International Relations, Peace and Security (IRPS) Cluster
29 Aug 2008
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Aziz Pahad, gave a briefing on 29 August 2008 (see Appendix). The topics covered were: host Venezuelan President on historic state visit / Sudan / Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – (Apex Priority 22) / Contribution to the stabilisation of Somalia / Burundi peace process / Zimbabwe / Extraordinary Summit of the Organ on political developments in the Republic of Zimbabwe / Opening of the Parliament of Zimbabwe / Socio-economic trends and Humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe / South Africa's role in Zimbabwe /Reports that talks will resume today / Legislative elections in Angola, 5 to 6 September 2008 / Western Sahara / Strengthen the African Union and its structures / Key outcomes of the Summit of the AU Assembly include:
The Union Government Process and Decision on economic integration / Outcomes of 28th Ordinary SADC Summit & Council of Ministers Meetings, 14-17/08/08 and Highlights / Mbeki in his capacity as Chair of SADC / Overview of first South Africa-EU Summit & 7th SA-EU Ministerial Troika meetings 25 July 2008 in France / Review of IBSA Fund Facility for Hunger and Poverty Alleviation / 15th Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Tehran, 27 to 30 July 2008 / Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial on Iran's Nuclear Issue / NAM Ministerial on International Law / Turkey-Africa Summit, Istanbul, 18-21 August 2008.
Question: Minister what is your response to the announcement by Robert Mugabe that he is going to form a cabinet and that borne out by the Herald newspaper and by Bright Mutonga the ZANU PF spokesman. Do you believe this would seriously jeopardise the mediation efforts of President Mbeki?
Answer: The biggest challenge we have is to finalise the outstanding issues. I think the talks that will start today; you've already seen it reported that the chief negotiator for the MDC Tsvangirai has already sent in a letter of protest to President Mbeki on this issue. You also would have seen the report that the Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Salomao, is reported to have said that the regional body gave Mugabe the powers only to convene parliament, as reflected in the SADC Communiqué issued after the Summit.
It is clear that the Secretary General's interpretation seems to be that we should really concentrate on finalising the outstanding issues and he seems to think that the SADC Communiqué only allowed for a parliament to be held. By implication he seems to be hinting, according to the newspaper reports, that there is no mandate to form a new government without consensus of all three players.
Question: There has been speculation, particularly in the media, that these outstanding issues that you refer to refer directly to the question of the executive power. Could you share some light on some possible structure that could address this issue in order to provide for an effective dealing with this matter?
Answer: As I've said previously the facilitation is being carried out by Minister Mufamadi. We are not fully privy to what the outstanding issues are. But if you've been reading the media carefully, it's clear that, at least some of the media claim to have access to those leaked documents which have hinted at two or three issues: what are the actual powers of the president? What are the actual powers of the prime minister? Who chairs cabinet? On what basis are cabinet ministers chosen? Does parliament choose the prime minister or does the president choose the prime minister?
These are some of the issues that the papers have referred to as they obtained from leaked documents. We at Foreign Affairs are not privy to the documents that they are referring to. But it is clear from the press reports that these are the issues they say outstanding.
I can only stress that SADC as a whole were of the opinion that the documents that were given to them on the basis of all previous discussions gave an excellent opportunity and foundation for finalising these negotiations and that it is in the interests of the Zimbabweans now to really move forward, to really do what SADC has called for which is the finalisation of outstanding issues.
Question: You indicated a dire situation developing in
Answer: I cannot comment on whether he is going to go ahead. I can only say that we've been told that all negotiators are here and that the talks will now carry on what we ended with at the Extraordinary Organ.
All reports are indicating that it is vital for
So the talks are crucial, all talks are crucial in order to find a way forward.
Question: On the possibility of President Mugabe forming a government on his own, you were sighting the Secretary General, what is the position from the South African Government's point of view? Does the South African government feel that such a move would derail the mediation efforts?
