territories, has likened Israel's occupation of the
Palestinian territories to apartheid South Africa and says there should be "serious
consideration" over bringing the occupation to the international court of
Prof Dugard said although Israel and apartheid South Africa were
different regimes, "Israel's laws and practices in the OPT [occupied Palestinian
territories] certainly resemble aspects of apartheid." His comments are in
an advance version of a report on the UN Human Rights Council's website ahead
of its session next month.
After describing the situation for Palestinians
in the West Bank, with closed zones, demolitions and preference given to settlers
on roads, with building rights and by the army, he said: "Can it seriously
be denied that the purpose of such action is to establish and maintain domination
by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically
oppressing them? Israel denies that this is its intention or purpose. But such
an intention or purpose may be inferred from the actions described in this report."
He dismissed Israel's argument that the sole purpose of the vast concrete
and steel West Bank barrier is for security. "It has become abundantly clear
that the wall and checkpoints are principally aimed at advancing the safety, convenience
and comfort of settlers," he said.
Gaza remained under occupation despite
the withdrawal of settlers in 2005. "In effect, following Israel's withdrawal,
Gaza became a sealed-off, imprisoned and occupied territory," he said.
Dugard said his mandate was solely to report on human rights in the occupied Palestinian
territories and he described as a violation of international humanitarian law
the firing of rockets by Palestinians from Gaza into Israel. "Such actions
cannot be condoned and clearly constitute a war crime," he said. "Nevertheless,
Israel's response has been grossly disproportionate and indiscriminate and resulted
in the commission of multiple war crimes."
3. UN World Food Programme
and Food and Agriculture Organisation
A report by the United Nations World
Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that One-third
of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are food insecure.
34% of Palestinians cannot afford a balanced meal and another 12% are at risk
of reaching this state, the organisations found in a Comprehensive Food Security
and Vulnerability Assessment published this month. Most affected is the Gaza Strip,
where 51% of the population suffers from food insecurity.
families are now living a meagre existence totally reliant on assistance, with
no electricity or heating and eating food prepared with water from bad sources,"
according to a statement by Arnold Vercken, the WFP country director for the occupied
Palestinian territories (oPt).
Poverty is rising in the West Bank and Gaza
because of international sanctions, compounded by Israeli restrictions on the
movement of Palestinian goods and labour related to security concerns. The Palestinian
Authority (PA) cannot pay its civil servants because the international community
has refused to fund the PA unless the Palestinian government, which includes Hamas,
recognises Israel and renounces violence.
Some PA salaries are being paid
through a Temporary International Mechanism supported by the European Commission.
About 80% of Gazans receive aid from WFP or UNRWA.
"Without a political
resolution - and particularly removal of restrictions on movement - improvement
in the humanitarian situation is unlikely and millions will remain dependent on
assistance," noted the FAO/WFP report. "A substantive injection of aid
and social transfers has partially cushioned the declining humanitarian situation
in Palestine, but aid cannot fully compensate for the loss of self-reliance."
We have recently seen the fourth anniversary of the
invasion of Iraq by coalition forces.
The carnage continues and it is conservatively
estimated that about 65000 have been killed and thousands injured.
Africa welcomed the recent meeting held in Baghdad in preparation for a meeting
of neighbouring Foreign Ministers.
The meeting was attended by Iraq's neighbours
- Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait and representatives of the five permanent
members of the United Nations Security Council, the Arab League and the Organisation
of Islamic Conference (IOC).
Another important development was the meeting
of nearly 100 delegations from Member States, humanitarian agencies and regional
organizations gathered at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Friday 16
March 2007 for a long-term initiative for Iraq that aims to consolidate peace
and pursue political, economic and social development over the next five years
in the violence-torn country.
It was the first time that the International
Compact with Iraq (ICI), a joint UN-Iraqi Government plan, has met in New York
since it was initiated last July, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called
it "a tool for unlocking Iraq's own potential" in public sector resource
management, institution building and human development, and in achieving a more
holistic approach to energy management.
