Following Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, Media Centre, Amphitheatre,
Union Buildings, Thursday 7 June 2007
G-8 Africa Outreach and G-8 + 5
Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday 6 June 2007 departed for Heiligendamm, Germany ahead
of the G-8 + 5 Outreach and African Outreach sessions of the G8 Summit scheduled
on Friday 8 June 2007.
President Mbeki, supported by Ministers Dlamini
Zuma and Mandisi Mpahlwa, will participate in the G-8 Outreach sessions within
the context of South Africa's priority to strengthen relations with to the G-8
with a view to consolidation of the African developmental agenda.
G-8 Heiligendamm Summit will be held under the banner: "Growth and Responsibility,
with a focus on key global challenges: the world economy and Africa's economic,
political and social development."
This theme is very important for
us because while the latest UN report ahead of the Summit indicates certain progress
it does raise concerns that unless the developed countries act decisively the
developing countries will not meet the Millennium Development Goals.
are happy that for the last few years, South Africa has participated in the G-8
meetings is now one of five countries - India, Brazil, South Africa, China and
Mexico - to form part of the G-8's engagement with the South.
Mbeki has said that, at the Heiligendamm Summit, as was agreed to at the 2006
St Petersburg Summit, the G-8 and its development partners must assess the movement
in terms of the implementation of the set of agreements reached between the G-8
and the African continent and how to increase and expedite the implementation
of the 2005 Gleneagles Commitments.
President Mbeki has also expressed confidence
that the matter of climate change will be given renewed impetus and support at
the 2007 Summit.
G8 + 5 Outreach Dialogue + African Dialogue
Outreach dialogue between the Group of Eight Member-States and their chosen Partners,
+5 (India, Brazil, South Africa, China and Mexico) and African (South Africa,
Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Senegal, and Ghana) under the baton of Germany, is guided
by these central themes for the G8 2007 Summit.
Furthermore, the +5 Outreach
engagement will focus on the Promotion of Research of Innovation and the Protection
of Intellectual Property Rights, the Promotion of International Investment, Energy
Security, Climate Change and Development with a particular focus on Africa.
African engagement, an agenda of Strengthening Good Governance, Sustainable Investment
for Development, Peace and Security and the Strengthening of the Health Care System,
and fighting HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has been set.
that have gained significant importance during the process of preparation by Germany
for the Summit, are Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and then the successful
conclusion of the Doha Round Negotiations. The latter is gaining urgency among
G8 Member-States as the US' Congressional mandate to participate in the negotiations
will end at the end of June 2007. The Group of Eight, in line with the Saint Petersburg
commitment made, wishes to bring the World Trade Organisation's Doha Round Negotiations
to a successful conclusion.
The Summit of 2007 will further focus on Investment,
innovation, sustainability, Protectionism in investment, Employment, Global financial
imbalances, Innovation and Trademark Piracy and the freedom of investment in industrial,
emerging countries and the underdeveloped, in particular African, countries. This
includes addressing global investment conditions and the social dimension of globalization.
The G-8 Summit will also focus on the crisis in the Middle East, Iraq,
Iran, North Korea, Sudan/Darfur, Afghanistan, Somalia, Kosovo and Zimbabwe, and
other topical international political crises and conflicts.
The South African government welcomes the decision by the United
Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to launch a new working group to reinvigorate
the partnership between donors and sub-Saharan governments to support many countries
in Africa lagging in the achievement of development goals and assistance to them
"There is now a danger that the commitment you made at
the Summit in Gleneagles in 2005 to double aid to Africa by 2010 will not be met,"
Mr. Ban said in a letter to the Heads of State and Government of the Group of
Eight industrialized countries (G-8), who will be gathering in Germany at the
end of this week.
In the letter, he called on the G-8 countries - Canada,
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and
the United States - for leadership in meeting the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs) and tackling climate change.
To achieve the MDGs, internationally
agreed targets to slash extreme poverty and other ills around the world by 2015,
Mr. Ban asked the countries to both reverse the drop in Official Development Assistance
(ODA) and also successfully conclude the Doha trade talks on equitable trade.
"You have a vital role to play in the further development of an open
and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system," he wrote.
climate change, he emphasized that the reports issued by the Intergovernmental
Panel on the issue earlier this year dispel any doubt that the world does not
know enough to act to prevent the consequences, which may be dire.
cost of inaction will exceed the cost of taking early action, probably by several
orders of magnitude, as the impact of climate change has the potential to undo
progress made on human development," he said.
In that light, he stressed
the necessity of special effort to put in place a long-term global framework to
tackle climate change, in a way that addresses the needs of all countries.
urge you to take the lead in your country, and support developing countries to
achieve economic growth while contributing to lasting solutions to climate change,"
he said, addressing each of the G-8 leaders.
CHINA AND AFRICA
campaign to question China's increased political and economic relations with Africa
China therefore defended its role in Africa on Monday 4
June 2007 ahead of the G8 summit in Germany later this week.
