Notes following UN Security Council Briefing by Mr Xolisa Mabhongo, Chief Director: United Nations, Union Buildings, Pretoria, Tuesday 10 June 2008
Visit of UN SECURITY COUNCIL’S COUNTER-TERRORSIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTORATE (CTED) TO SA 2-9 JUNE
A multilateral delegation of anti-terrorism experts visited South Africa from 2 -9 June 2008 to assess South Africa’s national capacity to implement United Nations Security Council resolutions on terrorism and to continue and enhance the dialogue and cooperation between South Africa and multilateral bodies dealing with terrorism.
The visiting delegation was headed by Ambassador Mike Smith, the Executive Director of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), and was comprised of experts from CTED, the United Nations Security Council Monitoring Team on Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), African Union Centre for Research and Study on Terrorism (ACSRT), Commonwealth Secretariat, International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Interpol, World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG).
The delegation held in-depth technical discussions with some 21 national departments and other bodies that work to counter the threat posed by terrorism and other forms of crime. It also conducted site visits to OR Tambo international airport, Durban sea port and the Beitbridge land border with Zimbabwe, as well as to the offices of the South African Police Service, the National Coordinating Bureau of Interpol, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Department of Social Development, the Financial Intelligence Centre and the Human Rights Commission.
CTED has shared its preliminary and confidential conclusions on the visit with us and will present the final report to the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee later this year for approval.
Whilst I am not at liberty to discuss the specific details of this positive and constructive preliminary report with you, I would like to give you a general sense of the outcome of the visit.
The delegation expressed its appreciation for the level of expertise and commitment demonstrated during the on-site discussions. It also took note of the political, social and historical context in which terrorism is addressed in South Africa and in particular the country’s strong commitment to human rights and to addressing all forms of crime, including terrorism, within the framework of national and international law. South Africa is the first country to agree to the inclusion of a human rights expert on a CTED delegation.
The delegation noted that South Africa is party to thirteen universal conventions on terrorism, has national legislation in place and has a proven capacity to prosecute offenders as demonstrated by specific cases discussed during the visit. The delegation was also of the view that whilst the South African authorities exercise vigilance with respect to any potential acts of intolerance and incitement to violence, they are steadfast in their commitment to the constitutional right to freedom of expression. The delegation noted the concerted effort made by government to maintain dialogue with and understand the concerns of many different religions and ethic groups in the country
The South African government is committed to continuously improving its anti-terrorism systems and therefore welcomes the positive contribution made by the CTED delegation. It looks forward to continuing its dialogue with CTED and the other multilateral bodies, in line with its policy that international threats such as terrorism are best dealt with collectively in multilateral fora and in particular at the United Nations.
The UN Security Council will meet on Thursday in closed consultations to consider the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe. The decision followed requests from some members of the Council that it be briefed on Zimbabwe.
UNSC 10 days visit to Africa
The UN Security Council delegation visited Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire and Democratic Republic of Congo from 01 – 10 June 2008. The discussions focused on ways in which peace processes in the various countries could be supported.
Other issues on the agenda in June
The US, as President of the Council for June, has organised a thematic debate on women and peace and security. Minister Dlamini Zuma will travel to New York to take part in this important debate.
The Security Council will also be briefed next week by the Special Envoys of the UN and the AU for Sudan.
There will also be the monthly discussion on the situation in the Middle East.
Questions and Answers
Question: The situation in Zimbabwe, is it correct that we and Russia opposed a wider briefing or we push very hard for it to be narrowed or to be maintained in the humanitarian department, does this mean that there is no change in the consideration of it – in other words it stays with humanitarian matters? Is it still our view that the issue of Zimbabwe should not come before the UNSC and that it does not pose a threat to international peace and security?
Answer: So far the only discussions that have taken place in the UNSC on Zimbabwe have been on the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe. This is obviously because Zimbabwe is not on the agenda of the Security Council, therefore the Security Council would, I think, find it difficult to hold a broader political discussion on the issue of Zimbabwe. There are other avenues in which the issue of Zimbabwe is being addressed. As you know we have had several briefings from the Department of Foreign Affairs by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad on the issues – the engagements that South Africa is doing there, working in the context of the SADC. The Security Council will indeed be focusing on the humanitarian situation.
Question: Is it still our view that Zimbabwe does not pose a threat to international peace and security?
Answer: It is our view that Zimbabwe at the moment does not pose a threat to international peace and security, which is the basic mandate of the Security Council.
MINISTER DLAMINI ZUMA TO MEET FRENCH COUNTERPART IN PARIS TO PREPARE FOR THE SA-EU SUMMIT
Pretoria – South African Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will on Wednesday 11 June 2008 in Paris hold bilateral political and economic discussions with the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner.