Comments by Secretary-General Ban
I thank you all for attending this meeting and for your commitment
to the International Compact with Iraq.
The preparatory process for the
Compact has been under way in Baghdad since July 2006. This process, which included
two high-level meetings in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, has brought together the Government
of Iraq and the international community in an effort to develop a mechanism that
would help Iraq to realize its national vision.
As you know, a small support
group was established to support the preparatory process. But it has always been
our intention -- and that of the Government of Iraq -- to expand the group in
due course. Today's meeting offers an opportunity to bring the larger international
community together to consider how best to support the people of Iraq under the
I am pleased that His Excellency, Mr. Adel Abdul Mahdi, Vice-President
of Iraq, is here today to inform us about the latest developments in Iraq and,
in particular, about the progress that has been made in the preparatory process
for the Compact.
We are all aware of the difficult situation in Iraq. It
is heart-wrenching to see almost daily attacks on innocent civilians, which have
left immense suffering and pain in their wake. Beyond the political violence and
sectarian strife, a humanitarian crisis is stretching the patience and ability
of ordinary people to cope with everyday life. The United Nations is now strengthening
its humanitarian efforts, and working with Iraq's neighbours and other countries
in the region, to address the increasing needs of those who have left Iraq temporarily,
those displaced inside the country and those suffering from diminishing access
to basic public services.
Given these circumstances, some may question why
a Compact would be necessary or appropriate. I understand these concerns. However,
a framework for normalization is required now more than ever.
I am also
aware of the view that there is a multitude of initiatives on Iraq, which have
yet to yield tangible results. Certainly, there is a need to streamline and consolidate
these initiatives, and to concentrate on achievable goals. But, unlike the other
initiatives, the Compact focuses on Iraq's long-term economic development, while
also stressing progress in the political and security fields, through a mutually
The Compact aims to achieve its objectives in
First, a "national compact" among Iraqis on the necessary
security and political steps would be agreed upon. These steps are prerequisites
for the normalization of the situation in Iraq and for the revitalization of the
Second, an "international compact" between Iraq and its
partners would set out the Government of Iraq's agenda for the next five years
with regard to economic and social reform. This shared vision and mutual commitment
would allow the international community to channel support in accordance with
the priorities decided upon by Iraqis themselves.
The Compact should be
seen as a tool for unlocking Iraq's own potential. It seeks to achieve concrete
results in the areas of public sector resource management, institution-building
and human development, in line with the United Nations Millennium Development
Goals. It also emphasizes a more holistic approach to energy management. Towards
that end, the Government's recent efforts to adopt new oil and gas legislation
are encouraging. Indeed, a viable arrangement to share the nation's oil wealth
and natural resources can also help build much-needed trust and confidence among
There has also been welcome progress in adopting other
key legislative acts. But these may not achieve their full and positive impact,
unless the same consensus is also expressed in the Iraqi Constitution. This makes
a genuine and meaningful constitutional review process all the more important.
all, it is essential that all Iraqi communities come together in a spirit of dialogue
to find lasting solutions. As they do so, they should be able to count on the
active support of Iraq's neighbours and the international community. The Compact
is an important framework for fulfilling precisely those shared responsibilities
towards Iraq and its people.
The United Nations is committed to supporting
the implementation of the Compact. Through my good offices, and those of my Special
Representative in Iraq, Mr. Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, the United Nations will make
every effort to ensure that the international community remains engaged in this
I have appointed Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, who is well known to you
all, as my Special Advisor on the International Compact with Iraq and Other Political
Issues, to succeed Mr. Mark Malloch Brown as co-Chair of the Compact. He will
be in active contact with all concerned to move this process forward and to ensure
The challenges ahead are immense. I am sure you will all agree
that we cannot leave Iraq on its own to cope with them. The International Compact
is intended to help the Government to build a secure, unified, federal and democratic
nation, founded on the principles of freedom and equality, capable of providing
peace and prosperity for all its people.
A positive political progress and
a reduction of violence are essential preconditions for the success of this initiative.