Minister Cui Tiankai said, "China and African countries have had a very friendly,
brotherly partnership since the establishment of new China, since the 1950s, and
that has continued up to now."
"It can be said that this has been
widely praised around the globe
In this world there will always be people
willing to criticise others. If they want to say something, then that's their
business. Whether or not it's true, is another matter."
government also on Monday released its position paper for the G8 meetings in Heiligendamm,
Germany, on June 6-8, outlining Beijing's policy on Africa.
wishes to stress that there is neither an invariable model nor a one-size-fits-all
standard for good governance," the paper said.
"It depends on
whether the policy and system can promote a country's economic and social development
and serve the fundamental interests of its people. The issue of conditionality
of aid should be tackled with caution," it added.
that the United Nations has a bigger role to play in conflict prevention and settlement
and post-conflict reconstruction in Africa," the paper said.
Ban Ki-moon on Friday praised China's "helpful" role in Sudan. "The
Chinese government has been exerting its utmost efforts (on Darfur), as I understand
and appreciate," he said.
The position of the South African government
remains consistent: we believe that the Chinese involvement should not necessarily
be seen as a dangerous thing for Africa in general and South Africa in particular.
Africa should collectively and bilaterally ensure that the Chinese involvement
in Africa is different to previous relations with other developed nations and
we should have a developmental element of Chinese relations with Africa.
reality is that China and India are two of the fastest growing economies of the
world and are now partners with South Africa in the G-8 + 5 Outreach programme
and as such, will intensify their activities in Africa and this is not necessarily
a bad thing. It will depend on how Africa frames its relations with China.
NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
We remain very concerned
about developments in Darfur and welcomes the call from the Security Council for
full and immediate implementation of UN Support Packages for the AU Mission in
South Africa fully supports the Secretary-General's report on the
situation in Darfur and therefore agree with the Security Council's call that
parties must meet their international commitments, support the political processes,
end violence against civilians, attacks on peacekeepers, and facilitate humanitarian
Security Council Calls for Full, Immediate Implementation of United
Nations 'Support Packages' To African Union Mission In Sudan
The full text
of presidential statement S/PRST/2007/15 reads as follows:
Council welcomes the transmission of the report of the Secretary-General and the
Chairperson of the African Union Commission on the hybrid operation in Darfur,
which contains recommendations regarding a mandate and a structure for the hybrid
operation, details on the various components of the proposed operation and their
specific tasks, and a description of the ongoing efforts of the international
community to support the peace process in Darfur and to strengthen the African
Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS).
"The Security Council notes that
agreement between the African Union and the United Nations on this joint report
is an important development in the comprehensive approach to the peace process
in Darfur, which also includes re-energizing the political process, strengthening
the ceasefire and implementing the three-phase approach to peacekeeping, culminating
in an African Union-United Nations hybrid operation.
Council calls for the full implementation without delay of the United Nations
light and heavy support packages of assistance to AMIS, as well as for the report
of the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on
the hybrid operation to be considered and taken forward immediately. The Security
Council further demands that all parties meet their international obligations,
support the political process, end violence against civilians and attacks on peacekeepers,
and facilitate humanitarian relief."
With respect to the size of the
force, a joint UN-AU report released on 31 May 2007, detailed two options for
the size of the force's military component: under one plan, there would be 19,555
troops and under the other there would be 17,605 troops. The police component
would require 3,772 officers.
An overall mandate must be approved by both
the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council, and is likely to
focus on the protection of civilians, the facilitation of full humanitarian access,
the return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the restoration
of security through the enforcement of the Darfur Peace Agreement.
Adada, the joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur appointed earlier this
month, would head the operation and be responsible for its management and functioning.
The Force Commander would be an African, while several other senior appointments
would be made jointly following consultation with the UN and AU.
welcomes the progress that has been made with regard to the Light Support Package
and calls for the speedy implementation of the Heavy Support Package.
Africa appeals to the Government of Sudan and all other parties to agree and co-operate
with the AU-UN Hybrid Operation Initiative to expedite its operationalisation.
Africa urges the Member States to provide funding for the Hybrid Operation in
Darfur through the UN assessed budget.
South Africa urges both the Government
of Sudan and rebel groups to adhere to the ceasefire agreements.
Strongly Condemns Killing Of United Nations Officer In Sudan
The South African
government supports the Secretary-General's strong condemnation of the killing
on 25 May of a United Nations officer from Egypt, who was deployed in El Fasher
in support of the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) and deplores the armed
hijacking of a United Nations convoy in El Fasher on 28 May, in which three vehicles
were stolen and the passengers robbed.
The Secretary-General urges the
Government of Sudan to facilitate the immediate deployment of the heavy support
package to AMIS, and agree to the United Nations-African Union hybrid operation
China urges patience on Sudan
the international community last week to show patience with Sudan and said new
sanctions would only complicate efforts to implement a United Nations peace plan
for strife-torn Darfur.
