Notes Following Briefing to Media by Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad Media Centre, Union Buildings, Pretoria Tuesday 20 May 2008

XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS

Let me begin with an issue that has in the last few days dominated local and international media – attacks against foreigners and South African nationals in South Africa.

We are very concerned that that violence continues and that new outbreaks of violence are occurring.

The South African government condemns the unprovoked attacks by elements within our society on vulnerable foreign nationals.

It is our view that at this very difficult and challenging time, we avoid sensationalism.  It is the role of the media to investigate more deeply growing reports of the involvement of criminal and other elements in instigating and provoking these attacks, largely against foreigners.  Journalists have a very important role not just to report elements of this phenomenon but to try to contextualise why this phenomenon has hit South Africa so seriously in the last few days.  I also believe that it is the time to avoid politicking and politicising this situation. 

As you know, yesterday the Secretary-General of the ANC met with the Secretary-General of the IFP to see how we can collectively work towards ending this violence and it is important for other political parties to stop making generalised comments and join the national effort to deal with this phenomenon.

It is also important to deal with, what I believe, is unsubstantiated criticisms of either the police or the government generally in dealing with this.  I believe it is a matter of record that the police, and reservists, in very difficult circumstances have attempted to do their best in dealing with what has been a totally unexpected phenomenon in our country. 

It is our view that most of the foreigners amongst us have sought refuge and safety in our midst due to a variety of social, political and economic factors which forced them to relocate to South Africa. It is therefore incorrect for us to shut the door on them, seek to ostracise them, intimidate them or ask them to return to their countries.

Our responsibility and indeed moral obligation as a Government and people is to extend our hospitality to them as they did when thousands of our people fled into exile during our struggle for liberation.  We must remember that had it not been for the enormous support that we, as South Africans, received in African countries in the bleak years of Apartheid, we may not have achieved the Democratic Revolution. 

Many innocent fellow Africans, particularly in the Frontline States paid with their lives to protect and shelter our people, yet all they ask of us is to allow them to be treated in a humane and dignified manner.  We cannot forget that the then Apartheid government carried out massive destabilisation campaigns precisely because they gave support to the South Africa democratic struggle.  We must never forget this message to be forgotten.

We call on our law-abiding citizens to cooperate with the authorities to bring this shameful behaviour to an immediate end, especially as we celebrate Africa Day this coming weekend which is an appreciation of our African heritage, identity, culture, resilience and pride in our diversity.   

Let us not overlook the disturbing fact that sinister forces appear to have a hand in the escalation and spread of this repulsive behaviour which has regrettably led to the loss of innocent lives, both of foreigners and South Africans.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Government as a whole expresses its regret at the events of the past two weeks in this regard and calls upon all political parties and people, civil society and faith-based organisations to intensify efforts to restore calm and peace and allow the reintegration of all affected people into the respective societies that they have come to call home and family.

Let us not allow a handful to erode our kindness, compassion and spirit of Ubuntu.       

Statement by President Thabo Mbeki regarding attacks on foreign nationals (Monday 19 May 2008)

 “Citizens from other countries on the African continent and beyond are as human as we are and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Our humanism as a people enjoins all of us to respect, care, co-operate and act in solidarity with others regardless of their nationality.

“We dehumanise ourselves the moment we start thinking of another person as less human than we are simply because they come from another country. Humanity is indivisible. As we have seen, what breaks the fabric of respect for others and for the law opens the way for further forms of criminality.

“As South Africans, we must recognise and fully appreciate that we are bound together with other Africans by history, culture, economics and, above all, by destiny. South Africa is not and will never be an island separate from the rest of the continent.

“We dare not loose sight of the fundamental reality of our interdependence as the people of Africa.

“I call upon those behind these shameful and criminal acts to stop! Nothing can justify it. The law-enforcement agencies must and will respond with the requisite measures against anyone found to be involved in these attacks.

“Furthermore, I would like to thank all members of the public, as well as political and community leaders who have joined calls for the immediate ending of these attacks. In particular, I would like to thank those who have lent a helping hand to the victims by, amongst others, offering shelter, clothes and food. They have demonstrated a true South African spirit. Let us all work together to make it impossible for the few criminals in our midst to realise their inhuman objectives.

“Everything possible will be done to bring the perpetrators to book. Already, more than 200 alleged perpetrators have been arrested. Both the Minister of Safety and Security and the Acting National Police Commissioner are keeping me informed of developments and I am confident that the police will soon make significant breakthroughs in getting to the root of this anarchy.”

South Africa is a signatory to the Geneva Protocol on Refugees (Geneva Protocol, 1951) which ensures that basic human rights of vulnerable persons and that refugees will not be returned involuntarily to a country in which they face persecution and that we will provide them with food, shelter and other material assistance is the first step towards their long-term protection and rehabilitation.

As a signatory to this protocol, and as a country that cherishes human rights, we have to protect the basic rights of every human being within our borders, including foreign nationals.  Any success by criminals to exploit genuine grievances by our people can only lead to a situation where our future democracy and stability can be challenged and we therefore reiterate that government will do everything within the law to ensure safety of all citizens and foreign nationals irrespective of their status.

As I said, an inter-departmental task team to investigate all the possible causes of xenophobic attacks has been established and they will make recommendations to President Mbeki about actions that need to be taken to prevent a recurrence of this phenomenon.  This task team will be convened by the Department of Home Affairs and will include departments of Safety and Security, Social Development, Health, Education and The Presidency.

All law enforcement agencies will use the full might of the law to ensure that no further violence takes place, and ensure that those who engage in, actively encouraging and inciting communities to attack foreign nationals are brought to justice. 

We want to emphasize this message because these attacks are causing great harm to South Africa’s reputation and creating an environment that can only be bad for our own democracy.

The unprecedented savage attacks against South Africans and fellow Africans continues on the eve of President Mbeki’s visit to Tanzania to attend the Summit of 12 to discuss African economic and political integration.

President Thabo Mbeki to Lead South African Delegation to AU Committee of 12 Meeting
President Thabo Mbeki, supported by Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad, will on Wednesday 21 May 2008 depart for Arusha, Tanzania where he will attend the 1st Meeting of the Committee of Twelve African Union Heads of State and Government scheduled for Thursday – Friday, 22-23 May 2008.

President Thabo Mbeki will attend the Committee of Twelve Meeting within the context of ongoing discussions within the AU regarding the political and economic integration of Africa in establishing the Union Government.  Accordingly, the Meeting is expected to consider the Report from the African Union Executive Council of Ministers following their deliberations in Arusha earlier in the month, together with the Report of the Ministerial Committee of Ten on the Union Government.

The Ministerial Committee of Ten was mandated by the Assembly at its Summit in Accra, Ghana in July 2007 to consider the following issues pertaining to the Union Government and report thereon to the AU Summit February 2008:

  • Identify the content of the concept of the Union Government and its relationship with national governments;
  • Identify the domains of competence and the impact of the establishment of the Union Government on the sovereignty of Member States;
  • Define the relationship between the Union Government and the Regional Economic Communities (REC’s);
  • Elaborate on the Roadmap together with the timeframes for establishing the Union Government; and
  • Identify additional sources of financing for the activities of the Union.

Following the presentation of the Report and recommendations of the Ministerial Committee of Ten to the AU Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in February 2008, the Assembly agreed to expand and elevate the Committee of Ten to a Heads of State level that would also include the immediate past Chairperson of the Union as well as current Chairperson of the Union to consider the matter further.