I call on the parties to work towards this goal. And, to maintain the momentum
generated by this meeting itself, I encourage the Government of Iraq to agree
on the date and venue for the launch of the International Compact.
you again for attending this meeting. I am hopeful that, through our concerted
efforts, we can help to build a country at peace with itself, with its neighbours,
and with the wider international community.
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
way the media has handled our approach to the United Nations Security Council's
position on Zimbabwe is far from the reality that is on the ground.
the way in which our approach on the resolution on Iran has been handled by the
South African media is again not reflective of the reality on the ground.
find it a bit strange that when a group of countries, as is experienced in the
Security Council with the P5 and in the case of Iran, the P5+ Germany, submit
after very secret consultations a draft resolution, why any country's attempt,
including that of South Africa, to contribute to that resolution is seen to be
an attempt to "scupper" what has been achieved, and other such descriptions.
you mush accept that it is incumbent upon South Africa and other non-permanent
members of the Security Council, who for the first time are seeing such a resolution,
to make inputs where necessary? Why else would we be members of the Security Council?
It doesn't mean that by proposing amendments we are opposing certain countries?
We have positions. What is wrong with putting forward our positions for purposes
of debate and negotiation? We will vote, as will have to do on Saturday, based
on negotiations that we have for the first time had with the P5+Germany on the
draft resolution. You must understand that the negotiations that led to the draft
resolution were conducted completely secretly. We are only privy to the document
when it is put forward as a draft resolution.
I think it is incumbent upon
any country worth its salt or with any independent foreign policy perspectives
to be able to interact with the P5+Germany, not to be intransigent, but to find
common ground. It is not a matter that we are being spiteful or malicious. It
is the logic of the Security Council mechanism to act in such a way.
the appropriate time we make a critical analysis on how the South African media
has covered matters that are critical to international peace and security.
have also, on many of these issues said to the opposition parties in parliament,
that it is a practice of international relations to not have differing positions
without understanding the issues. We are therefore willing, as Foreign Affairs,
to meet with them to explain our positions so that an understanding can be facilitated.
is not helpful to us to have vibrant and militant statements emerging without
a clear understanding of the issues confronting the government and region.
The United Nations Security Council is
expected to, on Saturday 24 March 2007, vote on a new resolution against Iran.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said
on Thursday 15 March 2007 that Iran would not shelve its nuclear programmes and
that a Security Council resolution could not stop Iran from obtaining nuclear
"Today the enemies of the Iranian people are seeking
to use the Security Council to prevent the progress and development of Iran,"
said President Ahmadinejad.
"But the Security Council has no legitimacy
among the peoples of the world."
"What is the aim of issuing
such resolutions? Today we are mastering the nuclear fuel cycle completely."
"If all of you (Westerners) get together and call your ancestors from
hell as well, you will not be able to stop the Iranian nation."
nations suspect Iran's nuclear programme is a cover for efforts to make atomic
weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
Washington says it wants a diplomatic
solution, but has not ruled out military action.
In a meeting with Iranian
Ambassadors to Western European states in Tehran on Monday 12 March 2007 said
that Iran is prepared to cooperate with Europe towards promotion of peace, justice
and humanitarian goals.
The chief executive underlined that expansion of
friendly ties with all countries and nations within the framework of country's
beliefs and ideals is one of the major principles of Iran's policy.
spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham:
Said in Iran on Tuesday 13 March 2007 that
suspension of enrichment was no longer an issue: "The opposite side has killed
the issue. Hence, the rights and assertions of the Islamic Republic of Iran are
At his weekly press conference, Elham made it clear
that while Iran would not welcome a new sanctions resolution (by the UN Security
Council), it would not be concerned about one and urged the council to move reasonably
on Iran's nuclear case because other options, sanctions in particular, would only
complicate the current situation. He said "sanctions will have no impact
on the progress of the Iranian nation. To us, sanctions are not new literature
because they had been imposed on Iran way back since the victory of the Islamic
Revolution (in 1979).
"The Islamic Republic of Iran is not concerned
about possible sanctions."
The spokesman added that in international
arrangements, sanctions affect both sides.