"New sanctions against Sudan would only complicate
the issue," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu told media. "China
appeals to all parties to maintain restraint and patience."
parties are making joint efforts to win positive achievements on the Darfur issue,"
Sudan has agreed in principle to the "Annan peace plan",
which proposes sending in UN troops to bolster an African Union peacekeeping force,
but has delayed implementing the package.
Pope Appeals for Negotiated Solution
to Darfur Crisis
Pope Benedict XVI has asked for a negotiated solution to
the bloody conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan when receiving letters of credence
of Ahmed Hamid Elfaki Hamid, the new Sudanese ambassador to the Holy See.
this deadly conflict, that primarily affects the civil populations, everyone knows
that no solution to arrive at a just peace can be implemented with the force of
arms," the Pope said.
The pope underlined the need for "a culture
of dialogue and negotiation, so as to arrive to a political solution of the conflict,
which respects the cultural, ethnic and religious minorities
It is never
too late to courageously make the necessary, and at times demanding, decisions
to bring to an end a crisis situation, with the condition that all parties involve
themselves with sincerity and with determination in their resolve."
Holy Father made a call "to all persons that have responsibility in this
situation so that they continue their efforts and make the required decisions."
Hundreds of Sudanese flee to town in Central African Republic, UN says
Some 1,500 Sudanese refugees have sought refuge in a single town in the Central
African Republic (CAR), claiming that Sudanese Government forces and armed militias
attacked their town two weeks ago, a United Nations spokesperson Michele Montas
"The agencies say the number of refugees continues to grow,"
Ms. Montas said. "The majority of them are women and children, who have travelled
the 200 kilometres between the two towns on foot."
The World Food
Programme (WFP) is providing a one-month initial food ration for the refugees
who have already arrived in the town, and the UN High Commission for Refugees
(UNHCR) along with he UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is providing non-food items,
Ms. Montas added.
"We did not find evidence of the presence of armed
elements in the group and the refugees assured the mission that everyone originates
from DaFak in Sudan and no Chadian nationals among them," said Bruno Geddo,
Representative of UNHCR.
"We will continue to monitor the situation
closely to ensure the civilian and humanitarian character of the operation,"
"Considering that the majority of the refugees appear to
be women and children, WFP will provide emergency food assistance, while at the
same time carry out an assessment of the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable
individuals among the local population in Sam Ouandja," said that agency's
Representative in CAR, Jean-Charles Dei.
"Beyond the need for humanitarian
assistance, the United Nations remains highly concerned about the protection of
civilians and calls for the national authorities to continue to facilitate humanitarian
access to displaced populations in need," said Jean-Sébastien Munié,
OCHA chief in the country.
Security Council agrees
on establishment of special tribunal
The Security Council agreed on 30 May
2007 that the special tribunal set up to try the suspected killers of the former
Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri will enter into force on 10 June unless Lebanon
ratifies the tribunal itself before that date.
A resolution endorsing
the tribunal's formal establishment was adopted after 10 Council members voted
in favour and no members voted against. Five countries - China, Russia, Indonesia,
Qatar and South Africa - abstained.
The tribunal will be of "an international
character" to deal with the assassination of Mr. Hariri, who was killed along
with 22 others in a massive car bombing in downtown Beirut in February 2005.
in explanation of the South African vote on the Lebanon Tribunal
unequivocally condemns the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq
Hariri and other Lebanese leaders. Indeed, there is a consensus within Lebanon
and internationally on the need for the United Nations to assist the Lebanese
authorities in their efforts to bring to justice those responsible for these grave
crimes and bring an end to all impunity.
It is for this reason that the
UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) was set up to assist
Lebanon with its criminal investigation. The decision was also taken to set up
a Special Tribunal comprised of Lebanese and international jurists and prosecutors
located outside Lebanon to prosecute any persons identified by the UNIIIC and
the Lebanese authorities as suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister
Rafiq Hariri and other Lebanese leaders.
South Africa fully supports the
creation of the tribunal and expects it to operate with impartiality and in accordance
with Lebanese law and the highest international standards of criminal justice.
delegation regards Lebanese ownership of the tribunal as being of paramount importance
and believes that it is incumbent on the Lebanese authorities and people to reach
a consensus position on the matter.
For this reason, we still hold the hope
that the Lebanese parties could use the period specified in the resolution - between
now and 10 June 2007 - to come to a political agreement on this Tribunal and not
leave it to be imposed on Lebanon.
We maintain that it is not appropriate
for the Security Council to impose such a tribunal on Lebanon, especially under
Chapter VII of the UN Charter. In this regard, my delegation has frequently cautioned
that the Security Council should be judicious in its invocation of Chapter VII
of the UN Charter.
The Security Council is mandated to act with impartiality
and without bias. It cannot be seen to be taking sides in internal Lebanese politics.
is a danger that the imposition of the Special Tribunal on Lebanon without all
the Parties consent will detrimentally affect the political stability of an already
fragile Lebanese State. It will also politicise international criminal law, thereby
undermining the very foundations of international law.