Discussions between Minister Dlamini Zuma and Minister Kouchner will take place within the context come within the context of preparations for the forthcoming Inaugural Summit of the SA-EU, scheduled for 25 July in Bordeaux to which President Thabo Mbeki will lead the South African Government delegation.
South Africa’s is one of the few countries which has en established Strategic Partnership with the EU aimed at advancing and strengthening economic relations between South Africana the EU.
During the recent SA-EU Troika Ministerial meeting in Slovenia earlier this month, Ministers welcomed and discussed areas of cooperation being developed under the Joint SA-EU Action Plan, including peace and security cooperation, environment, science and technology, customs, energy, migration as well as transport. Both sides welcomed the progress made in the existing cooperation and policy dialogues and agreed that new areas for structured dialogues would be formalised during the first SA-EU Summit in Bordeaux on 25 July 2008.
Economic Partnership Agreement
Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to continue negotiations with a view to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement on a final SADC EPA with the most inclusive membership that addresses the concerns expressed by both sides and supports regional integration, including with respect to SADC and SACU. The EU recalled that the Interim EPA provides for the completion of negotiations of the full EPA by the end of 2008. South Africa noted that it was not a party to the Interim EPA and therefore was not bound by this timeline. South Africa further informed the EU of the Addis Ababa Declaration of the African Ministers of Trade and Finance of April 2008.
Implementation of the Joint EU-Africa Strategy
Both sides welcomed the adoption of the Joint EU-Africa Strategy and its first Action Plan at the Second EU-Africa Summit held in Lisbon, Portugal, in December 2007, and looked forward to early progress in the implementation of the Africa-EU Partnerships agreed in Lisbon. The importance of effective and concrete implementation of the Joint Strategy and related Action Plan by all stakeholders, including non-state actors, was highlighted as crucial for a successful and mutually beneficial Strategic Partnership between the two continents. It was urged that all outcomes of the Summit should work towards this end. Strong monitoring, evaluation and review mechanisms of the Action Plan should be established as soon as possible to ensure concrete goal-oriented outcomes aimed at achieving the objectives set out in the Action Plan. Lastly, actions undertaken within the Joint Strategy should complement other international development agenda objectives.
UN Charter Chapter VIII issues
Both sides emphasised the importance of strengthening the relationship between the UN Security Council and regional organisations, in particular the African Union, in terms of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. The convening of a high-level Security Council meeting on 16 April 2008, under South Africa’s Presidency, to discuss this theme and specific African conflict situations was noted as an important contribution in this regard.
Both sides welcomed the unanimous adoption of Security Council resolution 1809 (2008). The Parties further welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to set up within three months an AU-UN panel consisting of distinguished persons to consider in-depth the modalities of how to support such peacekeeping operations, in particular start-up funding, equipment and logistics and to consider in-depth lessons from past and current African Union peacekeeping efforts.
Among other issues on the agenda of discussions between Minister Dlamini Zuma and Minister Kouchner include, amongst others:
- The status of bilateral political, economic and trade relations between the two countries;
- An assessment of French policy towards Africa with a view to securing and strengthening French support for the African Agenda, including the promotion of sustainable social and economic development on the continent;
- The forthcoming G-8 Summit to be hosted by Japan in July 2008;
- The reform of institutions of global governance including the United Nations;
- The World Trade Organisation negotiations and the conclusion of the Doha Development Round;
- The situation in the Middle East; and
- Other international issues.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Economic relations between South Africa and France are continuously expanding. France is South Africa’s eighth largest trading partner and an important investor in the South African economy.
Bilateral trade totalled R25 billion in 2007, with the trade balance in France’s favour. South Africa’s exports were mainly minerals, metals and other commodities while imports from France included machinery, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
The SA-French Business Forum has provided an opportunity for South African and French business people to exchange views on doing business in Africa and to explore possible joint partnerships on the continent.
There are about 160 French companies operating in South Africa, including several French multinationals such as Total, Alcatel, Renault, Lafarge, Danone and Peugeot-Citroen.
Cooperation under the auspices of ASGISA and JIPSA
France has committed itself to support ASGISA and JIPSA, through envisaged participation in infrastructure development and in human resources training. The French nuclear company AREVA is currently training South African engineering graduates in project management at post-graduate level. The French-South African Technological Institute for Electronics (F’SATIE), based at the Tshwane University of Technology and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, will train 167 students over the next two years. The Ecole Nationale d’Administration, in association with SAMDI, will offer training programmes to senior South African civil servants.
Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853
Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
10 June 2008