Expediency Council Chairman
Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani:
On Tuesday 13 March 2007 called on the
global community to deal with Iran's nuclear case wisely.
Republic of Iran has taken necessary measures to build up international confidence
in its peaceful nuclear program, hoping that the concerned parties would take
effective steps to settle the problem by focusing on winning the other party's
confidence," said Rafsanjani in a meeting with Singaporean senior minister
Goh Chok Tong.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki
Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Wednesday 14 March 2007 that he still hoped
a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program issue could be achieved in spite
of efforts by the West to pass a new UN Security Council resolution stepping up
Minister Mottaki reiterated Iran's insistence that its nuclear
program was "peaceful" and that a compromise was essential to kick-starting
talks that could lead to a "comprehensive solution."
and the West agreed on concessions resulting in a suspension in the West's push
against Iran in the UN Security Council and Iran's honoring of the Additional
Protocols to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a diplomatic solution could
be achieved "within three to four weeks," said Minister Mottaki.
said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran's
current activities were "safe," adding that Iran could provide sufficient
assurances that its nuclear program would not diverge from peaceful purposes in
Foreign Minister Mottaki held discussions with President Mbeki
in Cape Town on Tuesday 20 March 2007.
Mohamed ElBaradei visited Pyongyang, the DPRK capital, Wednesday and Thursday
last week at the invitation from the DPRK after it committed in Six-Party talks
in Beijing last month to eventually dismantle all nuclear weapon facilities and
materials in return for energy and other aid.
Dr Mohamed ElBaradei said, following
his talks in North Korea that it is committed to a disarmament agreement reached
in February but wants sanctions against it lifted first.
Mr ElBaradei said
the visit had been "quite useful" and had opened the way to a normal
"I think they were very clear that they are willing to
implement the February 13 agreement once the other parties implement their part,"
he said, referring to an agreement reached at six-party talks grouping the two
Koreas, Russia, Japan, the United States and host China.
(North Korea) mentioned that they are waiting for the lifting of sanctions with
regard to the Macau bank."
Of closing the Yongbyon nuclear plant he
said: "They said they are ready, willing and capable of doing that as soon
as the financial sanctions are lifted".
He added that the DPRK was
"positive about returning to IAEA membership."
negotiations with the DPRK indicates that if negotiations are undertaken on the
basis of equality, sovereignty, respect for the common concerns and positions
of al involved, a constructive approach to solve the matter through negotiations
and a "win-win" approach that any problem can be solved.
Developments in 6 Party Talks
The North Korean delegation had refused
to continue with negotiations until it is able to access $25m in funds that had
been frozen in a Macau bank and Chief Negotiator Kim Kye-gwan was reported to
have left Beijing.
The US Chief Envoy to the talks Christopher Hill said
on Monday that approval had been given for the funds to be released, raising hopes
that a major sticking point had been removed.
But the North Koreans said
no talks would be held until the funds appeared in a Bank of China account held
It is not clear what has caused the delay in transferring
Questions and answers
Question Deputy Minister,
regarding SADC and Zimbabwe - we had originally heard that the SADC meeting of
the Organ Troika was scheduled for Dar-es-Salaam on Monday and Tuesday next week.
We have heard this has now been postponed. Do you know why? What level of representation
are you expecting at the meeting? You also mentioned that some countries outside
Africa had some responsibility in the situation in Zimbabwe - which countries
were you referring to and how could they have assisted?
As we have indicated, President Kikwete as the Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics,
Defence and Security Co-operation, which is the right organ to deal with the matter
of conflicts and tensions, had gone to Zimbabwe to discuss his visit to Europe
and the preparations of the Africa - European Summit and in the context of this,
obviously, discussed the present situation in Zimbabwe.
It then emerged
that the Tanzanians were consulting with all members of the Organ to see whether
a Summit could be convened as soon as possible. I was not aware that they had
already decided on the date.
The Tanzanian government was still consulting
on the dates. As you know, when a Summit is called, you have to have Heads of
State present. For this to happen on short notice you have to ascertain whether
their programmes can be changed on short notice.