Answer: Not being privy to the discussions that took place at the extraordinary summit, I'm unable to comment on that. It is Minister Mufamadi who must comment on that issue. It is clear from what the Secretary General has said that the Executive Secretary seems to be different.
Question: Could you explain to me how SADC reached the decision that it's ok to go ahead with the reconvening of parliament when the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed clearly states that parliament should be reconvened by consensus.
Answer: SADC came to the decision, and I can only interpret from the communiqué. They had three days of discussions, all the members of the executive as well as all the role players in
We do hope that sooner than later Facilitation will make the documents available to all of us to be privy to them. It is clear that the Heads of State and the Foreign Ministers who went through the documents were quite convinced that it was a basis for a solution in the interest of all Zimbabweans in the transitional phase. What the actual details were, I'm not aware.
Question: Is it only the MDC group that is here or is ZANU PF also here? The state media is reporting that Minister Chinamasa is saying that there is a deal on the table and that they don't need to negotiate any further. Can you confirm whether it is only the MDC that is here or whether ZANU PF will also participate? Are the talks just for today or will they take place through the weekend?
Answer: From what I was told all the relevant role-players are in
Question: For the sake of clarity, is the mediation that is taking place only scheduled for one day, that is only this Friday or are you saying that it is going to continue over the weekend?
Answer: We have not been given a time limit or deadline. I am assuming it will continue until all parties feel they have covered sufficient ground
Question: Is President Mbeki facilitating today's talks?
Answer: Firstly we do not know. The Department of Foreign Affairs is not aware whether President Mbeki will participate. I assume that if it necessary for him to be brought in then he is willing to take part, but we are not aware whether he is starting with the talks or not – I think it would be good if you spoke to his spokesperson.
Question: What role did Foreign Affairs play in the release of the two South Africans that have arrived from
Answer: From the day we were informed that the two South Africans had been arrested in
This again highlights one of the problems that we have been saying that in the fight against terrorism, many people's names are coming onto lists that are not UN lists but some of the big powers are creating their own lists and you get South African after South African on these lists now. Previously it was only in the
It is clear that this time something has happened that their names appeared on some list and they were detained. But as soon as we were able to give them sufficient information about our own understanding, both at Foreign Affairs and Intelligence level, then the only way forward had been to release them. We hope that we are able to try to tackle these lists now more effectively. We have had this with Professor Habib and others and many have been kicked out of the UAE and not allowed to even transit because they had been on some list.
The problem is that our enquiries about these lists are not getting any success because governments are telling us that this is a matter of national security and they cannot tell us what basis they put people on the list – we cannot verify any of these issues. This is why, if you will recall, we challenged them in the UN Security Council when they put South Africans on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) list, and we have managed to keep those off the UNSC list until we get further information; giving us accurate information about the allegations.
I think that like any government we are very wary of taking information that is not verified because now we have learnt the hard way that there is a lot of misinformation as we continue to get more and more involved in the anti-terrorist world.
We are totally committed to fighting terrorism. In every meeting, including the SADC meeting; the AU meeting; the IBSA meeting; our bilateral meetings with India, and our meetings with the EU, terrorism is always on the agenda and we have totally committed ourselves to fight terrorism both at home and anywhere in cooperation – but I want to stress that we want some of our other partners to be more upfront and transparent with us.
We do not expect them to go to the media all the time, but if they have information, to share this information with us so that we can either verify or challenge the information they give us. I think the Ugandan experience is a good lesson in us trying to convince other countries in
So we have worked very well on this matter; we have had good cooperation from the Ugandans and we are now happy that the two have been released.
Question: Does the Department of Foreign Affairs have any comment regarding the nomination of Barack Obama as the candidate for the Democrats?
Answer: We have noted that the Democratic Convention has endorsed Barack Obama as the Presidential candidate; we look forward to a very robust Presidential campaign and we wish it all the success and all the best. It is up to the American people. They will deserve the President they choose.