The Ministerial Committee of Ten comprised of the following Member States:

  • South Africa and Botswana (Southern Region)
  • Libya and Egypt (Northern Region)
  • Gabon and Cameroon (Central Region)
  • Ethiopia and Uganda (Eastern Region)
  • Nigeria and Senegal (Western Region)

President Thabo Mbeki is expected to return to South Africa on Friday 23 May 2008.

Intensified Economic Diplomacy

President Thabo Mbeki to Lead South African Delegation to TICAD IV
President Thabo Mbeki, supported by Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, will lead a senior South African government delegation to the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, Japan from Wednesday – Friday 28-30 May 2008.

President Thabo Mbeki will attend TICAD IV, held under the banner of “Towards a Vibrant Africa: A Continent of Hope and Opportunity,” within the context of South Africa’s priority to consolidate relations with Japan with a view strengthening North-South relations.  In this regard, TICAD IV provides a valuable opportunity to promote the African Agenda as a priority with Japan and its development partners.

TICAD aims to consolidate peace, human centred development and poverty reduction through economic development through:

  • Boosting Growth (Poverty Reduction through Economic Growth);
  • Achieving the Millennium Development Goals;
  • Consolidation of Peace and Democratisation; and
  • Addressing Environmental Issues/Climate Change

It is expected that a Joint Committee for Monitoring TICAD Process, comprising of the African Bureau of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African countries and other relevant Japanese organisations (Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), will be established as a follow-up mechanism to TICAD IV.

This Committee, which would be expected to meet bi-annually, would report on the progress in the TICAD process and consult on the TICAD process.

The TICAD IV Summit is also expected to adopt the Yokohama Declaration and the Yokohama Plan of Action on conclusion of the Summit.

Japan will take the eventual outcomes of TICAD IV to the G8 Summit that it will host in Hokkaido, Japan in July this year.

Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka to pay two Nation Central EUROPEAN Visit
Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ncguka is currently visiting the Czech and Slovak Republics scheduled from Monday – Thursday 19-22 May 2008.

Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka will visit the Czech and Slovak Republics within the context of South Africa’s priority to strengthen bilateral political, economic and trade relations with these two Central European countries and new members of the European Union with a view to consolidating relations with the European Union.

Working visit to the Czech Republic
Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will pay a Working Visit to Prague, the Czech Republic from Monday – Tuesday 19-20 May 2008 where she will be hosted by her Czech counterpart Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek.

Issues on the agenda of discussions between Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka and Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek on Monday 19 May 2008 in Prague are expected to include, among others:

  • The status of bilateral political, economic and trade relations between South Africa and the Czech Republic;
  • Developments within the African Continent: although a new member of the EU, the Czech Republic is playing a constructive role on the Continent and amongst others, provides between 50 to 60 scholarships to sub-Sahara Africa;
  • Developments within the European Union with the
  • South Africa – European Union relations with the SA-EU Troika Ministerial and Summit meetings to be held in June and July respectively;
  • Progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals; and
  • Others issues of mutual interest.

Official visit to the Slovak Republic
Upon conclusion of her working visit to the Czech Republic, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will travel to Bratislava, Slovak Republic where she is scheduled to pay an Official Visit from Wednesday – Thursday 21-22 May 2008.  Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka will be hosted by her Slovakian counterpart Prime Minister Robert Fico.

Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka will be supported by Deputy Ministers Sue van der Merwe, Elizabeth Thabethe, Derek Hanekom, and Ntombazana Botha.

Discussions between Deputy President Mlambo-Ncguka and Prime Minister Fico on Wednesday 21 May 2008, are expected to include, among others:

  • The status of bilateral political, economic and trade relations between the two countries;
  • Slovakian support for the African developmental agenda;
  • Slovakian support for ASGISA and JIPSA; and
  • Other issues of mutual interest.

Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka is also expected to hold discussions with President Ivan Gasparovic, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mr Ciz, Foreign Minister Jan Kubis.

Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka will depart from the Slovak Republic on Thursday 22 May 2008 for Abuja, Nigeria where she will lead the South African delegation to the South Africa – Nigeria Binational Commission on Friday 23 May 2008.

Bilateral Economic Relations
The Czech Republic
Trade figures indicate that South Africa remains the Czech Republic’s biggest trade partner in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Nearly 40 % of its total trade with this region takes place with South Africa.

Some South African multinationals, i.e. SABMiller, Mondi and Sappi are active in the Czech Republic.

Plzensky Prazdroj a.s, a subsidiary of SABMiller plc, is the leading beer producer in Central Europe and the largest exporter of Czech beer to more than 50 countries world wide.   The group’s brands include the premium international beer, Pilsner Urquell as well as an exceptional range of market leading local brands.  By volume SABMiller is the second largest global brewing company worldwide with brewing interests or distribution agreements in over 60 countries across five continents.  Outside the USA, SABMiller plc is also one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the world.

Year Exports to Czech Republic Imports from Czech Republic
2007 US$ 226.4m US$ 302.2m
2006 US$ 173.1m US$ 197.4m
2005 US$ 140.96m US$ 159.563m

 

The Slovak Republic
In 2006 bilateral trade between Slovakia and South Africa amounted to US$ 93 million. This constitutes an increase of US$ 29 million compared to 2005. Slovakia imported from South Africa to the value of US$ 22 million that included fruits and nuts, mineral fuels, vehicles, iron and steel, salt, sulphur, wool, electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof, tanning extracts, wood pulp and man-made filaments. In 2006 Slovakia exported to South Africa to the value of US$ 70 million that included vehicles, electrical machinery, nuclear reactors, boilers, iron and steel, organic chemicals, plastics, glass and glassware, paper and paper board.

Year (US$'000)
2003 2004 2005 2006
Slovak Export to South Africa
12.994
44.225
53.110
70.600
Slovak Import to South Africa
7.262
10.221
10.754
22.309
Total
20.256
54.446
63.864
92.909

 

Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka to Lead South African Delegation to South Africa-Nigeria Binational Commission
Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will on conclusion of her official visit to the Slovak Republic, on Thursday 22 May 2008 travel to Abuja, Nigeria where she is scheduled to lead a senior South African government delegation to the 7th session of the South Africa – Nigeria Bi- National Commission (BNC) scheduled for Friday 23 May 2008. 

The South Africa – Nigeria BNC will be co-chaired by Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka and her Nigerian counterpart Vice President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka will lead the South African delegation to the South Africa – Nigeria BNC within the context of South Africa’s priority to consolidate and strengthen bilateral political, economic and trade relations with Nigeria with a view to fastrack the African developmental agenda.

The 7th session of the South Africa – Nigeria BNC is expected to review the status of bilateral political, economic and trade relations between the two countries particularly since the 6th session of the South Africa – Nigeria BNC held in South Africa in 2004.

The BNC will also review co-operation between the two countries in the following Working Groups:

  • Foreign Affairs and Cooperation;
  • Public Enterprises and Infrastructure;
  • Agriculture, Water Resources and Environment;
  • Minerals and Energy;
  • Social and Technical; and
  • Trade, Industry and Finance.

The 7th session of the South Africa – Nigeria BNC will lay the basis for the State  Visit to South Africa by Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in June this year.

Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka is scheduled to return to South Africa on Saturday 24 May 2008.                                  

Economic Bilateral Relations
South Africa emerged among the top investors in many sectors of the Nigerian economy. 

Since 1999, South African companies’ presence is visible in the Nigerian economy, especially in areas such as telecommunication, engineering, banking, retail, hospitality, property development, construction and tourism, to mention a few.

Trade between South Africa And Nigeria

 

  2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Exports 2548612 2960113 3391695 4001100 4016710
GrowthE(Yr on Yr) -6.56971 16.14608 14.57992 17.96756 0.390143
Imports 2764216 515147 4163986 9285932 11705332
GrowthE(Yr on Yr) -23.6091 87.94287 -19.8485 123.0058 26.05447

 

Minister Dlamini Zuma to Co-Chair 7th SA – Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Co-operation
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will, together with Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Trutnev, co-chair the 7th South Africa – Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) in Moscow Russia from Thursday – Friday 22-23 May 2008.

Minister Dlamini Zuma will co-chair the 7th session of the South Africa – Russia ITEC within the context of South Africa’s priority to consolidate and strengthen bilateral political, economic and trade relations with a view to enhancing North-South dialogue. 

In this regard, bilateral trade and economic relations with the Russian Federation are governed under the umbrella of the ITEC and this mechanism is likely to continue to enhance mutual beneficial trade and economic ties between the two countries.

Ministers Dlamini Zuma and Yuri Trutnev met in Moscow in February this year to prepare for the 7th South Africa – Russia ITEC.

The 7th South Africa – Russia ITEC is expected to assess the current status of and prospects for bilateral trade-and-economic co-operation

Status reports in the following areas of co-operation will also be received:

  • The Sub-Committee on Agriculture;
  • The Sub-Committee of Education;
  • The Sub-Committee on Social Issues (Health and Medical Science);
  • Sub-Committee on Trade, Investment and Banking;
  • Sub-Committee on Science and Technology;
  • Joint Sub-Committee on Minerals and Energy;
  • Joint Sub-Committee on Transport; and
  • Joint Sub-Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry.

Minister Dlamini Zuma is expected to depart from Russia on Sunday 25 May 2008 for Yokohama, Japan ahead of the 4th session of the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) where she will join President Thabo Mbeki.

Bilateral Economic Relations
South Africa’s trade with Russia does not reflect its potential and there is much room for expansion.  The Joint South Africa-Russia Business Council provides an opportunity to achieve greater trade and economic co-operation between the business sectors of both countries.

Year SA Imports SA Exports Total
2005 US$ 629,047,000 US$ 449,274,000 US$ 078,3210,000
2006 US$ 1,895,876 US$ 675,800,000 US$677, 69,876
2007 US$ 2,283,517 US$ 237,831 US$ 240, 114, 517

 

The bulk of SA exports are made up of vehicle engines (18.8% of exports); machines & mechanical appliances (14%); Fresh grapes (13.8%); flat-rolled products or iron (10%); pears (6.8%) peaches (3.4%) - amounting to almost 70% of SA exports to Russia. The major import from Russia, accounting for over 65% of SA imports is made up of the nickel group of minerals.

SA multinationals Anglo American, Standard Bank, De Beers, JCI, Barlowworld, Capespan and Bateman have substantial interests in Russia. In addition, to their existing plant in the Kaluga region, SAB/Miller has announced a new brewery which represented a US$100 million investment, and their product, Golden Barrel Beer, is highly successful in the local market.  Standard Bank also has a growing presence in Russia as well as SAPPI, Protea Hotels and Sun International. Mondi has recently also announced its intention to invest in the Russian Federation.

South Africa BEE entities held meetings with prominent Russian entities including Norilsk Nickel, Renova, Aton Capital, Colliers International, Rusimport, Transneft, MorPort, Sual, Lukoil, Interfinance Developments and Crystal Diamond Company.  The meetings were constructive and fruitful and a number of projects of mutual interest were identified.  The joint venture company, United Manganese of Kalahari (UMK), between Black Economic Empowerment groups and the Russian Renova Group of companies, has been established in order to co-operate on the prospecting, mining and processing of manganese ore in the Kalahari basin. Russia’s largest steel maker, Evraz, who held 24,9% of Highveld Steel & Vanadium, recently bought the remaining 29,2% owned by Anglo American which took its holding to 54,1% .  Evraz still holds the option of buying the 24,9% held by Credit Suisse. With almost 80% of the business under Evraz’s control, there are concerns that they would be too dominant in the vanadium market.    

Deputy Minister Pahad to Visit Switzerland
Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad will on Sunday 25 May 2008 depart for Berne, Switzerland where he will co-chair, together with his Swiss counterpart State Secretary Michael Ambuehl the South Africa – Switzerland Joint Working Group Meeting scheduled for Tuesday 27 May 2008.

Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad will lead the South African government delegation to this session of the South Africa – Switzerland Joint Working Group Meeting within the context of South Africa’s priority to strengthen bilateral political, economic and trade relations with Switzerland with a view to consolidating North-South relations.

Accordingly, the 2008 session of the Joint Working Group will, for the first time, take place under the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding on Strengthening Mutual Cooperation, signed by Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and her counterpart, the Foreign Minister Michelene Calmy-Rey, on 08 March 2008 in Geneva.

The visit by Deputy Minister Pahad to Switzerland is intended to:

  • Consolidate and strengthen the political relationship between South Africa and Switzerland to maximise benefits for South Africa;
  • Promote the implementation of the South African/Swiss trilateral co-operation in Africa utilising such frameworks as the Joint Declaration on Intent on Joint Cooperation in Africa, signed during the official visit of President Mbeki to Switzerland on 10 June 2003;
  • Broaden and deepen economic relations and especially increased direct investment;
  • Strengthen cooperation on science and technology following the signing of an Agreement on scientific and technological cooperation in December 2007;
  • Ensure development co-operation between Switzerland and Southern Africa by encouraging the Swiss regional approach; and
  • Enrol Switzerland as an important international partner and co-ordinate multilateral co-operation on issues of mutual interests.

Issues on the agenda of discussions of the South Africa – Switzerland Joint Working Group are expected to include, among others:

  • The status of bilateral political, economic and trade relations between the two countries;
  • Recent developments in the African Union and/or SADC including trilateral co-operation and prospects for continued co-operation
  • Issues of multilateral importance including the comprehensive reform of the United Nations, the World Conference Against Racism Review Conference, Climate Change and Food Security; and
  • Developments in the Middle East including the Middle East Peace Process.

Bilateral Economic Relations
Economic relations between South Africa and Switzerland have registered a steady growth in the past two years, and there are good prospects for 2008. Bilateral trade has expanded well in recent years. The investment climate is also favourable with a growing involvement of Swiss investors in South Africa. Switzerland ranks amongst the top five foreign investors in South Africa. South Africa is the third largest non-European investor in Switzerland after the United States and Japan. 

Swiss owned/managed companies in South Africa
There are around 150 Swiss owned/managed companies in South Africa. Swiss business has demonstrated a positive view of South Africa’s Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment policy, e.g. the recent Holcim deal which registered a transactional value of R6.82 billion. 

South African owned/managed companies in Switzerland
There are several South African companies operating in Switzerland. Those include South African Airways, De Beers Centenary, Compagnie Financière Richemont, Sappi Trenfor Trading, Decillion, Investec, Glencore, Louis Group, Dimension Data, Brait, Tradex Handels- und Beratungs AG, Octane Holding.

Bilateral Trade relations
Provisional trade figures up to October 2007 however indicate that South Africa continues to enjoy a positive trade balance between the two countries. 

Trade turnover between South Africa and Switzerland amounted in 2006 to a total of Rand 15.76 billion (+27.3% compared to 2005), making South Africa the most important trading partner in Africa for exports as well as imports. The value of South African exports to Switzerland increased by 8% compared to 2005 to a total of Rand 11, 66 billion. Exports from Switzerland to South Africa decreased to Rand 4.1 billion in 2006 (-9% compared to 2005).

Year Exports to Switzerland
(Rand mio)
Annual
change
Importsfrom Switzerland (Rand mio) Annual
change
Balance
(Rand mio)
1999 1,921   3,798   -1,877
2000 3,670 +107% 4,459 +17% -789
2001 4,128 +12% 4,032 -10% +96
2002 5,567 +35% 4,765 +18% +802
2003 5,743 +3% 3,483 -27% +2,260
2004 7,270 +27% 3,095 -11% +4,175
2005 7,875 +8% 4,504 +46% +3,371
2006 11,660 +48% 4,104 -9% +7,556
2007(Oct) 7,937 - 4,086 - +3,851

 

BURUNDI
The Peace Processes have been stalled until recently.

The Facilitator Minister Nqakula and Ambassador Mamabolo travelled to Dar to meet with Rwasa again on the 5th February, where the Programme of Action (POA) agreed at the Special Envoys Burundi seminar in Cape Town (22-23 February) was presented to the Palipehutu-FNL.

The POA envisaged that representatives of the Palipehutu-FNL would return to the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JVMM) and Joint Liaison teams (JLT’s) by end February, and that the leadership of the Palipehutu-FNL would return to Bujumbura by the end of March.

The plan was for the first 6 months of the renewed mandate was to focus on the implementation and finalization of the DDR process, and the beginning of the SSR process. The plan for the second 6 months was to focus on post-conflict reconstruction assistance with specifically identified projects. These dates will have to be revised to take into account the latest developments on the ground.

Unfortunately, the Palipehutu-FNL did not follow through with the implementation of the POA, to which they agreed. The Palipehutu-FNL continued to raise the issue of amnesty, and at the end of March backed out of finally sending their representatives to Bujumbura.

The Facilitation feels that the issue of immunity has been adequately dealt with through three previous provisions, namely:

  • The CCFA provides provisions and guarantees of immunity.
  • Legislation 1/32 of 22 November 2006, passed by both houses of the Burundi parliament provides immunity.
  • Presidential decree, no 100/357 of 20th December 2006, specifically identifies the Palipehutu-FNL as the beneficiary of immunity.

The Facilitation, and the Political Directorate, provided guarantees that the immunity of the Palipehutu-FNL would be protected.

Latest Developments
The Facilitator, Minister Nqakula, met with the Regional Initiative to gain guidance on the way forward. Consequently, a meeting was held in Arusha, Tanzania on the 4th May 2008, which was attended by the Facilitator, the leadership of the Palipehutu-FNL, and the foreign ministers of Uganda, Tanzania, and South Africa.

The outcome of this meeting was agreement that the Palipehutu-FNL would return by the 15th May to take part in the JVMM, JLT’s and the Political Directorate, and that the Facilitation would only provide assistance to the Palipehutu-FNL inside Burundi.

Return of Paliphehutu-FNL to Burundi
A group of 11 Palipehutu-FNL leaders (excluding their President, Mr Agathon Rwasa) returned to Burundi on Friday, 16 May 2008.  The group was led by the Palipehutu-FNL spokesperson, Mr Pasteur Habimana, who at the airport expressed his commitment to the Burundi Peace Process and his joy at returning.  Mr Rwasa has expressed the intention to return at a later stage.  The return of the Palipehutu-FNL leadership proceeded relatively well, except that the Government of Burundi did not allow supporters of the Palipehutu-FNL to go to the airport to greet them, in contravention of an earlier agreement.

Meetings of the Political Directorate
The Political Directorate met both on Saturday and Sunday, 17 and 18 May 2008 at BINUB.  The purpose of the meetings was to agree on the programme for the JVMM and its Joint Liaison Teams (JLTs), the working of the Political Directorate (including its rules of procedure) and to agree on a communiqué.  The original intention was to finish on the 17th, but this did not happen and the meeting had to be resumed on the 18th.

A brief overview of the proposed programme of the JVMM and JLTs was provided.  The JVMM was formally re-launched on Monday morning, 19 May 2008. 

Re-launch of the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism
The JVMM was formally re-launched yesterday morning (19 May 2008) at 10h00 at the Sun Safari Hotel, the venue of the JVMM meetings.  The event was attended by the delegations of the Government of Burundi and the Palipehutu-FNL to the JVMM, the Facilitation Office, the Political Directorate, members of the international community and the press.

Amb Mamabolo made an opening statement in which he emphasised the importance that a lasting peaceful settlement be found. He thanked the Government and the Palipehutu-FNL for their presence and their commitment to work towards this goal.  He also read out the communiqué adopted by the Political Directorate the previous day and reiterated the call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, since negotiations cannot continue while there is fighting.

Both Maj-General Niyombare, acting representative of the Government on the Political Directorate, and Mr Habimana made statements, with both committing themselves to the Agreement of  Principles towards Lasting Peace, Security and Stability in Burundi, and the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement signed in 2006.  Both speakers emphasised the importance to find a peaceful resolution to their country’s problems, ultimately for the sake of the people of Burundi.

Mr Habimana referred to the problems at the airport when the Palipehutu-FNL delegation arrived and said that when their leader, Mr Rwasa, returned in the near future, they did not want these to be repeated, since Mr Rwasa had to be welcomed in a fitting manner.

While responding to questions from the press on why hostilities are still continuing, Maj-Gen Niyombare said that the Political Directorate had been meeting for the last two days and that the two sides, “need to understand each other, need more time to work on the issues that relate to the process.”  To put it in a different manner, he said, “ they have to go into the details of how really to stop, but believe it to be very soon.”  He repeated by saying if both parties worked towards it, the hostilities would stop very soon.

Statement of the Political Directorate
Bujumbura, 18 May 2008, The Political Directorate acknowledges and welcomes the return to Burundi on 16 May 2008 of the Palipehutu-FNL delegation led by Mr. Pasteur Habimana, Spokesperson of the Movement, and consisting of ten other senior leaders. 

As a result of their arrival, the Political Directorate held its first meeting in Burundi on Saturday 17 May 2008. The Political Directorate is composed of representatives of the Government of Burundi, Palipehutu-FNL, Tanzania, Uganda, South African Facilitation, the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations. The Political Directorate is chaired by Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo on behalf of the Facilitator of the Burundi peace process.

The Political Directorate agreed on the resumption of the work of the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JVMM) and Joint Liaison Teams (JLTs) beginning this Monday 19 May.

During the meeting, both the Government and the Palipehutu-FNL reiterated their commitment to respect the terms of the Agreement of Principles towards lasting peace, security and stability signed on 18 June 2006 as well as the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement signed on 7 September 2006. In this regard, the two parties agreed that current hostilities should cease immediately, in the event all obligations of the Government of Burundi and Palipehutu-FNL are respected.

