Transcript Copy: Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad Media Briefing 17 April 2008, Media Centre, Union Buildings, Pretoria

Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organisations, in particular the African Union, in the maintenance of international peace and Security.

  • On 16 April 2008, under the Presidency of South Africa, the Security Council held a Summit focusing on practical ways of enhancing the relationship between the UN and regional organisations, in particular the African Union, in the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • The Summit adopted resolution 1809.
  • Through resolution 1809 the Security Council welcomed the role of the African Union in bringing peace and stability to the African Continent and therefore expressed its support for this work of the AU. Through the resolution the Council also expressed its determination to take effective steps to further enhance the relationship between the UN and regional organisations in accordance with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter.  It also made the point that common and coordinated efforts undertaken by the UN and regional organisations, in particular the AU, should be based on complimentary capacities and make full use of their experiences.
  • The resolution adopted by the Security Council also recognised the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing regional organisations when they undertake peacekeeping under a UN mandate.  In this regard the Security Council welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to set-up, within three months, an African Union-United Nations panel consisting of distinguished persons to consider in-depth the modalities of how to support such peacekeeping operations, in particular start-up funding, equipment and logistics.
  • We believe that this panel should make an important contribution in articulating concrete proposals on how this support to regional organisations with funding, equipment and logistics can be done.
  • The Summit was in follow-up to discussions on the same theme that were held during South Africa’s first Presidency of the UNSC in March 2007.
  • In September 2007 a UNSC Summit was also held under the Presidency of France focusing broadly on the topic of Peace and Security in Africa.
  • South Africa is very pleased with the high-level participation in the Summit. Heads of State and Government of Tanzania, United Kingdom, Italy, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Ethiopia took part in the Summit. Botswana was represented by the Vice President and the Chairperson of the African Union Professor Alpha Oumar Konare also participated. Other members of the UNSC, AU Peace and Security Council and those African countries that are on the agenda of the UNSC were also represented by high-level representatives and Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
  • In their statements the participants spoke highly of the role that regional organisations play in the maintenance of international peace and security, as recognised in Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter.  There was a specific appreciation of the work done by the AU as well as some of the African sub-regional organisations in this area.
  • It was noted by most of the African States participating that the African Union has peacemaking as one of its primary mandates and is actively engaged in various activities in this regard including mediation, peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding.  The African Union also mandated its own peacekeeping operations to address complex challenges in countries such as Burundi, Somalia and Sudan (Darfur), where the UN was unable to intervene or not ready.
  • The Summit recognised that these efforts of the African Union were directly complimentary to the overall objective of the UN Security Council of bringing peace and stability to the world.
  • The African Union has, however, also faced a challenge when it comes to resources to sustain some of its peace missions.
  • In this regard all participants made a strong call for support to be provided to the African Union with resources.  In this context most of the high-level dignitaries looked forward to the work that will be done by the AU – UN panel. 
  • Some States referred to the AU Summit decision of January 2007 which had urged that the financing of AU peacekeeping missions from the UN regular budget (assessed contributions) be considered.
  • Through this work in the UNSC, South Africa is also contributing to the advancement of the Consolidation of the African Agenda, a key foreign policy priority.

Zimbabwe

  • Some countries raised the issue of Zimbabwe during the discussions.  This was highlighted by the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the UN Secretary-General as well as the representative of the United States, among others. The UN Secretary-General said that if there is a second round of elections they must be conducted in a fair and transparent manner, with international observers.  The Secretary-General also urged the leaders of SADC to continue with their efforts.  The United States Ambassador called for the release of the results and also commended the efforts of SADC.

Bilaterals of the President

  • The President held bilateral meetings with the President of Cote d’Ivoire, the Prime Minister of Italy, and the UN Secretary-General.

Meeting of the UNSC and AUPSC

  • During this Presidency of the UNSC South Africa has also initiated the holding, on 17 April 2008, of a second joint meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the UN Security Council.  This meeting follows an agreement held in Addis Ababa during June 2007 that the two Councils should meet at least once a year in Addis Ababa and New York.
  • South Africa attaches great importance to the building of synergies between the two Councils especially because their agendas, to a large degree, address similar concerns and both pursue broadly the aim of bringing peace and stability.
  • The meeting of the two Councils on 17 April will allow them to discuss ways of enhancing these synergies. It is expected that the meeting will also focus, amongst others, on developments in the Sudan, DRC, Somalia and Cote d’Ivoire. 
  • It is expected that the outcome of the meeting of the two Councils will be a Joint Communiqué through which they will expressed satisfaction at ongoing efforts to strengthen their relationship. Furthermore they are likely to undertake to assess regularly developments in the African Continent, support African regional and sub-regional capacities for early warning as well as African Union capacities for mediation.