It is clear that President
Kikwete, as Chair of the Organ, believes that there must be discussion at the
highest levels to ascertain the way forward.
If this meeting is at Summit
level it will be attended by Heads of State, if it is at Ministerial level, it
will be attended by Foreign Ministers. Off course, these meetings are preceded
by meetings of senior officials.
Regarding my comments on the lack of action
from outside governments, what I had said was that, what is consistently challenged
is "quiet diplomacy" which we call constructive diplomacy against a
tougher diplomacy which we call "megaphone diplomacy".
my view, not necessarily that of my government, that if we had a common view with
specifically the European Union and the United States on how to deal with what
could be foreseen as an impending economic crisis which exacerbates the political
crisis, if Africa had been able to work together with the US and the EU to get
a more creative approach for all Zimbabweans to do what the Reserve Bank Governor
and Churches are now calling for, reconciliation and national dialogue, then what
would have happened is that the doors would not have been closed between the EU
and US and government forces in Zimbabwe. There would have been an opportunity
for discussion, even if quite critically, to find and implement a solution.
Until two weeks ago many forces were calling for this dialogue to begin, to find
a common approach to deal with the country's challenges.
We still believe
that Africa, Europe and the US must work together to find a constructive solution.
Deputy Minister Pahad, earlier today the Australian Foreign Minister called on
South Africa to assist with the removal of President Robert Mugabe. What are your
comments on this?
Answer It is useless for the Australian Foreign Minister
to call on us to do more without suggesting exactly what more can be done.
There are many calls for South Africa to do more. What more can South Africa do
that it has not done in terms of contributing to finding a solution?
was happy when the Chairman of the African Union said that Africa is not going
to lead an expeditionary force to Zimbabwe and that this must be rethought.
It is now a question of how we deal with particular issues in a more constructive
and creative way.
I do believe we could have done more to avoid the situation
in which we find ourselves today, if we worked together. If we had used the same
song sheet and sang in the same band, we could have helped the Zimbabweans work
together to find a solution and not allow the socio-economic and political situation
to have deteriorated to this point.
If we had worked together constructively
we would not find ourselves in this quagmire now.
I will wait for the
Australians and others, who are sitting very far away, advising us on our foreign
policy, to tell us what exactly we can do.
The Australian government took
a very strong stand in the Commonwealth Summit in Nigeria which closed doors and
created a climate of no-forward movement. Today, the situation is worse than when
the Commonwealth met in Nigeria. This is part of what I said earlier that a different
approach to finding a solution is in the interests of Zimbabwe, SADC and Africa.
Deputy Minister Pahad, do you think that South Africa's ideological positions
at the United Nations Security Council are compromising values it has striven
to uphold like the respect for human rights eg. South Africa's view of the Myanmar
vote? On Zimbabwe, you called on all parties in Zimbabwe to respect the rule of
law. Were you indicating that some of the opposition party members bore some responsibility
for the beatings that have been inflicted upon them?
Answer I don't think our
positions on the Security Council are based on ideology that impacts on our long
held traditions of the defence of human rights, etc. It is not also a support
We have explained quite consistently why we voted the way
in which we did on Myanmar. We categorically stated our concerns on the situation
in Myanmar and committed ourselves to doing all that is possible to restore democracy,
normalize the situation, have political prisoners released. This is not debatable.
Our challenge was: if we are strong advocates of multilateralism, which we are,
then we should not weaken multilateralism by taking issues out of the forum in
which they are best dealt with to the Security Council. This is a tendency that
has emerged and increased in the last few years.
For no reason, without
explanation, out of the blue, came the issue of Myanmar on the agenda of the Security
Council. We will continue to insist that the Security Council has a mandate to
deal with threats regional and international peace and security.
is the principled position that drives us, then we cannot vacillate each time
attempts are made to take the issue from where it should be discussed and smuggle
it into the Security Council.
I did say, when I briefed you after our
vote, that I could predict that after a lot of noise on the matter, based on our
vote that was not properly understood, this issue would disappear from the radar
of the civil society and media. For us who have to work daily on international
relations, we cannot respond to what I call 'hot issues' as a short-term event.
What has happened since our vote on Myanmar? Can anyone tell me what serious initiatives
have been put on the table in the relevant institutions? Has there been discussion
with ASEAN on how to proceed?
South Africa voted on principle.
With regard to Iran, I explained that it was already decided, against our view,
that this is a Security Council matter. But why would South Africa, as a member
of the Security Council, having been given a document that we had previously not
seen, not have the right to make our views known.
I said in the briefing,
that if this is how international relations is going to be conducted, then there
is no need for dialogue or to take into account the views of other countries.
It is not because we do not accept elements of the resolution but because we had
not previously seen it. We must make our views known through negotiations. Nobody
goes to negotiations with a bottom line that is cast in stone. But we must discuss
and negotiate and based on this we will vote on Saturday as it is now seems the
day on which the voting will take place. We will consult with NAM and other non-permanent
members of the Security Council and we will vote in the best interests of finding
a solution and not further escalating a very dangerous situation. The threat of
another arena of conflict is becoming a very real possibility.
not oppose matters just for opposition sake. We want to ensure that decisions
taken in the Security Council will prevent further outbreaks of conflict in the
We have consistently said, as part of the NAM Troika, to the Iranian
government that Iran's right, like South Africa's, to use nuclear energy for peaceful
purposes cannot be challenged, but because of the past experiences, there is an
area of distrust so there are two fundamental issues that must be tackled:
Iran's right to have nuclear energy for peaceful purposes; and
2. the international
community's concern that international safeguards must be put in place before
they can be convinced that there is no intention, despite what is being said by
the Iranians, to diversify its programme.
It is in this context that we have
called on the Iranians, within the IAEA, the Security Council and bilaterally
to conclude their negotiations with the IAEA so that the IAEA can produce an honest
and scientific assessment that Iran has no intentions of diversifying its programme.
will remain our position. We will continue to argue for Iran to conclude discussions
with the IAEA. This is the crux of the matter.
Regarding Zimbabwe - when
we call on all Zimbabweans to respect the rule of law it is so that all Zimbabweans
can be helped and that there can be an atmosphere of reconciliation and national
dialogue to take place. It doesn't mean we condone the actions against the demonstrators
but we do say, and this is my problem, in briefings given to all diplomats in
Zimbabwe, lists are given of actions being perpetrated by demonstrators, inter
alia - petrol bombings of police stations, looting of shops, high-jacking of vehicles
- I am not saying these acts are being committed by the opposition party but could
be perpetrated by some elements. We have this in South Africa too.
calling on all Zimbabweans to respect the law. You may not like the law but the
essence of democracy is that the law must be respected.
Minister Pahad, was Zimbabwe discussed at the yesterday's SADC Ministerial meeting?
On Iran, if South Africa's amendments to the resolution are rejected, will South
Africa support the original draft?
Answer SADC Ministerial meetings in February
and March are by their nature, very technical. SADC meets are different levels
and not many foreign ministers attend these meetings. The meeting was attended
by mainly trade and finance ministers because it dealt with integration, economic
issues and other such matters.
However, because we were there at this critical
time, we were briefed of President Kikwete's initiatives, the Zimbabweans gave
us their views and indeed there is a statement that was issued by the Double Troika.
Regarding how we will vote on Saturday - this is a matter that we are constantly
discussing with other members of the P5 and other non-permanent members of the
Security Council. In the end, our vote will be influenced by our view of a genuine
attempt to find a meeting of minds on the way forward.
South Africa is
not the only country which suggested amendments to the resolution. There are other
countries who have also suggested amendments. I cannot but overstretch this point,
if we are not able to put forward our views on a document that we have not seen
and to which we have received no explanations, why would be accept such a document
without discussions and explanations.
We would not be part of any multilateral
grouping if it has to be that we must simply accept any document that is put before
us. There must at least be some explanation to some of our concerns by those proposing
the draft text.