The Political Directorate welcomes this development which has the potential to allow Burundians to work for durable peace, political stability and development.

Palipehutu-FNL Dissidents
The AU Special Task Force finally withdrew last week on Tuesday, 13 May 2008, from the camp in Randa where they had been guarding the Palipehutu-FNL dissidents.  Upon withdrawal, the arms that had been surrendered by the dissidents when they entered the camp were given back to them.  Protection was never provided to the dissidents in the Buramata, who also were never disarmed.

The Facilitation Office ended all assistance in terms of food and medical care to the dissidents both in the Randa and Buramata camps on 15 May.

There had been an earlier agreement with the Government of Burundi that the latter would take over responsibility for the dissidents on Friday 9 May.  Following a request from the Government, the Facilitator agreed for assistance to be continued up to the 15th.

It will be recalled that the assistance provided was always understood to be temporary, as an emergency measure, and that the dissidents where considered to be the Government’s responsibility from the start.  They were never considered to be part of the JVMM.

Secretary-General welcomes ‘positive development’ in Burundi peace process as delegation of Paliphehutu-FNL arrives in capital

The Secretary-General has been informed of the arrival in Bujumbura of a delegation of the Palipehutu-FNL, accompanied by members of the Facilitation and Political Directorate of the Burundi peace process.  The Secretary-General welcomes this positive development.  He strongly urges the Palipehutu-FNL to engage in good faith in the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism and Political Directorate.

The Secretary-General remains deeply concerned by the ongoing fighting and the suffering it has inflicted on the population.  He calls on the Government and the Palipehutu-FNL to immediately cease military action and to take measures to build confidence in, and support, the peace process.

The Secretary-General expresses his appreciation to the leaders of the Regional Peace Initiative for Burundi and to the South African Facilitation for their tireless efforts.

ZIMBABWE
The presidential results and run-off
Mr Morgan Tsvangirai announced on 10 May that he will contest the presidential run-off and will return to Zimbabwe to start campaigning once his personal safety has been guaranteed. Tsvangirai further put conditions on his participation in the run-off including presence of international observers, reconstruction of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and SADC peacekeepers. In response, Justice Minister Chinamasa has stated that Western observers will not be allowed to monitor the run-off unless Western countries first lift sanctions against Zimbabwe. He further said only observers from the countries that were invited for 29 March elections would be invited. These included observers from African countries and organisations; Asian countries, Latin American countries, Middle East and Russia.

On 16 May, ZEC announced that the presidential run-off will be conducted on 27 June 2008. The presidential run-off will be held concurrently with the three by-elections (Pelandaba-Mpopoma; Gwanda South and Redcliff constituencies) where some candidates died before the 29 March harmonised elections.

The ZEC has said that it needs US$ 60 million from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for its preparations for the run-off round.

MDC-Tsvangirai announced on Saturday, 17 May that Mr Tsvangirai would not return to Zimbabwe on Sunday, 18 May as originally planned due to security concerns. MDC claims to have unearthed a plot to assassinate Mr Tsvangirai.

Following the announcement of the run-off, it is now expected that the relevant Zimbabwean authorities will issue invitations for observation of the run-off. SADC is expected to send observers again after receiving an invitation from Zimbabwe. South Africa, as it did during the 29 March elections, will contribute to the SADC Election Observer Mission.

Reports of violence and intimidation in the post-election period
There have been reports of politically motivated violence. Each party blames the other side for initiating this violence. The violence has apparently resulted in the destruction of homes, alleged killings and creation of internal refugees. There is a danger that a cycle of violence and counter violence could upset the substantial progress that was made prior the 29 March which allowed the election to take place in a generally peaceful, calm and orderly manner, something which both sides have acknowledged.

To verify the claims of violence, President Mbeki, acting in his capacity as Facilitator of the Zimbabwe dialogue, has sent retired generals to investigate allegations of violence. The team was deployed on 4 May and is expected to complete its fact-finding mission by 20 May, following which it will present a report to the President.
The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Zimbabwe has said that it has been receiving an increasing number of reports and requests for humanitarian assistance to people affected by violence.

Socio-economic developments
We do believe it is important to find a political solution because the economic decline of Zimbabwe continues unabated. Education, healthcare and other basic services are deteriorating. Rampant hyper-inflation is having a serious impact on the quality of life of ordinary Zimbabweans. The annual inflation rate has reached 165,000%.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) issued a 500 million Zimbabwe Dollar note on 16 May (worth about USD2) to ease ongoing cash shortages. The previous highest denomination note was ZWD250 million, issued less than 2 weeks before that.

The maize harvest this season should alleviate the need for food aid distributions and the importation of maize. Although the 2008 harvest might be lower than official estimates due to insufficient inputs –  in particular fertiliser – and floods, the World Food Programme (WFP) has stated that it is too early to say whether there would be a need for the body to scale up its operations later in the year. About 300,000 Zimbabweans received food aid from the WFP in the month of April, compared to 2.4 million in previous months.

I wish to express our concern that the South African and international media are still dealing with Zimbabwe on the basis of unverified, unsubstantiated information.  There is a lot of fabricated reports circulating in South African and international media, the latest being the saga of the Chinese ship with all the fake allegations that President Mbeki had instructed the Deputy Defence Minister to refuel the ship on the high seas.  All these reports are fabricated yet no one is indicating the source of this information.  There are many other such fabrications and we believe that at this very difficult and challenging time for the Zimbabweans that there is enough to write about without basing stories on fabricated reports.  Our concern is that if this is emerging from international reports, why are the South African media not following up as you must in any situation to check the source of this obviously fabricated information.

When I returned from China a few weeks ago, I indicated that the Chinese had informed us that they had recalled this ship and that it was returning to China so we have no further information on this matter including South Africa refuelling the ship on the high seas.

This is in line with the general reporting on Zimbabwe which is not constructive.

DARFUR
Deteriorating security, harsh conditions and other obstacles have considerably slowed the deployment of the joint United Nations – African Union Mission in the Sudanese region (UNAMID).

UNAMID is increasing its activities with each passing month but still needs to be strengthened considerably before it will be able to implement its mandate.

UNAMID could be at 80% of its authorised strength by the end of the year.  This would include 15300 out of 19555 troops, 3018 out of 3772 individual police officers and 12 out of 19 formed police units.  To reach those targets, a wide range of units would have to be deployed before the rainy season starting with key enabling points such as engineer, transportation, logistic and medical groups.

One of the central requirements was a significant strengthening of the Mission’s engineering capacity.  There must also be a significant improvement in the movement of goods from Port Sudan to Darfur.  Customs clearance is taking one month – which is too long.  Insecurity and banditry is causing local contractors to refuse to transport assets.  The road movement of equipment was taking an average of seven weeks.

Government assistance in providing security along the mission pipeline is crucial.  Assistance from troop contributors is also needed, with an increase in the size of battalions already in place, in addition to the engineering capabilities of some of those units and a transfer of assets between units, among other actions.

Almost nine months after the adoption of resolution 1769 (2007), critical air assets are still missing, including three medium utility helicopter units, one aerial reconnaissance unit, one medium transport unit, one heavy transport unit and one multi-role logistics unit.

A major obstacle to the success of the mission remained the lack of progress on the political front.  The situation in Darfur has grown infinitely more complex and prospects for peace seem more remote.  Parties are still not demonstrating the political will to abandon the military option, engage in negotiations or fully co-operate with UNAMID and the humanitarian community.

It is essential to end the fighting.  On Friday 9 May 2008 the Government of Sudan warned the diplomatic community in Khartoum that some 200-300 vehicles of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) were advancing from North Darfur towards Omdurman, where fighting had continued through the nightfall of 10 May.  Some 20 of 30 JEM vehicles had been destroyed and some 200 JEM personnel arrested.

Regional stability was also endangered by the clashes.  The Government of Sudan has accused Chad of supporting the attack.  It is a cause of concern that the movement of significant numbers of JEM fighters all the way to Khartoum had gone undetected and had taken both UNAMID and the government by surprise, which underscored the serious shortfalls in the Mission’s resources, especially aerial reconnaissance capabilities.  There had also been reports that JEM and Chadian armed elements were crossing the border and assembling in West Darfur.

The recent escalation also threatened UNAMID operations and efforts to revitalise the Darfur political negotiations as it comes during an “alarming increase of violence in Darfur itself,” including clashes between rebel movements and the Sudanese Armed Forces, as well as between factions of the movements.

38 trucks hired by the World Food Programme had been hijacked, forcing the agency to halve rations.  More then 150000 civilians had been forced to flee their homes.  Increased tribal fighting in South Darfur had forced more than 50000 people to fee in the month of April alone.

SOMALIA
We remain very concerned about the deteriorating situation in Somalia.  The violence has escalated, different forces are reported to be operating from Somalia and indeed, the danger of Somalia deteriorating further and therefore becoming a haven for other elements is increasing.

Security Council Expresses Strong Support for Secretary-General’s Integrated Strategy for Peace in Somalia, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1814 (2008)
The full text of resolution 1814 (2008) reads as follows:

The Security Council,
Recalling its previous resolutions concerning the situation in Somalia, in particular resolution 733 (1992), resolution 1356 (2001), resolution 1425 (2002), resolution 1725 (2006), resolution 1744 (2007), resolution 1772 (2007), resolution 1801 (2008) and resolution 1811 (2008), and the statements of its President, in particular those of 13 July 2006 (S/PRST/2006/31), 22 December 2006 (S/PRST/2006/59), 30 April 2007 (S/PRST/2007/13), 14 June 2007 (S/PRST/2007/19) and 19 December 2007 (S/PRST/2007/49),

Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia,

Reiterating its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia through the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC), stressing the importance of broad-based and representative institutions reached through a political process ultimately inclusive of all, as envisaged in the TFC, and reiterating its support for Somalia’s Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) to take this forward,

Reiterating the need for agreement on a comprehensive and lasting cessation of hostilities and a roadmap for the remainder of the transitional process, including free and democratic elections in 2009 as set out in the TFC,

Welcoming the continued efforts by Prime Minister Nur “Adde” Hassan Hussein and his Cabinet, under the leadership of President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and supported by the Transitional Federal Parliament, to advance the political process and implement the transitional period, as required by the TFC, in particular the agreement to prepare a timetable for the Constitutional Process leading to a referendum in 2009, the presentation of the Reconciliation Strategy of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), engagement with clan and local leaders across the country, and efforts to implement the National Security and Stabilisation Plan and to improve public finance management including budgetary and fiscal processes, and supporting efforts to make further progress in all these areas,

Welcoming the commitment of all Somali parties that have agreed to engage in dialogue with each other with a view to establishing peace and security in Somalia, urging all Somali parties to honour these commitments and to resort to peaceful means only to resolve their disputes, further welcoming the supporting role of the United Nations, in particular the practical support of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) to help progress this dialogue, and supporting in this regard the start on 12 May 2008 of discussions between the parties in Djibouti,

Welcoming the Secretary-General’s report on Somalia of 14 March 2008 (S/2008/178), in particular its assessment that the political situation in Somalia currently provides a renewed opportunity for the international community to give practical support to domestic initiatives, including an increased presence of United Nations personnel and, subject to broad-based political and security agreements and conditions on the ground, the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation to succeed the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM),

Welcoming the Secretary-General’s support for a comprehensive United Nations strategic approach for peace and stability in Somalia, aligning and integrating political, security and programmatic efforts in a sequenced and mutually reinforcing way, and endorsing ongoing work by the United Nations to support the political process in Somalia and to determine options for re-locating United Nations staff to Somalia,

Commending the work of the SRSG, Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, and of UNPOS, reaffirming its strong support for his work, in particular his leading role in coordinating international efforts, and requesting that all parties, as well as international organizations, the United Nations country team and Member States support and work in close coordination with him at all times,

Reaffirming its condemnation of all acts of, and incitement to, violence inside Somalia, expressing its concern at all acts intended to prevent or block a peaceful political process, and expressing its further concern at such acts and incitement continuing,

Underlining the importance of providing and maintaining stability and security throughout Somalia, and underscoring the importance of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of militia and ex-combatants in Somalia,

Emphasizing the contribution that AMISOM is making to lasting peace and stability in Somalia, welcoming in particular the continuing commitment of the Governments of Uganda and Burundi, regretting the recent loss of a Burundian soldier, condemning any hostility towards AMISOM, and urging all parties in Somalia and the region to support and cooperate with AMISOM,

Underlining that the full deployment of AMISOM will help facilitate the full withdrawal of other foreign forces from Somalia and help create the conditions for lasting peace and stability there,

Taking note of the letter dated 20 February 2008 from the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission to the Secretary-General, which was annexed to the Secretary-General’s report of 14 March 2008, and of the reply from the Secretary-General of 23 April 2008 (S/2008/309),

Emphasizing the continued contribution made to Somalia’s peace and security by the arms embargo imposed by resolution 733 (1992), as elaborated and amended by resolutions 1356 (2001), 1425 (2002), 1725 (2006), 1744 (2007) and 1772 (2007), and reiterating its demand that all Member States, in particular those in the region, comply fully with it,

Expressing deep concern at the human rights situation in Somalia, and taking note of the Resolution on Somalia adopted at the 7th Session of the Human Rights Council, and of the renewal by the Human Rights Council of the mandate for the Independent Expert on Somalia,
Expressing its serious concern at the worsening humanitarian situation in Somalia and the continuing difficulties for humanitarian organizations operating in Somalia, including humanitarian access and security for humanitarian personnel, and reaffirming the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence,

Determining that the situation in Somalia continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

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

“1.   Requests the Secretary-General to continue and intensify his efforts, working together with the international community, to promote an ongoing political process which is ultimately inclusive of all, including by assisting the TFIs in this regard and in delivering services to the Somali people;

“2.   Strongly supports the approach proposed by the Secretary-General’s report of 14 March 2008, welcomes his intention to provide an updated comprehensive, integrated United Nations Strategy for peace and stability in Somalia, aligning and integrating political, security and programmatic efforts in a sequenced and mutually reinforcing way, and to include an assessment of the capacity of UNPOS to implement the Strategy, and requests that he submit the updated version to the Security Council within 60 days from the adoption of this resolution;

“3.   Approves the Secretary-General’s proposal in his report of 14 March 2008 to establish a joint planning unit in the office of the SRSG to facilitate effective and efficient implementation of the integrated strategy;
“4.   Welcomes the Secretary-General’s recommendation, as set out in his report of 14 March 2008, to relocate UNPOS and the country team headquarters from Nairobi to Mogadishu or an interim location in Somalia in order to help deliver the comprehensive, integrated United Nations strategy in Somalia, and requests the Secretary-General to establish the necessary security arrangements for such a relocation, and to update the Security Council when he submits the Strategy referred to in paragraph 2 above;

“5.   Decides that UNPOS and the United Nations country team shall, in promoting a comprehensive and lasting settlement in Somalia and through the promotion of the ongoing political process, enhance their support to the TFIs with the aim of developing a constitution and holding a constitutional referendum and free and democratic elections in 2009, as required by the TFC, and facilitating coordination of the international community’s support to these efforts, and requests the Secretary-General within 60 days from the adoption of this resolution to report on progress with this work;

“6.   Recalls its intention to take measures against those who seek to prevent or block a peaceful political process, or those who threaten the TFIs or AMISOM by force, or take action that undermines stability in Somalia or the region, and therefore requests the Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) (herein after “the Committee”) to provide, within 60 days from the adoption of this resolution, recommendations on specific targeted measures to be imposed against such individuals or entities;

“7.   Recalls its intention to strengthen the effectiveness of the United Nations arms embargo on Somalia, states its intention to take measures against those who breach the arms embargo, and those who support them in doing so, and therefore requests the Committee to provide, within 60 days from the adoption of this resolution, recommendations on specific targeted measures to be imposed against such individuals or entities;

“8.   Requests the Secretary-General to continue his contingency planning for the possible deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Somalia to succeed AMISOM, including of possible additional scenarios, in close contact with UNPOS, the United Nations country team and other United Nations stakeholders, taking account of all relevant conditions on the ground, and considering additional options for the size, configuration, responsibility and proposed area of operation of the mission depending on different conditions on the ground, requests the Secretary-General to update on progress in his planning in the report referred to in paragraph 5 above, and expresses its willingness to consider, at an the appropriate time, a peacekeeping operation to take over from AMISOM, subject to progress in the political process and improvement in the security situation on the ground;

“9.   Welcomes the Secretary-General’s undertaking, as set out in his letter of 23 April 2008 to the Chairperson of the AU Commission, to provide additional United Nations technical advisers to the AU’s Strategic Plans and Management Unit in Addis Ababa, and encourages the Secretary-General to continue to explore with the AU Commission Chairperson, in coordination with donors, ways and means to strengthen United Nations logistical, political and technical support for the AU, to build the AU’s institutional capacity to carry out its commitments in addressing the challenges it faces in supporting AMISOM, and to assist AMISOM’s full deployment, to the extent possible and as appropriate, with the goal of achieving United Nations standards, and to update the Council in the report referred to in paragraph 5 above;

“10.  Reiterates its call upon Member States to provide financial resources, personnel, equipment and services for the full deployment of AMISOM and upon Member States of the African Union to contribute to AMISOM in order to facilitate the withdrawal of other foreign forces from Somalia and help create the conditions for lasting peace and stability there, urges those Member States which have offered to contribute to AMISOM to fulfil such commitments, recognizes that more needs to be done to harness increased support for AMISOM, and takes note of the Secretary-General’s proposals for harnessing such support, as set out in his letter of 23 April 2008;

“11.  Reiterates its support for the contribution made by some States to protect the World Food Programme maritime convoys, calls upon States and regional organizations, in close coordination with each other and as notified in advance to the Secretary-General, and at the request of the TFG, to take action to protect shipping involved with the transportation and delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia and United Nations-authorized activities, calls upon AMISOM troop-contributing countries, as appropriate, to provide support to this end, and requests the Secretary-General to provide his support to this effect;

“12.  Strongly supports and encourages the ongoing humanitarian relief efforts in Somalia, recalls its resolution 1502 (2003) on the protection of humanitarian and United Nations personnel, calls on all parties and armed groups in Somalia to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of AMISOM, United Nations and humanitarian personnel, demands that all parties ensure timely, safe and unhindered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need, wherever they may be, and urges the countries in the region to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance, including the timely, safe and unhindered passage of essential relief goods into Somalia by land or via air and sea ports;

“13. Requests the Secretary-General to strengthen ongoing efforts for establishing a United Nations-led mechanism for bringing together and facilitating consultations between humanitarian organizations operating in Somalia, the TFG, donors and other relevant parties in order to help resolve issues of access, security and provision of humanitarian relief throughout Somalia, and further requests him to report on progress in the report referred to in paragraph 5 above;

“14. Requests the Secretary-General to establish an effective capacity within UNPOS to monitor and enhance the protection of human rights in Somalia, and to ensure coordination, as appropriate, between UNPOS, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council Independent Expert, and further requests the Secretary-General to report on progress in achieving this in the report referred to in paragraph 5 above;

“15.  Supports the ongoing efforts of the United Nations, the African Union and interested Member States, in close cooperation with the TFG, to develop security sector institutions in Somalia, and requests the SRSG to enhance his coordination role in this area, aligning relevant United Nations programmes and Member States’ activities;

“16.  Condemns all and any violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, calls upon all parties in Somalia to respect fully their obligations in this regard, and calls for those responsible for such violations in Somalia to be brought to justice;

“17. Reaffirms its previous resolutions 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security, and 1674 (2006) and 1738 (2006) on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, and stresses the responsibility of all parties and armed groups in Somalia to take appropriate steps to protect the civilian population in the country, consistent with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, in particular by avoiding any indiscriminate attacks on populated areas;

“18. Reaffirms its previous resolution 1612 (2005) on children and armed conflict and recalls the subsequent conclusions of the Security Council Working Group on Children in Armed Conflict pertaining to parties to the armed conflict in Somalia (S/AC.51/2007/14);

“19. Recalls that, pursuant to Article 65 of the United Nations Charter, the Economic and Social Council may furnish information to the Security Council and shall assist the Security Council upon its request;

“20. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

Questions and answers

Question           Deputy Minister Pahad, have any foreign countries expressed concern about the safety of their citizens in South Africa?

Question           Deputy Minister Pahad, how do you respond to criticism that the violence in South Africa is linked to President Mbeki’s position on Zimbabwe?

Question           Deputy Minister Pahad, given South Africa’s social and economic challenges, has it not been irresponsible to allow border control to almost completely break down, especially on the Zimbabwe border?

Question           Deputy Minister Pahad, how is it that the government finds itself surprised by what is happening when there were incidents of such phenomena for some time now?

Question           Deputy Minister Pahad, seeing that the crisis in Zimbabwe is now spilling beyond its borders, do you still maintain that this is an internal matter?

Question           Deputy Minister Pahad, there is a school of thought is that some of this violence has been exported from Zimbabwe so that some violence in South Africa will detract from what is happening in Zimbabwe?

Question           Deputy Minister Pahad, how have these incidents dented South Africa’s image two years before the 2010 Soccer World Cup?

Answer             It is clear that this issue – and it is obvious in the South Africa media – has been reflected in reported internationally.  It is simply reported in both the South African media and international media as attacks simply against foreigners without an attempt to contextualize or analyse the root causes of this phenomenon.  I hope we will have long dealt with this by 2010.

Let me clearly state, these attacks in South Africa are not unique to South Africa and I think that many people abroad are fully conscious, that even in their own societies, that given globalization and other challenges, they have also experienced such phenomena.  That is why in the last few years you have seen phenomena such as neo-facist parties coming to the fore in Europe.  In Europe there are arguments that illegal immigrants are stealing jobs, etc, similar arguments are being used to explain what is happening in South Africa.  Foreigners are aware that xenophobic phenomena are not unique to South Africa.

I think it is up to us to decisively deal with what we have experienced and I think the President has clearly indicated parameters around which we must deal with this matter and all political formations have begun to deal with this.  So have church, civil society and other groups.  The political formation branch structures have also begun to deal with this.

It is my view that until we receive a full report about what are the causes – criminal or otherwise – that have exploited a situation of concern for some of our people that foreigners are a scourge because they are taking away jobs and economic opportunities – this is a wrong perception because in many instances it is based on ignorance and provocation from many forces.  Whether it is related to Zimbabwe or other political forces in South Africa or other agendas – it is difficult for me to tell until we have the report from the inter-departmental committee and especially the police and other security services.  200 people have been arrested.  One hopes that this will open up the space to understand their motivations.  That the IFP and ANC have met is an important development between the two political formations to assess involvement by their parties.  The Secretary-General of the ANC has spoken on this matter and I think we agree with his view that we cannot come to any conclusions until we have more substantiated information.

We are in touch with all countries whose citizens have been affected.  I think that the countries are aware that indeed, large sectors of our population, have condemned these attacks and they are convinced that it is not government policy, nor indeed policies maintained by the majority in our society.  We will continue to be in touch with the governments and see how we can work together to integrate those who are in South Africa in a healthier way.

I do not know whether we have not been responsible in taking care of border control.  Since 1994 we removed the electric fences separating South Africa from our neighbours because no democratic South Africa could maintain electric wire fencing on our borders with our neighbours because it would go against the very value systems we believe it.  Our borders are very porous.  The border control team has tried to see how we can tighten up control.

I want to stress, there is a tendency to view everyone coming across our borders as Zimbabwean – there are many other African citizens coming across our borders – there are also many coming from China, India, Taiwan, Pakistan, Bangladesh – there is a totality of problems.

My own view is that in Africa – and especially SADC – the best way in which to deal with this matter would be to fastrack regional integration of which one of the elements is the free movement of people, to ensure that we develop a region – as we develop South Africa – so that South Africans view other countries as opportunities and we will therefore not just have people coming into South Africa.

In the end, if we fail to address this challenge of the development and integration of SADC, I do not think we will be able to stem the flow.  You can have 1000s of troops on the border but you will not be able to stem the flow.

The Americans have one of the most expensive border control mechanisms with Mexico but they have not stopped the flow of Mexicans into the United States of America.

So the best way in which to deal with this will be the political and economic programme that will turn this tide of people coming into South Africa.  It is not just the Zimbabwean illegal immigrants.  There are many immigrants from Zimbabwe who are in South Africa legally and making a positive contribution to South African society. 

Government was not taken by surprise by the possibility of these attacks.  What has taken us by surprise is the extent and nature including the violence of what we have witnessed.  It was not expected that the Mamelodi and Atteridgeville would lead to this.  We tried to address the root causes but we were aware that criminal elements had exploited concerns and fears of the people.

You would not have thought that 14 years into our democracy we would suddenly experience such an explosion of attacks against foreigners when we have been trying through education and political processes to inform people about our vision of one Africa and an integrated Africa.

I am not sure, and this is linked to the question on the Zimbabwean situation, I think we would have to wait for the report – I think the most immediate task is to stop the violence, determine the perpetrators, begin a more intensified process of education linked to the broader economic strategy but we must stop this as soon as possible.  South Africa is committed to helping other people in Africa, as they helped us.  There are no political differences in what we have to do and I think that as the ruling party and government that we are committed, with the Alliance Partners, to take action against elements that will be found to have instigated and provoked the violence.  I think this is why the President has commented so strongly through his statement that everything must be done to deal with this situation and he is awaiting his report.  Once we have this report we will be able to move decisively against those who are responsible.

The only time that South Africa has experienced this form of violence was pre-1994 and we all know this was politically motivated violence.  At that time when we talked of black-on-black violence we were regarded as being alarmist.  Since then all reports have indicated that the black-on-black violence was not a spontaneous occurrence but was politically motivated.  The symptoms are very much the same.  We now await the report to determine whether we are experiencing the same phenomenon we experienced pre-1994.

Question           Deputy Minister, regarding the Chinese ship – does the South African government believe it is a healthy development for arms to be shipped to Zimbabwe in the current environment and what is your position on the call from Prime Minister Gordon Brown for a wider arms embargo against Zimbabwe?

Answer              Firstly, let me say we have a National Arms Control Committee in South Africa that has a clear mandate from Parliament and works very carefully in relation to South Africa’s export of arms.  We were not even aware of this ship carrying arms until it was exposed.  And while government was trying to deal with this matter – the line function Ministry was the Department of Finance because SARS falls within this ambit and SARS had to determine the contents of the ship.  This was all emerging while we were in China, we discussed this matter and were given an undertaking that the ship would be recalled. 

It is clear that any movement of arms by anyone could escalate the tensions and possible violence in Zimbabwe but it was not as if we were conniving, as has been suggested, to get these arms into Zimbabwe.

The media should now approach the Chinese Ambassador to ascertain details around this matter.

We have a very healthy approach to dealing with South Africa’s export of arms and we try to ensure that this a framework that is excepted by all other arms exporters.  I am not sure if we are succeeding but I think ours is the only country with such stringent control measures on arms.  Many other exporting countries do not have such regulations and legislation.

Regarding the arms embargo: this is a matter that Prime Minister Brown has called for and seeing as how the UK is the current President of the UN Security Council, I would suggest they take it through the processes and discuss this.  South Africa is not exporting arms to Zimbabwe nor are 99% of the UN. 

If we do everything possible to ensure the run-off proceeds smoothly, we deal with allegations of violence, create the conditions, by the time an arms embargo is imposed on Zimbabwe we may have a new situation in Zimbabwe.  Let’s not be diverted by issues that will take a long time to implement.

Question            Deputy Minister, you just said that “It is clear that any movement of arms by anyone could escalate the tensions and possible violence in Zimbabwe,” so why is it that when South Africa had the choice to stop the arms coming through South Africa did we not do the right thing to stop this?

Answer              We did, the arms did not land in South Africa.  There were different procedures that were being undertaken.  You must remember that lots of goods intended for landlocked countries come through South Africa.  South Africa does not check every consignment – this would be impossible.  Therefore, sometimes, we are not able to determine what two countries have arranged between themselves.  South Africa was caught in the middle.  But generally, our own policy is not to a supplier of arms where there is the possibility or intention of violence.  I do not even know what arms were on the ship.

We discussed this matter with the Chinese and were assured that the ship had been recalled.

Question            Deputy Minister, if another ship were to land tomorrow, what would South Africa do?

Answer              That is a hypothetical question.  Let me say, rather than answering that question – we must intensify all our efforts to create the conditions that would allow for the re-run to take place on 27 June 2008 and we will await the report of our retired generals who will present a report on the violence that is taking place.  The President, as the Facilitator, will have to take action on any reports.  The other question that is emerging is the safety of Mr Tsvangirai so that he can return to Zimbabwe to contest the elections. He must be confident that his security is guaranteed.  Everybody has the responsibility to ensure that the Zimbabweans can go to the polls so that other challenges can be effectively addressed.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

20 May 2008

 

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