PRESIDENT THABO MBEKI TO ATTEND SADC INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON POVERTY & DEVELOPMENT,MAURITIUS 20 APRIL 2008

Pretoria – South African President Thabo Mbeki, supported by the Deputy Minister of Social development, Jean Swanson-Jacobs, will on Sunday 20 April 2008 attend the SADC International Conference on Poverty and Development that will be held under the theme, “Regional Economic Integration: A Strategy for Poverty Eradication Towards Sustainable Development,” in Pailles, Mauritius.

Coming against the background of global food crisis, President Thabo Mbeki will join fellow Heads of State and Governments in reviewing poverty and development in SADC and ways in which to address this with a view to achieving the African Developmental Agenda.

To enhance the deliberations, President Mbeki will chair a panel discussion on “Tackling The Skills, Innovation And Technological Gaps Required For Economic Growth And Poverty Reduction In The SADC Region.”

SADC is made up of fourteen Member States undergoing different stages of development but predominately underdeveloped economies. As a result, social and economic growth and development across the region is heterogeneous with some countries are well endowed with natural resources and generating considerable levels of wealth and others with relatively low levels of natural resources. Economic performance also varies across the different countries reflecting both the level of resources available to the countries, quality of governance and management of macroeconomic policies and environment.

The structure of production of SADC countries is characteristic of a developing region where large shares of GDP originate in primary sectors of production viz. agriculture and mining industry, whose total contribution is, on average over 50% of total GDP.

Statistics on SADC show that only Mauritius and South Africa have sizeable manufacturing sectors, at 23% and 24% of GDP respectively. The formerly sizeable manufacturing sectors of Zambia and Zimbabwe were not sustained due to several factors, including the influx of cheaper foreign goods, higher input costs and shortages of foreign exchange for importing inputs. Both countries have gradually become more reliant on services than before. The rest of the Member States have relatively small manufacturing sectors. They depend on services, agriculture or mining.

In addition to having a small manufacturing sector, SADC economies do not produce a diversified range of manufactured products. They produce a similar range of products such as foodstuffs, beverages, tobacco, textiles, clothing and footwear, which are agricultural-resource based. South Africa and Zimbabwe have significant mineral-resource based manufacturing industries also. But vertical integration in the different structures of production are lacking.

There are many shared factors that exacerbate poverty within the region.  These include disease, the movement of people, the status of women, access to resources such as land and credit facilities, policy shortcomings and the movement of people across porous borders.  The Summit will examine these issues in more detail. Gender and HIV AND AIDS have been identified as cross-cutting sectors that affect every facet of life in the region. HIV AND AIDS is examined separately because it is a significant contributor to poverty in the region, but simultaneously one need to take account of the gender inequalities in SADC member states. Gender should be an overarching framework through which poverty reduction strategies are evaluated. Without gender equality, SADC poverty strategies will not succeed sufficiently to improve the lives of women, men, boys and girls. Gender should be mainstreamed in all government policies that address social, political and economic needs within the region and at national levels.

THE VISIT OF THE MINISTER DLAMINI ZUMA AND DEPUTY MINISTER AZIZ PAHAD TO CHINA

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and I will be paying an official visit to the People’s Republic of China from tomorrow, Friday 18 April-27 April 2008.

Minister Dlamini Zuma was in New York as part of President Thabo Mbeki’s delegation to the UN Security Council Summit to debate the relationship between the UNSC and regional organisations and the AU in particular in maintence of global peace and security.

The visit to China comes within the context of the 10th Anniversary Celebrations of Diplomatic relations between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China.

In this regard, Minister Dlamini Zuma will firstly hold annual consultations with South Africa’s Ambassadors and High Commission based in the Asia and Middle East region in Beijing to brief them about national, regional and international developments.

Secondly Minister Dlamini Zuma will hold bilateral discussions with her Chinese counterpart, She will furthermore address the Chinese Academy of Sciences, officially open the new South African Consulate-General in Hong Kong led by our Consul-General Thembi Tambo. South Africa will also be participating in the Shangai Expo

President Thabo Mbeki in 2006 said “Our strategic partnership should strive for a fair and equitable global trading system that is characterised by transparency, good corporate governance, predictability and poverty alleviation and eradication.

“As we redefine our relationship and seek trade and investment opportunities of mutual benefit, we must adopt a dynamic approach to our strategic partnership so that we all win in Africa, with Africa and similarly win in China, with China.