The Russian Prime Minister and my Russian counterpart were
in South Africa a few days ago. This was followed by the visit of the Iranian
Foreign Minister. We are also in touch with the Chinese. We are in constant touch
with the Director-General of the IAEA. Our envoy in New York is in touch with
the P5+Germany. However, despite these discussions, we had not seen the draft
resolution until it was presented to the Security Council. It is therefore not
incorrect to voice our views where necessary and look for clarification and explanations.
Deputy Minister Pahad, you criticized the opposition of governments outside of
Africa towards Zimbabwe without indicating what Africa is doing. Could you please
contextualize this? On the DRC, is Mr Bemba still at the South African Embassy?
Has he asked for any assistance?
Answer Mr Bemba is still in
the South African compound.
I have dealt with the first question.
Deputy Minister Pahad, has the South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe met with the
opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai? What is South Africa's position on the Zimbabwean
Foreign Minister saying that foreign diplomats should not have any contact with
members of the opposition?
Answer The South African High Commission
has met, as is consistent with our policy, with Mr Tsvangirai. As I have indicated,
we have consistently met with all sectors of Zimbabwean society, sometimes even
more than with the government of Zimbabwe.
Our High Commissioner is in
touch with civil society, with religious leaders and their initiative of the "Zimbabwe
we Want", the "Free Zimbabwe grouping", academics and other sections
of the Zimbabwe political and business community. So he has met Mr Tsvangirai.
We are awaiting his report whereupon we will decide on how to proceed.
I must say that in South Africa Ambassadors are allowed and encouraged to meet
with all sectors of South African society. Our democracy encourages such interaction.
South Africa has the biggest diplomatic representation in the world outside of
the US and some European countries.
I am not sure if under the Geneva Convention
you are able to disallow diplomats from meeting others in the country unless it
can be shown that such a diplomat is a threat to the stability of the country
and is interfering in the internal affairs of that country.
We have made
a statement on the violence that has occurred in Zimbabwe. The ANC has made its
own statement. We have expressed our concern and asked for international law to
be respected and for the conditions for reconciliation and dialogue to be created.
When we say the conditions must be created for the Zimbabweans to find a solution,
it does not mean that we sit back and watch. It means we encourage them as a Zimbabweans
to formulate a roadmap that the international community generally, SADC and the
AU in particular, can assist the Zimbabweans to implement. Clearly dialogue is
absolutely necessary in Zimbabwe and has been necessary for some time now.
The economic situation is very dire with unprecedented high levels of inflation
and not sufficient foreign direct investment into Zimbabwe. The Reserve Bank governor
two months ago indicated the seriousness of the situation based on various factors,
including policies that were implemented incorrectly in Zimbabwe. It is all on
the table. It would sometimes be good to follow these developments to see how
we can assist. We will be seized with how we can assist the people of Zimbabwe
and convince the international community on how we can change track on how to
deal with situations of crisis and conflict in Zimbabwe and other countries in
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, can you tell us if South Africa
will take any extra steps regarding Iran?
Answer South Africa does not have
any illusions that it can do anything more than what is being done by the P5+Germany,
the UN Security Council and the IAEA. As members of the IAEA we have always insisted
that the IAEA with the correct scientific expertise is the body best placed to
deal with the matter. The IAEA remains seized with the matter.
have been quite strident in their views on the UN Security Council resolution.
They are threatening retaliation and while they have not said what they will do,
it is easy to predict. They may walk out of the IAEA and/or prevent IAEA observers
from being in Iran. The tensions in the region are escalating at every moment.
Our intention, as should be that of the P5+Germany, is to find a solution that
will not further exacerbate the tensions.