We furthermore have
concerns about the precedent that this resolution will set. The principle of national
consensus in establishing international tribunals is an important aspect of peace
building and national reconciliation.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC)
reports that 19 civilians, including children and women, have died as a result
of unprovoked attacks on the villages of Nyabuluze and Mhungu in South Kivu, Democratic
Republic of the Congo, during the night of 26-27 May. The attacks were reportedly
carried out by elements of the Forces démocratiques de libération
du Rwanda (FDLR) and Rasta militiamen. A third attack, on the village of Chihamba,
was prevented in the early morning hours of 27 May by the intervention of a MONUC
patrol. Media reports that 12 more abductees were also killed remain unconfirmed.
Africa condemns this massacre in the strongest possible terms.
for the massacre must be arrested and prosecuted.
Visit to South Africa
by President Joseph Kabila
President Kabila and a senior government delegation
from the DRC will pay a State Visit to South Africa next week. We will therefore
have an excellent opportunity to review political and economic developments in
President Kabila will also be accompanied by a high level business
This visit comes within the context of South Africa's commitment
to consolidate relations with and support political processes in the DRC.
of conflict has left the people of Burundi impoverished, with social and economic
structures virtually destroyed.
The International Community must intensify
if post-conflict efforts, inter alia, inclusive growth and employment generation,
implementation of reforms, including in the areas of security sector and justice
system reforms, radical improvement in good governance, transparency and human
rights, as well as a significant improvement in living conditions.
Africa calls for support for the implementation of the Priority Action Programme
prepared by the Government of Burundi, in close consultations with its partners.
The hard won peace will not be irreversible unless we operationalise this Priority
Burundi is one of the first countries receiving support
from the Peacebuilding Commission, viz. US$35 million from the Peacebuilding Fund
to support critical peacebuilding projects in Burundi. Only then will the hard-won
peace in Burundi be irreversible.
Government and Paliphehutu-FNL Negotiations
between the Government of Burundi and the Paliphehutu-FNL had been suspended but
following consultations by the Facilitator and his team with the government and
the Paliphehutu-FNL, the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JVMM) is
now again operational and negotiations have resumed.
Two meetings of the
JVMM have since been held.
Earlier this week Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo,
on behalf of the Facilitator Minister Charles Nqakula, consulted with President
Nkurunziza and the Paliphehutu-FNL with a view to finalising arrangements for
a meeting between President Nkurunziza and Chairman Agathon Rwasa.
now agreed that a meeting will take place in Dar-es-Salaam later in the month
at a date to be determined.
South Africa applauds the steady progress in the
peace process and urges parties to remain focused on finalising the processes
so that Burundi can join the nations of the world as a stable, peaceful and secure
Assassination Attempt on Somalian Prime Minister
South African government condemns the assassination attempt against the Somalian
Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi escaped unhurt when a suicide
bomber killed seven people outside the Somali prime minister's home in Mogadishu
on Sunday 3 June 2007.
Security sources said Ali Mohamed Gedi was unhurt,
but five soldiers and two civilians died when the bomber detonated a car rigged
with explosives at the gates of his residence in a heavily guarded neighbourhood
of the capital.
South Africa is gravely concerned about the continuing heavy
fighting in Mogadishu, which has reportedly killed more than 250 people and forced
more than 320,000 from their homes in the past six days alone. South Africa condemns
the reported indiscriminate use of heavy weapons against civilian population centres,
which is in disregard of international humanitarian law.
South Africa urges
all the parties to immediately cease hostilities and to facilitate access for
the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance. There is no military
solution to the Somali conflict. South Africa calls for an urgent resumption of
political dialogue. Accordingly, the Somali Reconciliation Conference has to be
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political
Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, will shortly visit the Horn of Africa for consultations
in and around the region focused largely on peace and stabilization in Somalia.
A meeting in London of the International Contact Group for Somalia, to be attended
by leaders of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government, senior officials from
ICG member states, and the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Somalia,
Francois Lonseny-Fall was held earlier in the week.
United Nations agencies said their efforts to deliver aid
are being thwarted by the deteriorating security situation in Somalia, where hundreds
of thousands of people affected by violence in and around the capital city of
Mogadishu face a dire humanitarian situation.
The UN Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that access to areas around Mogadishu and
key airstrips in southern and central Somalia is essential to deliver much-needed
supplies such as food and water to avert a crisis.
The UN High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 213,000 people have fled fighting in the capital
in recent months, while the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) reports that hospitals
are overflowing with casualties and health clinics are facing a rising number
of cases of acute water diarrhoea.
"We have heard the appeal of Somali
civil society to the humanitarian community for more help and we continue to respond,
as far as we are able, with supplies and technical support," said Christian
Balslev-Olesen, Somalia Representative for UNICEF.
"But our access is
limited," he added. "And so we reiterate our call to all parties involved
in the conflict to do everything within their power to allow us to reach those
who need our assistance the most."