“A winning partnership is surely one in which we encourage sustainable trade and investment while promoting a better life for all within sustainable human settlements. Peace and friendship will surely flourish when we empower and uplift the poorest of the poor from hunger and unemployment, disease, homelessness, illiteracy and environmental degradation” concluded President Mbeki.  

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1998, trade between China and South Africa has grown significantly, with China becoming South Africa’s 2nd largest import trading partner in 2005, comprising 9% of total imports and 8th largest export partner, comprising 3% of total exports from South Africa. In fact both imports and exports grew 30% in 2005 compared to 2004. China still enjoys a massive trade surplus with SA - in 2005 imports from China totalled R 31,476 million, while exports came to R 8,763 million.

China represents an enormous opportunity for South Africa and Africa, but at the same time poses certain challenges. The sheer size of the Chinese market, its untapped potential, its population size, its explosive growth, its membership of the UN Security Council and its emergence as a major global power all present opportunities. China is also a key player in the expansion of South-South cooperation as we seek to maximize the opportunities presented by globalisation and reduce the negative effects. China can be a key ally in the fight to reform the international political, financial and trade architecture (in the UN, IMF, and WTO).

CHINA-AFRICA RELATIONS

On the other hand, China-Africa trade has tripled in just five years.  Beyond commercial ties, Beijing has cultivated "soft power" in African capitals by training over 6000 African civil servants and are sending over 15 000 Chinese doctors to 34 African countries. There are approximately 800 firms that are operating in 49 African countries.

China has traditionally played a role in Africa of supporting liberation movements. They have also supported African efforts to safeguard peace and stability by sending peacekeepers to Africa in the past, e.g. Liberia and the DRC. They have reduced the debt owed to China by African LDCs by $1.27 billion. They have set up an African Human Resources Development Fund, sponsored vocational courses for African trainees and contributed to the African Capacity Building Foundation.

China's accelerated engagement with Africa over the past few years has culminated in the adoption of "China's African Policy" in January 2006.
FOCAC, NAASP and NEPAD

In the course of developing the FOCAC, China has expressed support for the AU's socio-economic development programme, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). There is definite scope for using FOCAC to support the priority sectors identified under NEPAD and for cooperation on concrete, identified projects that promote our regional integration agenda. As far back as November 2002 in Addis Ababa, there has been a recognition and acceptance of the importance of harmonizing, synchronizing and aligning FOCAC and NEPAD.

In this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the NEPAD Secretariat and the Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-Up Committee of FOCAC in July 2006. China has also contributed US$500 000 to the NEPAD Secretariat for use in certain projects. An interesting point to note is that China's support for NEPAD has also been reflected in the Joint Statement of the 9th EU-China Summit held in Helsinki on 9 September 2006.

The Statement includes the following - "The leaders agreed to pursue a structured dialogue on Africa and explore avenues for practical cooperation on the ground in partnership with the African side, including with the support of NEPAD initiatives and with the aim of attaining the MDGs. The leaders welcome China's structured cooperation with Africa through the FOCAC".

in the context of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP) launched in Jakarta, Indonesia in April 2005. In this context, the NAASP Declaration adopted by our Heads of State and Government at the Asia Africa Summit specifically aligned the China-Africa Cooperation Forum to the NAASP and acknowledged NEPAD as the framework for engagement with Africa

SOUTH AFRICA EXTENDS CONDOLENCES TO DRC AND EQUATORIAL GUINEA FOLLOWING AIR DISASTERS

South Africa joins the international community in expressing its heartfelt condolences to the government and peoples of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea following two air disasters in their respective countries this week which left a total of 44 are reported dead and scores of others wounded.

The two air disasters have once more highlighted the need to address the fundamental causes of air disasters in our continent in an effort to make African skies safer for everyone of us.

Accordingly we express the hope that the Civil Aviation Authorities in both the DRC and Equatorial Guinea will do everything in their power to investigate the causes of these recent air disasters and make recommendations that will assist Africa in its endeavour to make its skies safer

In this regard, South Africa extends its thoughts and prayers to the government and peoples of the DRC and Equatorial Guinea and in particular families of those who lost their most precious asset-life - in the two air disasters, while wishing those injured a speedy recovery.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Question: We know that the President has said that Zimbabwe won’t be discussed at the Security Council meeting because at this stage it is not a threat to regional peace and security.  Are we likely to see it discussed at the AU Peace and Security Council meeting with the UN? 

Answer:  The President was saying that for the matter to go to the Security Council is a matter, according to the mandate of the Security Council, if it’s a threat to international security.  He said that if it is determined that it is a threat to international peace and security then it can go to the Security Council.  We will participate in that discussion.

Question: Is the Department of Foreign Affairs monitoring the situation with this ship at the Durban harbour that is allegedly carrying arms to Zimbabwe?