Announcement of newly appointed
South African Heads of Mission (Director-General Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba)
Republic of Namibia
Nominee: Ambassador Eunice Valerie Komane
Komane was born on 9 June 1941 in Kroonstad, Free State. After completing her
High School studies, she pursued a nursing career and obtained General Nursing
and Midwifery courses; as well as a degree in Nursing from the University of South
Ambassador Komane worked as a General Nurse and later a Nursing
Sister from 1972- 1990 in Kimberly and Bethlehem respectively. She was later appointed
as a Nursing Tutor also in Kimberly where she served from 1991 -1994. She was
appointed MEC for Safety and Security, Public Works and Gender Issues in the Northern
Cape Provincial Government from 1994 - 1999.She represented the Northern Cape
in the South African delegation to the 4th UN World Conference on Women in Beijing.
Komane has been an active member of the ANC Women's League and has served as Chairperson
of the ANCWL Northern Cape region in 1992, 1993, and 1995. She was appointed South
African High Commissioner to Botswana in 2002, where she is currently serving
Democratic Republic of Congo
Nominee: Reverend (Dr) Molefe Samuel Tsele
Tsele was born on 7 December 1956 and is married with three children. He matriculated
at Mabuya High School in Daveyton in 1976. He obtained a Bachelor of Theology
(1980) and Honours (1989) from the University of South Africa. He later obtained
a Master of Theology in Political Ethics (1991) as well as a PhD (1995) from the
Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, USA.
Rev Tsele served as a Parishioner
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Soweto from 1981 to 1989 until he was placed
under a banning order under the State of Emergency Regulations of 1986. He later
went to pursue his Theology studies abroad. On his return, he briefly worked as
a Lecturer at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Maphumulo (July 1995 - March
1996). He was later appointed as Executive Director of the Ecumenical Service
for Social Economic Transformation (ESSET) from April 1996 to December 1999.
joined the Office of the Premier of the Northwest Government in January 2001 where
he served as Special Advisor to Premier Popo Molefe until April 2001. Rev Tsele
was appointed as General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches where
he served from May 2001 - March 2006. He is currently the Political Advisor to
the Premier of North West Ms Edna Molewa.
Rev Tsele involvement in community
work has afforded him opportunities to take part in several SA Observer Missions,
including inter alia, as member of the SA Observer Mission to Zimbabwean Presidential
Elections; Head of SA Observer Mission to the Palestinian Parliamentary Elections
; and recently member of SA Observer Mission to the elections in the Democratic
Republic of Congo.
Country: Republic of Botswana
Ambassador Moopeloa was born in Bloemfontein, Free
State. After completing his High School studies, he enrolled at Wits Technikon
where he obtained an Advanced Certificate in Personnel Management. During his
time in exile, he served as Administrator and Commander at the Botswana Transit
Camp. On his return from exile, he served as Political Education Officer and Trainer
for the ANC PWV Region.
He joined the South African Police Services (SAPS)
in 1994 and served in many capacities focussing on Policy Formulation and Administration;
as well as Operational Planning and Technical Support. After leaving the SAPS,
he joined Zonkizizwe Group as Group General Manager. He was appointed South African
Ambassador to United Arab Emirates in 2002 , a position he currently holds.
Republic of Mexico
Nominee: Mr Mohakama Nyangweni Mbete
Mphakama Mbete matriculated at St Francis College in Marianhill in Natal. He enrolled
for a BSc degree at the University of Fort Hare in 1971 and was a very active
member of the South African Student's Organisation. Due to his involvement in
political activities, he could not complete his degree and later went into exile.
Whilst in exile he completed a Diploma in Political Science at the Academy of
Social Sciences in Bulgaria (1984) and an Advanced Diploma in Institutional Development
in London (1994).
Mr Mbete has served the ANC in many capacities including
as Project Officer at the ANC Office in Swaziland (1976 -1977); Information Officer
/ Journalist at the ANC Office in Tanzania (1977); Senior Member of the Department
of Intelligence in Maputo and Zambia respectively (1980 -1985); Administrator
of the ANC Office in Harare (1989 -1991). On his return from exile, Mr Mbete worked
as regional Co-ordinator for the South African Committee for Higher Education
(SACHED). He later moved to the National Intelligence Agency and served as Manager
for domestic intelligence. In 2001, he was tasked to spearhead the establishment
of the South African National Academy for Intelligence, an institution he is now
Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152