"UNICEF warehouses in the
capital containing relief supplies cannot be reached due to conflict in the area
and the use of Mogadishu airport to bring in further supplies carries its own
security risks," Mr. Balslev-Olesen said.
UNHCR began distributing
suppliesto 40,000 displaced people who have fled Mogadishu since February and
are currently residing in the small town of Afgooye, 30 kilometres west of the
capital, the agency's spokesperson Ron Redmond told reporters in Geneva.
was also an explosion yesterday on the main road linking Afgooye - which shelters
one fifth of the 213,000 Somalis who are believed to have fled the capital - and
Mogadishu, isolating the small town.
"There are concerns that with
this vital road now cut off, aid agencies will have an even harder time trying
to bring supplies from warehouses in Mogadishu for distribution to thousands of
displaced people in Afgooye and surrounding areas," Mr. Redmond said.
its first day of distribution in Afgooye, UNHCR and its Somali non-governmental
organization (NGO) partners reached 1,500 families or roughly 9,000 people, all
of whom were living outdoors, either under trees or out in the open. By this morning,
many had erected makeshift shelters with the plastic sheeting they received.
agency hopes to reach an additional 500 families or 3,000 people living outdoors.
"UNHCR plans to airlift more relief supplies from Dubai next week,
and to distribute them in Afgooye," Mr. Redmond said, adding that these additional
supplies will cover 15,000 people.
"Because of security concerns,
the UN is unable to work in these parts of Somalia and is providing assistance
through Somali NGOs," Mr. Redmond noted.
Appeal for Aid
meet the needs of Somalis, UN agencies and its partners have appealed for $262
million. So far, 34% of that has been contributed with donors giving $88 million.
Meanwhile, in a new report, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that Somalia
must seize the opportunity to consolidate peace after 16 years of instability.
"While the challenges are considerable, there are political, humanitarian
and regional security imperatives that can assist the Somali people in recovering
from years of statelessness and to avoid a slide back into chaos and more violence,"
Mr. Ban says in the report.
Although it is imperative that fighting cease
immediately, a military solution to the current violence raging in Mogadishu would
be "counterproductive" since it would foster resentment among various
clans and communities while impeding the reconciliation process that is currently
underway, the report notes.
Mr. Ban urges the international community to
provide political, technical and financial support to the nascent national reconciliation
congress, which could potentially "play an important role in the broader
process of addressing the past and building the future."
He says the
UN must cooperate closely with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development
(IGAD), a regional organization that has been involved in efforts to stabilize
Somalia, along with the African Union (AU) and the League of Arab States.
report also suggests that the Security Council approve of planning for a potential
peacekeeping operation for the war-ravaged country, examining the funds necessary
and seeking firm pledges from countries to send troops and police.
Ban underscores that the primary responsibility for securing a lasting peace lies
with Somalis who must overcome their differences and allow for an all-inclusive
peace process. To this end, he says that recovery and reconstruction efforts are
key to fostering reconciliation and rebuilding to make a significant impact on
the lives of the people.
He appeals to donors to support emergency relief
operations, and stresses the importance of maintaining a safe space in which humanitarian
workers can provide the necessary assistance.
Mr. Ban cites the "massive
and systemic" human rights violations which have occurred in the east African
country which have been reported by several independent UN experts since 1991,
and encourages their recommendations to be folded into national efforts in this
As the fighting in Somalia escalates, the United Nations says more
than 321,000 residents have fled Mogadishu since February.
Eritrea's exit from the seven-member Inter-Governmental Authority on Development
(IGAD) has been seen as a blow diplomatic efforts to unite foreign opinion on
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
has invited Morocco and the Frente Polisario to talks, along with their neighbours
Algeria and Mauritania, later this month in an attempt to resolve the long-standing
dispute over the status of Western Sahara.
The talks involving representatives
of the two parties and the neighbours will take place "in the proximity of
New York" on 18-19 June.
Peter van Walsum, the Secretary-General's
Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, will conduct direct talks as a first step in
the process of negotiations. The Secretary-General hopes the talks will lead to
a mutually agreed political solution to the dispute.
The invitations to
this month's talks follow a request from the Security Council in its latest resolution
on Western Sahara, issued in late April, that Morocco and the Polisario Front
enter into negoiations without preconditions.
South African government believes that the invigorated Arab League initiative
and the Palestinian Ceasefire Initiative for a few days ago opens up, for the
first time, a real possibility for peace.
The South African government again
urges all parties to take seriously the openings that have occurred and call on
the government of Israel to begin serious negotiations based on the 2002 Arab
At the same time, we call for the lifting of sanctions against
the Palestinian government, the recognition of the Palestinian government, the
removal of restrictions placed on the people of Palestine, the removal of sanctions
against the government and people of Palestine and the release of those Ministers
and MPs arrested recently.
I do believe there can be movement if there is
serious commitment to operationalising the two-State solution
ON ANNIVERSARY OF 1967 ARAB-ISRAELI WAR, SAYS END TO OCCUPATION, POLITICAL SOLUTION
TO CONFLICT ONLY WAY FORWARD
On this day, the Secretary-General remembers
the men, women and children who have been killed or had their lives shattered
by the tragedies of conflict in the Middle East, particularly the Palestinians,
who continue to live under an occupation that has lasted 40 years. The United
Nations remains committed to bringing assistance to those who suffer, and to working
tirelessly for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region in accordance
with international law and the resolutions of the Security Council.
fortieth anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war reminds us, statehood for Palestinians,
security for Israelis and peace in the region cannot be achieved by force. An
end to the occupation and a political solution to the conflict is the only way
forward -- for Israelis, Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese and the wider region.
This will only be achieved through negotiations to bring about an end to the occupation,
on the basis of the principle of land for peace, as envisaged in Security Council
resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
HIGH COMMISSIONER CALLS FOR HUMANRIGHTS
FRAMEWORK IN SEARCH FOR LASTING SOLUTION BETWEEN PALESTINIANS AND ISRAELIS
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said: This week marks
forty years of occupation of the Palestinian territory, a regime which has led
to wide-ranging and serious violations of the human rights of the Palestinian
people, first and foremost among them the right to self-determination. The occupation
must give way to a lasting political solution allowing both the Palestinian and
Israeli peoples to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized
In the long-standing search for this solution, however, human
rights have for too long taken a back seat. It need not and must not be so. In
fact, the protection afforded by international law is most vital in situations
of conflict and volatility.
Both flaring crises and longer term resolution
of the conflict must be addressed within a framework of international human rights
and humanitarian law. This includes the relevant obligations as re-affirmed in
July 2004 in the International Court of Justice's Advisory Opinion on the Legal
Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The right to life continues to be violated within a general climate of impunity
in the region. Whether through extrajudicial executions or indiscriminate artillery
attacks carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces, or internal Palestinian violence,
or indiscriminate Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians, the right to life
has been stripped of its fundamental value. What needs to be urgently and concretely
addressed is the paramount obligation to ensure protection of civilians in all
circumstances. This also means ensuring appropriate redress in situations where
such protection has failed.
Furthermore, greater efforts must be made to
counter a growing sense of disempowerment among Palestinians throughout the occupied
territory. Principal among these, immediate steps can and should be taken to remove
obstacles, including settlements, impeding Palestinians' right to freedom of movement:
within the West Bank in particular, including Jerusalem, but also between the
West Bank and Gaza Strip. This right is seriously compromised and has severely
curtailed Palestinians' exercise of a wide range of other human rights, including
health, education, work and family life. The plight and rights of those imprisoned,
captured or otherwise detained - particularly children - should also be urgently
The international community has a moral and legal obligation
to ensure that international human rights and humanitarian law is fully implemented
by all in efforts towards a lasting solution. Achieving the highest possible level
of respect for human rights in the region is an end in itself. Significantly,
however, it can also contribute to building greater confidence among the parties
and facilitate the search for a lasting solution. The human rights of Palestinians
and Israelis cannot be subject to negotiation or compromise.
Report by Secretary-General
Ban Ki-Moon to Security Council 1 June 2007
Following South Africa's request
that the Secretary-General brief the Security Council before and after Quartet
meetings, the Secretary-General gave a detailed briefing to the Council on the
Quartet meeting held on 30 May 2007.
This was the first time that the Secretary-General
has come before the Council to explain the decision of the Quartet of which the
UN is the Convener. South Africa welcomed the briefing by the Secretary-Genearl
and expressed the hope that Quartet meetings would be preceded by briefings to
the Security Council as well.
In the consultations South Africa expressed
regret that the Statement of the Quartet was "unbalanced" in that it
did not equally condemn the violence perpetrated by Palestinian radicals and the
Israeli Defence Forces.
South Africa maintains that the Arab Peace Initiative
endorsed by the Arab League Summit at its Riyadh earlier in the year remains a
suitable basis for the resumption of the Middle East Peace Process.
by the Secretary-General
The situation in the Middle East remains volatile
and tense, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned the Security Council on Friday
1 June 2007, with fresh clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza
Strip and the resumption of fighting at a Palestinian refugee camp in northern
The Quartet, which comprises the UN, the European Union, Russia
and the United States, decided to meet at an undetermined location in the Middle
East on 26 June or the day after to continue the momentum of international peace
efforts, Mr. Ban's spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters.
members will meet with Israelis and Palestinians and will then hold a separate
meeting with members of the Arab League to follow up on the Arab Peace Initiative,
Ms. Montas added.
Quartet Statement: 30 May 2007
Principals -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Representative
for European Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, German Foreign Minister
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and European Commissioner for External Relations Benita
Ferrero-Waldner - met today in Berlin to discuss the situation in the Middle East.