Answer:  This is a ship we tend to hear more about from the media than we have been fully briefed.  We are a transit country for goods to many of the inland countries, including Zimbabwe.  We are not able to determine as Foreign Affairs what are the goods that are going from one country to another.  This is something that we would have to ask the relevant authority.  We are not even aware what are the actual nature of all the imports and exports in relation to Zimbabwe. 

It is a matter that must be taken up by the relevant authorities, the South African Revenue authorities and Customs, which fall under the Ministry of Treasury.  I would suggest that we wait for them to pronounce on this before Foreign Affairs can come into it to look at the consequences and see what can be done at the Foreign Affairs level.  We are not aware of any nature of the consignment because we don’t have the capacity to go and check on any consignments on any ship coming into South Africa.

Question:  This morning in the post-cabinet briefing Themba Maseko spoke about a team that would go to Zimbabwe to speak with the parties.  When is that likely to happen?  Have we heard anything about why the ZEC is holding back these results?

Answer:  There are two processes.  The SADC extra-ordinary summit, having acknowledged the work done in the facilitation process also acknowledged by all the parties including the opposition, which at least allowed the first round of elections to go better than many expected.

The SADC Summit determined that we must remain seized, the facilitation team must remain seized with this matter.  It is expected that the facilitation team will go to Zimbabwe largely to interact with the ZEC, because they’ve been in constant contact with the other political formations in Lusaka at the Summit.  The opposition was there, the other two presidential candidates and ZANU PF was there and indeed the Secretary-General of MDC was there. There were discussions there.

Generally, following the Extra-ordinary Summit it was felt that the facilitation should go to Zimbabwe to further discuss with the ZEC how to expedite the pronouncement of the election result.

As the Summit said SADC, like the rest of the world, is very keen that the results do get released as expeditiously as is possible.  The reason why the elections have been held back, as the reason given, you know there was a court case where the ruling has just been given on Monday.

Now there are 23 constituencies that are being contested.  The recount and verification process is due to start on Saturday.  SADC is sending a team to ensure that the opposition parties or the agents are allowed to be present as this process unfolds.  And indeed to ensure that this process that the ZEC has called for is within the legal framework and is to the satisfaction of all the parties.  SADC will be there to ensure that this recount, which is 21 challenged by ZANU PF and 2 challenged by MDC.

Question:  The High Court has forbidden the ZEC from doing that.  On Saturday they ruled, the ZEC did make a petition to the court for the recount, they’ve rejected that.  Constitutionally the ZEC had 48 hours to lodge a complaint on the parliamentary results which they didn’t.  They are actually going ahead with this count against the court.

Answer:  There are some interpretations that are going on in these legal processes.  I also saw the report of the High Court on this matter.  It seems the ZEC feels that within its elective framework they have the mandate to go and count these elections. 

I think what we can do is to make sure that it is transparent, it is open and that everybody is satisfied with these recounts within the framework of ensuring that the will of the people is genuinely reflected.  We are sending six people with the SADC observer mission for this purpose.

I must add that there is sometimes the feeling, and I understand that feeling, that if we see anything wrong we’d be reluctant to point our finger at it.  My view of the SADC Observer Mission report is that it is a very good report.  It has identified some shortcomings.  It has indicated for the next government, whoever it is, that those shortcomings must be taken into account.

Given those shortcomings, the elections allowed people to participate, as never before for many years, freely.  They were able to, some say not enough access to state media, but they were able to have access to media.  They had resources so they put a lot of adverts in the state media.

Nobody challenges that after many years for the first time, that the opposition was able to freely canvass in the urban and rural areas.  I think the results reflect it.  The opposition has won the House of Assembly.  If they combine their votes, if it’s just MDC-Tsvangarai they’ve got the highest vote, Mutambara has got 10, and Jonathan Moyo has got one.  Together they now control the House of Assembly.  And the Senate has a fifty-fifty split.

There have been some very important developments in these processes. I would recommend that you look back at my briefings that we’ve doing over the last seven months, trying to indicate what the facilitation has been attempting to do.  It is my view and those by the Extraordinary Summit, and indeed in the meetings with the opposition presidential candidates.  Everybody acknowledges that the conditions this time allowed for them to act in a climate that was free and fair.

There were complaints here and there.  But nobody challenges that they went to the polls in a better atmosphere for the first time.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

17 April 2008

Quick Links

Disclaimer | Contact Us | HomeLast Updated: 17 April, 2008 3:00 PM
This site is best viewed using 800 x 600 resolution with Internet Explorer 5.0, Netscape Communicator 4.5 or higher.
2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa