Notes following Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, Media
Centre Amphitheatre, Union Buildings, Tshwane, South Africa, Tuesday, 4 July 2006
briefed you last week regarding the blue-hatting of the African Union Mission
in Sudan (AMIS).
- With regard to this matter, Secretary-General Kofi Annan
had extensive discussions with Sudanese President Omar El-Bashir on the fringes
of the AU Summit in Banjul. As you know, the Secretary-General has said that "Darfur
is one of the worst nightmares to be experienced in the modern world."
to a Peace and Security Council decision, the mandate of AMIS would expire at
the end of September 2006 because of lack of adequate resources.
the Secretary-General has requested flexibility from the African Union leaders
in this regard since there has been no agreement by the Sudanese government on
the transfer of the AMIS force to a UN force and as you know, a UN force cannot
operate in a country until there is agreement from the leadership of that country.
Secretary-General who has already had extensive discussions with President Bashir
on this matter will continue to discuss it with him to get his agreement.
Secretary-General will receive a plan for Darfur from President Bashir for the
next six months within three weeks.
- The Secretary-General has also mentioned
there will be a pledging conference in Brussels on the 18 July 2006 where he hopes
resources will be pledged to enable AMIS to continue its mission for longer, ie
December when the UN will be able to take over if the Sudanese government agrees.
President and Chair of the African Union Commission Alpha Konare has again urged
the parties who signed the 5 May 2006 agreement to implement this agreement and
urged those who have not signed to do so.
- We continue to support the blue-hatting
of the AMIS and hope an agreement in this regard will be reached soon.
week we discussed the possibility of a meeting between President Mugabe and the
UN Secretary-General on the fringes of the African Union Summit. As you know,
this meeting has now taken place.
- The Secretary-General has announced
that former President Benjamin Mkapa will, in consultation with SADC, continue
to mediate for a political solution in Zimbabwe.
- The Secretary-General
has said there is no need for two facilitators to this situation.
Secretary-General has also asked for time and space to allow former President
Mkapa to do his work.
in Côte d'Ivoire is fully underway.
- On the DDR process the two Chiefs
of Staff are in continuous consultation.
- The problem of the National Assembly
has now been resolved. It will function to support the work of the Prime Minister.
parties feel that since the DDR process has not been fully implemented that elections
will be delayed. However, it is important that we continue to work towards fulfilling
this deadline and the situation can be re-evaluated closer to the time in consultation
with all parties.
- The United Nations Secretary-General has indicated that
a short delay may be necessary and will have discussions in Côte d'Ivoire
tomorrow to assess matters.
The Democratic Republic of Congo
there were protests last week, the process towards elections is underway.
128-member South African observer mission will now be deployed in the DRC from
19 July - 15 August. This is a 26-day period during which they cover the campaigning,
voting and counting phases.
- The South African observer team will be deployed
in 24 rather than the 64 originally muted centres. The 24 centres are in all the
11 provinces and provide reasonable cover through the DRC territory.
will be deployed on 14 and 16 July 2006 to be on the ground before the observers
- All medical and other logistical arrangements for the team are
- The South African observer team will participate in a workshop
before they can be deployed.
- We can also confirm that all ballot papers
have been delivered with exception of the four centres in Kinshasa.
week I reported that the DRC government has requested 128 specialists in various
IT competencies. Since the IEC could not provide this, an appeal was made to the
private sector who have responded by volunteering the personnel. Telkom, SAP,
Dell, Cisco, Vodacom, Sentech, Accenture, Didata, IBM, Cell-C and Sahara have
responded to the request. This is an instance where the private sector has come
on board to assist us very positively.
- The Security Council on Friday
30 June 2006 extended the mandate of the strengthened peacekeeping force till
30 September 2006. This mission in the DRC represents the largest and most expensive
peacekeeping operation by the United Nations. The MONUC operation consists of
18 000 uniformed personnel.
- There has been a call for calm, free and secure
voting for all participants and access to the media. In addition, there has been
a request for all parties to refrain from hate speech.
last week warned that we were moving into a very dangerous phase in the Middle
- Indeed, not three days after this, Israeli artillery and tanks moved
into the Gaza and air strikes began. This exacerbated an already volatile situation.
destruction of the offices of the Prime Minister, the arrests of Cabinet ministers,
members of the legislative and the destruction of vital infrastructure is not
conducive to finding a solution to the current crisis. Indeed the dire humanitarian
situation is only being intensified.
- The deadline put by the Palestinian
groups for the release of Palestinian prisoners, in exchange for the Israeli soldier,
- Both the Palestinian President and Prime Minister had committed
themselves to seeking the release of the Israeli soldier.
- The move into
Gaza happened at a time when the international community, including South Africa,
were seized with and intensifying their attempts to encourage the Palestinians
to release the captured Israeli soldier.
- This Israeli action also came
hours after all the Palestinians had accepted a plan produced by all sections
of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. This opened up real possibilities of
a negotiated solution based on a two-state solution.
- International reactions
to these developments indicate that we have entered a very dangerous situation
that threatens international peace and security.
- This, inter alia, includes:
by many countries expressing and condemning the military response;
statement by the United Nations Secretary General;
- The Special United
Nations Security Council meeting last Friday, 30 June 2006;
- The decision
by the newly formed Human Rights Council to have a special session in Geneva this
- The resolution adopted at the AU Summit in Gambia 1-2 July 2006
that condemned the Israeli military action.
- We reiterate the call for
the unconditional release of the Israeli soldier.
- We also ask Israeli
to immediately cease its military action and work towards finding a political
solution to the crisis.
- The South African government fully supports the
African Union resolution that "calls upon the international community, an
in particular the members of the Quartet to reactivate their plan so as to pave
the way for a return to the negotiating table in accordance with the principles
of international law and the resolutions of the UN Security Council in order to
achieve a lasting and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
on the basis of two States (Palestine and Israel) living side by side in peace
- We hope that common good sense by all parties will
President Mbeki's visit to Germany
African President Thabo Mbeki, will pay a Working Visit to Berlin, Germany from
Friday - Sunday, 7-9 July 2006 where he will hold discussions with German Chancellor
Angela Merkel, in addition to participating in the 2010 Handover Ceremony and
launching the logo for the 2010 World Cup.
- As you know there are over
100 cultural workers in Germany presenting artistic presentations in preparation
for the 2010 Handover Ceremony and to prepare for the 2010 Soccer World Cup in
- Since this is a working visit, President Mbeki will hold
discussions with German President Horst Koehler and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
key issues will be discussed among which the forthcoming G-8 Summit in Russia
will be key. It will also be important for President Mbeki to discuss the forthcoming
German presidency of the EU and how it can support African challenges.
course, the crisis in the World Trade Organisation talks will also be high on
- Other issues will also include:
- The implementation
of President Koehler's African Partnership Initiative since its inaugural meeting
in Bonn in November 2005;
- An overview of the current status of bilateral
relations and prospects for future bilateral co-operation;
within the European Union and Africa Review of Regions:
- Co-operation in
the World Trade Organisation negotiations;
- South African preparations
for the 2010 World Cup;
- African conflict resolution and peacekeeping and
the support of the European Union in these initiatives. In this regard, Germany
will lead the European Union Peacekeeping Force to the DRC ahead of and during
their scheduled elections; and
- Other international issues of mutual concern
including the situation in Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
Africa - European Union Strategic Partnership
- Another issue which
is think is very important is the announcement by the European Union (EU) of a
strategic partnership between South Africa and the EU.
- The South African
government welcomes this move as a positive step forward in the process of elevating
SA-EU relations. SA and the EU have, since mid 2005, been informally engaging
each other on the possibility of elevating their relationship. SA and the EU share
many common objectives and positions, and both SA and the EU believe that intensified
cooperation will be of mutual benefit.
- During his visit to SA in February
2006, EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Assistance, Mr Louis Michel,
held meetings with President Mbeki and Minister Dlamini Zuma, in which he presented
a non-paper entitled 'A possible South Africa-EU Strategic Partnership."
The South African government is presently studying this proposal.
- A "strategic
partnership" relationship will allow SA and the EU to engage in more intensive
dialogue on political, economic and developmental issues. According to the EC,
a strategic partnership with the EU would give SA far greater recognition in Europe's
strategic global awareness, as well as in time allow SA to be placed on a high-priority
diplomatic footing with the EU. SA-EU relations would thus hold similar importance
to those held by the EU and the USA, Canada, China, Russia, India, and Brazil,
all of whom have special agreements with the EU.
- The South African Government
anticipates that formal discussions regarding an elevation of relations could
commence once the EC has tabled their proposed strategic partnership before the
European Council (the Member States), which is expected to happen in late September
- This is a very important step and presents an opportunity
for African developmental challenges to be placed higher on the agenda of the
- The timing of this is also very important since South
Africa will be a non-permanent member of the Security Council 2007-2008 and the
responsibility placed on it will be greater. We will then be in better position
to deal with some of our challenges.
Deputy Minister Pahad to host
North Korean counterpart
- I will host my counterpart from the Democratic
Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) Vice Minister Kim Hyong Jun for bilateral political
and economic discussions at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Tuesday, 11 July
- While we will discuss many pertinent issues one of the key areas
will be a briefing from my counterpart on the situation in the Korean peninsula
with regard to the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear
disarmament within the context of the Six-Party Talks;
- This visit takes
place at a time when the 6-party talks are largely stalled. It will be important
to get an understanding from my colleague as to the reasons for non-movement and
obstacles in the process.
- We will also discuss the North Korean proposal
for testing a nuclear missile.
- The statement has all the supporting information.
Minister Pahad to Hold Bilateral Discussions with Spanish Counterpart Dr Bernadino
- I will hold bilateral political and economic discussions
with my Spanish counterpart Secretary of State Dr Bernadino Leon Gross at the
Diplomatic Guesthouse in Pretoria on Wednesday, 5 July 2006.
- South Africa's
relations with Spain have been excellent - politically and our co-operation in
- Spain has undertaken to significantly increase funding
(up to UN benchmark of 0,7% of GDP) for development co-operation inter alia in
Africa, and recently announced an increase in ODA to Africa from Euro 200m to
- The Spanish government has also announced the Cancellation
of African debt of approximately Euro 200m.
- Spain is also currently exploring
a new foreign policy with Africa: 'Africa as a new policy priority' of which we
will receive further information.
- Spain is also very key to peacekeeping
operations in Africa and we will also discuss this with particular reference to
the situation in Western Sahara considering the Spanish influence.
you already know, ETA has recently declared a ceasefire that will bring to an
end 50 years of armed struggle. We will discuss this matter and ways in which
the international community can assist.
- And off course, we will discuss
the Middle East and Iran.
- The statement has all the supporting information.
Session of the South Africa - Japan Partnership Forum
- I will co-chair,
together with my Japanese counterpart Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs
Yasuhisa Shiozaki the 8th session of the South Africa - Japan Partnership Forum
at the Farm Inn in Pretoria scheduled from Thursday - Friday, 6-7 July 2006.
the visit by Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka to Japan in April 2006, AsgiSA and
JIPSA will be high on the agenda as well as how NEPAD can be used as an overarching
framework for Japanese co-operation in Africa.
- As a member of the G-8,
the forthcoming G-8 Summit will be discussed in addition to the World Trade Organisation
- As you know, Japan is a very important economic partner for South
Africa and Africa - it has now overcome its economic difficulties and for the
first time is showing sustained economic growth.
- The statement has all
the supporting information.
Questions and answers
Deputy Minister Pahad, what is the latest on the situation in Burundi?
As you know, the deadline has passed and the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement
has not been finalised. Minister Nqakula was in Burundi attempting to finalise
the situation but had to return to South Africa due to commitments in his department.
He will again return to Burundi later today.
We expect that regional groups,
with the Facilitation, will attempt to finalise the agreement.
It is important
to note however that the situation as it is, cannot be sustained any longer.
Deputy Minister, was the matter of Security Council reform discussed at the
Answer This matter was discussed. The decision that
emanated was that the consensus position (the Ezulwini Consensus) will be supported.
However, the Committee of Seven Heads of State must continue to lobby for support
from the EU, America, the G-4, etc.
We all accept that Security Council
reform is vital, but the matter is likely to be overtaken considering the current
rate at which the discussions are progressing.
Question Deputy Minister
Pahad, am I to understand that flexibility with regard to the veto has been considered?
This matter is one that is consistently debated. Some countries say that we are
unrealistic in expecting this matter to be conceded to, others say it is a matter
of principle and if the veto is there, African countries should be entitled to
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, what is the South African government's
position on the recognition of the government of Somaliland? Will you recognise
it? Are you in negotiations with them?
Answer The African Union sent
a high level team to Somaliland to assess the situation. Their report indicated
that Somaliland should be treated differently to other situations of cessation.
This report is now being discussed by other countries to determine how to proceed
on the matter.
It is important to note however that the recognition of
Somaliland is one part of a bigger situation with regard to Somalia.
Deputy Minister Pahad, there are reports showing an increase in the numbers of
illegal Pakistani immigrants to South Africa. Is your government particularly
concerned about this trend?
Answer The matter of undocumented immigrants
is one with which the government has been seized for a long time. We are looking
into the matter is its entirety - immigrants from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, West Africa,
India, China, Taiwan and Pakistan are increasingly coming to South Africa. For
some reason, people, from as far afield as Pakistan believe they can live a better
life in South Africa.
The Minister of Home Affairs recently announced the
relaxation of many immigration laws in an attempt to address this situation.
This matter is not one that is specific to Pakistan and is a matter of concern
to us as a government since it impacts on the South African domestic situation
with regard to social services, the economy, etc.
We must look at ways
of addressing the influx of undocumented immigrants to South Africa.
Deputy Minister Pahad, was the permanent move of the Nepad Secretariat to Addis
Ababa discussed at the AU Summit?
Answer The matter was discussed
and we will do a fuller briefing on the matter next week, suffice to say that
we must move towards moving the Nepad Secretariat permanently to Addis Ababa.
by Department of Foreign Affairs
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