The Quartet expressed its deep concern over recent factional violence in
Gaza. It called for all Palestinians to immediately renounce all acts of violence
and respect the ceasefire. It called upon the Palestinian Authority government,
in cooperation with President Abbas and regional actors, to do everything necessary
to restore law and order, including the release of kidnapped BBC journalist Alan
The Quartet strongly condemned the continued firing of Qassam
rockets into Southern Israel as well as the buildup of arms by Hamas and other
terrorist groups in Gaza. It endorsed PA President Abbas' call for an immediate
end to such violence, and called upon all elements of the PA government and all
Palestinian groups to cooperate with President Abbas to that end. The Quartet
called for the immediate and unconditional release of Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit.
The Quartet urged Israel to exercise restraint to ensure that its security operations
avoid civilian casualties or damage to civilian infrastructure. It noted that
the detention of elected members of the Palestinian government and legislature
raises particular concerns and called for them to be released. The Quartet noted
its support for the May 30 th Security Council Press Statement on the breakdown
of the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
The Quartet welcomed continued dialogue
between Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas, including bilateral summits,
and expressed support for U.S. efforts to effect progress on security and movement
and access issues. The Quartet agreed that movement and access are essential and
in this regard called on both parties to implement fully the Movement and Access
Agreement of 15 November 2005. The Quartet urged the parties to work positively
and constructively in order to build confidence and to create an environment conducive
to progress on the political horizon for Palestinian statehood, consistent with
the Roadmap and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, which should also be
addressed in these bilateral discussions. Palestinians must know that their state
will be viable, and Israelis must know a future state of Palestine will be a source
of security, not a threat.
The Quartet commended the excellent work of
the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) and endorsed its extension for three
months from July until September 2007. It called on donors to follow through on
past pledges of support. The Quartet noted that the resumption of transfers of
tax and customs revenues collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority
would have a significant impact on the Palestinian economy. The Quartet encouraged
Israel and the Palestinian Authority to consider resumption of such transfers
via the Temporary International Mechanism to improve the economic and humanitarian
conditions in the West Bank and Gaza. In light of increased regional support for
the Palestinians, the Quartet agreed to review where additional donor assistance
should be focused, with particular consideration for infrastructure and development
programmes that can directly improve the daily lives of Palestinians. The Quartet
invited concrete proposals from the parties on specific international support
that could be useful at this stage.
The Quartet welcomed the extension
of the EU Border Assistance Mission at Rafah (EU-BAM). It reiterated the importance
of resuming normal operations at the Rafah crossing. Taking note of the continuing
threat to Israeli and Palestinian security posed by smuggling, the Quartet welcomed
progress in the Quadrilateral Security Committee and called for greater efforts
by all parties to improve security along the Egypt-Gaza border.
welcomed the re-affirmation of the Arab Peace Initiative, noting that the initiative
is recognized in the Roadmap as a vital element of international efforts to advance
regional peace. The Arab Peace Initiative provides a welcome regional political
horizon for Israel , complementing the efforts of the Quartet and of the parties
themselves to advance towards negotiated, comprehensive, just and lasting peace.
The Quartet noted its positive meeting with members of the Arab League in Sharm
al-Sheikh on May 4, and looked forward to continued engagement with the Arab states.
It welcomed the intention of the Arab League to engage Israel on the initiative,
and Israeli receptiveness to such engagement. Recalling elements of the April
18 decision by the Arab League Follow-up Committee, the Quartet urged all involved
to demonstrate their seriousness and commitment to making peace. In that context,
the Quartet reiterated the need for a Palestinian Government committed to nonviolence,
recognition of Israel , and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations,
including the Roadmap, and reaffirmed its willingness to support such a government.
The Quartet encouraged continued and expanded Arab contacts with Israel, and Israeli
action to address concerns raised in the April 18 Arab League decision, including
a cessation of settlement expansion and the removal of illegal outposts, as called
for in the Roadmap.
Looking ahead, the Quartet discussed a calendar for
the coming months to support and encourage progress on the bilateral and regional
tracks. The Quartet principals agreed to meet in the region in June with the Israelis
and Palestinians to review progress and discuss the way forward. The Quartet also
agreed to meet in the region with members of the Arab League to follow up on the
Arab Peace Initiative and efforts to advance the regional track. Principals instructed
the envoys to meet beforehand to follow up and explore options for the way forward.
Humanitarian Aid for Palestinians
The UN Agency for Palestinian
Refugees (UNRWA) has launched a global appeal for US$12.7 million in an effort
to raise funds to meet the humanitarian needs of more than 27,000 Palestinians
displaced from the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon.
20 May the Lebanese army has laid siege to the camp after Islamist militants from
a relatively unknown group called Fatah al-Islam killed dozens of its soldiers.
The army has intensified its bombardment of the camp since 1 June, describing
its actions as the "beginning of the end".
Richard Cook, UNRWA's
director in Lebanon, said the $12.7m was an assessment of the cost of delivering
assistance to the displaced over the coming 90 days. He highlighted the "unsustainable"
situation in neighbouring Beddawi camp, 10km from Nahr al-Bared, where over 20,000
people have fled.
The appeal includes plans for food aid, shelter, emergency
health, water and sanitation, security, and provisions to enable refugee pupils
affected by the crisis to sit public exams.
"The overall objective
of the appeal is to meet the immediate life-saving needs of the displaced refugees
and to provide immediate and short-term support to ensure a safe return to Nahr
al-Bared camp as soon as circumstances allow," Cook told media at UNRWA headquarters
Search for new refugee site
The UNRWA director
confirmed the agency was looking for free land with adequate sanitation facilities
on which to erect temporary accommodation to ease the massive overcrowding in
Beddawi, where the population of the camp has more than doubled since the start
of the crisis.
"It is a very sensitive issue for the refugees. Clearly
many question, 'Is this the start of another camp?' and so we have to be very
careful," Cook told IRIN. "I take this opportunity to confirm UNRWA
has no intention of moving the displaced Palestinians into temporary accommodation
other than for their own well-being for a temporary period until they can return
to Nahr al-Bared."
UNRWA has been unable to enter Nahr al-Bared camp
since 22 May when its aid convoy came under attack.
The ICRC has also been
unable to deliver vital supplies of food and water into the camp, where up to
8,000 people remain caught in the fighting, since last Thursday. The camp has
been without mains electricity since 20 May.
The Palestine Red Crescent
(PRC) on Sunday evacuated 19 people from Nahr al-Bared, including one wounded,
11 women, two children and two elderly. Today the PRC evacuated at least nine
people, one wounded and the rest women, children and the elderly.
Question: Deputy Minister Pahad, there has been
a suggestion that in the new Climate Change Initiative, South Africa is one of
the countries who will be asked to curb greenhouse gas emissions although it was
not asked to do so in the Kyoto Agreement. What is the view of the South African
government in this regard?
Answer: This is in the ambit of the Department
of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. As far as I know, Minister van Schalkwyk
is studying news reports. We are not aware of any formal communication with the
government of South Africa in this regard.
We are obviously very concerned
about the climate change issue. As I said earlier, Africa will suffer most decisively
if we do not get other countries, especially the developed countries to act positively
in this regard. And the more successful economies viz. China, South Africa, India,
and Brazil will also have to see how we can positively contribute to this matter.
Deputy Minister, does the South African government believe in asymmetric climate
change deals - ie. should the developed countries be making greater concessions?
I think Minister van Schalkwyk should say more on this matter. We are all in a
state of development, the developed countries are already developed. We should
have, and while we totally agree on the need for an international agreement on
the curbing of green house gases and as signatories to the Kyoto Protocol, the
developed countries have to take the greater initiatives in this matter. This
does not mean that we will renege on our own responsibilities in this matter.
The situation demands that the developed countries must move faster and quicker
and I believe that most of us, especially the +5 will show our commitment to meet
the target dates.
We cannot however be on the same footing as the developed
Question: Deputy Minister, there has been talk of a meeting
between Zanu-PF and the MDC in South Africa next week. Can you comment on this?
I think we have made it very clear that we are in the pre-negotiation facilitation
phase. We have asked all parties to not do the preparatory work through the media
since this makes it more difficult. Until there is a decision to officially indicate
what meetings are planned and when, I will not be able to comment on any reports
that have already appeared.
Question: Deputy Minister, can you comment
on how long you expect the pre-negotiation phase to last?
I cannot indicate a time frame but we must obviously move decisively since the
elections have already been scheduled for 2008. It is vital that there must be
movement since the economic situation continues to deteriorate, the general tensions
continue to exacerbate. It is very difficult but I must say that the Zimbabweans
themselves must understand the urgency of the matter and therefore act more decisively
to bring an end to the facilitation phase so that all parties can be convinced
that the conditions are free and fair for the elections to take place.
Deputy Minister, are you suggesting that some elements of the Zimbabwean society
are not convinced of the need to act decisively to resolve this matter?
No, this is not at all what I am suggesting. We have had no indication of that
any of the parties is unwilling to move with the same sense of urgency for which
I am asking.
We must be able to co-ordinate our own programmes as the Facilitation
with those of other roleplayers.
Question: Deputy Minister, Lord
Triesman in Britain earlier this week said that the British government will give
President Mbeki's Facilitation attempt until August to yield results. Are you
able to comment on this?
Answer: I have seen media reports in this
regard. However, I am not sure of any particular deadline that has been imposed,
although it would be wonderful if we could have some decisive movement by August
I must also say that Lord Triesman does not have the mandate to impose
any such deadlines since South Africa is acting under a SADC mandate.
Deputy Minister, has the resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis become a priority
for the South African government?
Answer: Yes, there has been a
decision that this matter be prioritized and following the conclusion of all budget
votes in Parliament, the Facilitation team will have to clear their diaries if
necessary to work on this matter.
Question: Deputy Minister, do you
think that Lord Triesman's comments are indicative of the UK foreign policy?
I will respond to Lord Triesman when I have received the full text of his speech.
by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152