Question: Deputy Minister you mentioned that we need a political solution to the
Answer: We have always expressed our concern about the humanitarian situation in
The World Food Organisation and the World Health Organisation are giving quite sn increased number of people who are going to be in need of aid in the next coming period. So clearly the situation demands action by all the parties concerned.
Question: What reasons were given by the Ugandan authorities as to why these two guys were put on the list?
Answer: We are now waiting through the Diplomatic channel both through the intelligence services and Foreign Affairs for us to be given reasons – they won't give them to us over the telephone until there is a Note Verbal to us and we are awaiting that to really assess that, because it will help us then to get a better handle on why is it that so many South Africans are finding themselves on these lists and most of them, if not all, are proven to be quite innocent. We are waiting for the Note Verbal on that matter.
International Relations, Peace and Security (IRPS) Cluster media briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad
29 August 2008
President Thabo Mbeki extends condolences on the death of President Levy Mwanawasa
Let me again reiterate the heartfelt condolences of President Thabo Mbeki on behalf of the government and people of South Africa, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region and on his own behalf to the government and people of Zambia on the death of President Levy Mwanawasa.
In this regard, President Mbeki said "the government and people of South Africa and indeed the entire SADC region are deeply saddened to learn of the untimely death of our brother and leader, and recent Chairperson of SADC, President Levy Mwanawasa," said President Mbeki.
"Coming in the wake of the recently concluded SADC Summit held in
"In memory of this African patriot and leader of the Zambian people, we surely must commit ourselves to building upon the foundations he laid during his tenure as the Chairperson of SADC for the deepening of regional economic integration, intensification of regional infrastructure development as well as the restoration and strengthening of regional political unity and cohesion," continued President Mbeki.
"Accordingly, during these difficult moments, we can only but share in the pain and sorrow of the Zambian peoples at the loss of President Mwanawasa. In this regard, our thoughts and prayers necessarily reach out to the entire Zambian nation and in particular members of the bereaved family.
"The people of South Africa and indeed the entire SADC region, accordingly extend their heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Zambia and to his widow Maureen Mwanawasa and the children." concluded President Mbeki
Condolences on the passing of Mr January Masilela
I would also like to take this opportunity to add the department's heartfelt condolences to those of the government and the people of South Africa to the family of Secretary of Defence, January Masilela, who passed away in a car accident early on Sunday.
Mr Masilela contributed towards the liberation of our country and was a loyal servant of the people and government of
He joined the Department of Defence in December 1999 and has served his office with loyalty and dedication until his untimely death. As the Head of the Department of Defence, he has played an important role in the signing of various international agreements.
Mr Masilela was born in
On returning from exile he held the following senior positions: 1994 to 1997, MEC for Local Government in
President Thabo Mbeki to host Venezuelan President on historic state visit
South African President Thabo Mbeki will on Tuesday, 2 September 2008, host his Venezuelan counterpart President Hugo Chavez for bilateral political, economic and trade discussions at the Union Buildings during his first State Visit to South Africa scheduled from Tuesday, 2 September 2008 to Wednesday, 3 September 2008.
President Thabo Mbeki will host President Chavez for discussions within the context of
Bilateral relations between the two countries will be reviewed against this background. Discussions would focus on opportunities that exist in the areas of Energy, Mining, Trade and the Armament Industry. In addition, areas for possible future engagements with
Accordingly, issues on the agenda of discussions between Presidents Mbeki and Chavez on Tuesday, 2 September 2008, are expected to include, among others:
* The status of bilateral political, economic and trade relations between the two countries and indeed between Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Mercosaur.
* The strengthening and consolidation of South-South relations through, among others, co-operation in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the G77 +
* A briefing on developments in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean including conflict resolution and peacekeeping in
* Preparations for the forthcoming inaugural
* The second Africa-South American Community of Nations Summit to be hosted by
* Other issues of mutual interest including the comprehensive reform of the United Nations Security Council and the global financial architecture.
Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Hugo Chavez will, on conclusion of discussions sign the Framework Agreement on Co-operation between
Bilateral Economic Relations
The July 2008 visit by the Minister of Minerals and Energy to Venezuela paved the way for closer energy co-operation with that country with Venezuela keen to explore South Africa's gas-to-liquid technology.
South African (
The major export products were machinery and mechanical appliances, base metals and chemicals.
Contribute towards post conflict reconstruction and development in Africa (PCRD)
On 7 July 2008, the Sudanese Election Act was passed by Parliament after the signatories to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) agreed on the contentious issues that had delayed the passing of the Act. This paves the way for the Parties to begin preparations for the elections to be held in July 2009 as mandated in the CPA.
Following the outbreak of violence in Abyei that led to the displacement of over 50 000 people and the destruction of Abyei town and the looting of properties of civilians, the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the National Congress Party (NCP) signed the "Roadmap for Return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and implementation of Abyei Protocol" on 8 June 2008.
On 18 June a 640 stronghold battalion of SPLA troops was deployed to form a new battalion as agreed in the Roadmap. This joint force will be the sole military force in the Abyei region. The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) will also enjoy free movement and access to both the north and the south of Abyei. This will pave the way for the return of the IDPs.
The Darfur Peace Process is in a process of being revived, following the appointment of the Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso, Mr Djibril Bassole, as the new United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) joint chief mediator for
Mr Bassole's appointment has been welcomed by the Darfur rebel leader Abdel Wahid El Nur, who has urged Bassole to break the deadlock of the peace process by working to convince
The project will be entering its third phase during September 2008. The target group for phase three will focus on the leadership of
The Department of Defence has deployed personnel as part of the AU-UN Hybrid Mission in the
The International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor has requested a warrant of arrest against the President of the
On 21 July 2008, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) took a decision to request the United Nations (UN) to invoke Article 16 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to defer the indictment of the President of the
While not condoning impunity, the Commission is of the view that prosecution in the current circumstances may not be in the best interest of the victims and justice. Accordingly, the search for justice should be pursued in a way that does not impede or jeopardise efforts aimed at finding a lasting solution to the conflict in the
The Commission also urged the GOS to take immediate and concrete steps to investigate human rights violation in Darfur and bring into justice perpetrators, and to keep the AU fully and continuously informed of progress made in addressing the unfortunate situation in the western region of the
The implementation of projects in the DRC remains the substance of the work of the BNC, focusing on the development of the DRC. A detailed report on the progress with respect to implementation of this Apex priority was presented to the July 2008 Cabinet Lekgotla.
Thus far the DRC has made good progress in the reconstruction of the country and presents real opportunities for intraregional economic co-operation, foreign direct investment (FDI) and sustained growth and development. Cycles of conflict have undermined foreign-investor confidence.
Clashes have erupted between fighters loyal to rebel leader Laurent Nkunda and the army in the east of the DRC, the UN says. Both sides have blamed each other for starting the fighting, which lasted several hours. "They are mutually claiming the other side started it. At the moment it is very difficult to confirm who has started it", UN Mission spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jean Paul Dietrich told the BBC.
It is the heaviest fighting in the east since a January peace deal. Lt-Col Dietrich said the UN believed that Mr Nkunda a renegade general was trying to expand the rebels' zone of influence. Reports earlier this month indicated that Gen Nkunda was touring his area, strengthening his defences and recruiting fresh forces. The UN has 17 000 peacekeepers in Democratic Republic Congo (DRC).
Contribute to the stabilisation of Somalia
Under the aegis of the United Nations, on 9 June 2008 the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the
* A 90-day renewable cessation of hostilities, starting within 30 days.
* The deployment within 120 days of a Council-authorised "international stabilisation force" excluding neighbouring countries, and Ethiopian withdrawal "after the deployment of a sufficient number of UN forces."
* A statement by the ARS group condemning violence and disassociating itself from recalcitrant groups.
* Pledges to ensure unhindered humanitarian access and Assistance.
* AUN-chaired Joint Security Committee to oversee implementation.
* AUN-chaired high-level committee to follow-up on political co-operation between the parties and justice and reconciliation, and a related conference by 30 July 2008.
Despite the signing of this agreement, the political, security and humanitarian situation in Somali have not improved. Insurgencies continue in and around
In addition, the gap between critical needs, particularly in and around
The Medicins Sans Frontieres/Doctors without Borders (MSF) has reported that a hunger crisis (famine) has already begun in
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations estimate that some 2,5 million Somalis now rely on humanitarian assistance.
In a bid to resuscitate
On 18 August 2008 the Facilitator to the Burundi Peace Process, Minister Charles Nqakula, and Ambassador Mamabolo met with both President Nkurunziza and Chairman of the Palipehutu-FNL Mr Agathon Rwasa respectively. Ambassador Bah, Special Representative of the African Union was also in attendance.
The Facilitator reminded both parties of the deadline of 31 December 2008 and expressed doubt regarding a second renewal of the mandate. The facilitator emphasised that his role was not to lead discussions but to facilitate and in this regard requested the two parties to stop talking past each other but to talk directly to each other.
The facilitator referred to the recent accusations and counter-accusations that he has received from both parties and said that this did not bode well for the peace process and asked them to recommit themselves to the letter and spirit of the Cease Fire Agreement.
The Facilitator emphasised that the two parties need to own the peace process and thus he made the following requests to the parties:
* Parties to start meeting regularly-twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays;
* Parties expected to brief the Political Directorate on matters discussed every Thursday.
* Two Task Teams to be formed with one comprising the principals and another one which will be technical in nature to take further the discussions and implement recommendations made by the former.
* Parties to make a list of all the matters that have been discussed and agreed upon, as well as a list of those issues that have not been resolved.
* Unresolved issues needed to be forwarded to the Political Directorate for deliberation.
The Facilitator again went to
Latest political developments
The issue of
Communiqué of the Extraordinary Summit of the Organ
1 The Extraordinary Summit of the Organ of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was held in Sandton,
2 The Extraordinary Summit of the Organ was attended by the following Heads of State and Government:
Angola: H.E. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos
Democratic Republic Congo (DRC): President Joseph Kabila
Lesotho: Deputy Prime Minister Mr Lesao Lehohla
Madagascar: President Marc Ravalomanana
Malawi: President Bingu wa Mutharika
Mauritius: Dr the Hon Prime Minister, Navichandra Ramgoolam, GCSK
Mozambique: President Armando Emilio Guebuza
Namibia: President Hifikepunye Pohamba
Seychelles: President James Alix Michel
South Africa: President Thabo Mbeki
Swaziland: H.M. King Mswati III
United Republic: President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwetwe of Tanzania
Zimbabwe: President Robert Gabriel Mugabe
Zambia: Honourable Kabinga J. Pande, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Special Representative of Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC
Botswana: Hon. Pandu Skelemani, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.
3 The Extraordinary Summit of the Organ considered the political developments in the Republic of Zimbabwe:
* Recalled the Resolutions adopted in Dar Es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania on 29 March 2007 and in Sharm El Sheik on 30 June to 2 July 2008 on the framework of dealing with the Political Situation in Zimbabwe, which call upon the parties to form an all inclusive Government.
* Acknowledged the efforts made by the parties so far in implementing the SADC and AU resolutions.
* Commended the parties for their commitment to the dialogue in implementing the SADC and AU resolutions on resolving the Political Situation in
* Commended the Facilitator, President Thabo Mbeki for his efforts and encouraged him to continue in his mediation efforts and fully support his work.
* Expressed strong opinion that documents as contained in the Facilitator's Report reflect the framework, spirit and purpose of the SADC and AU Resolutions. In view of that, they are a good basis for a global agreement.
* Encouraged and appealed to the parties to sign any outstanding agreements and conclude the negotiations as a matter of urgency to restore political stability in
* Recognised that while negotiations are continuing, it may be necessary to convene Parliament to give effect to the will of the people as expressed in the Parliamentary elections held on 29 March 2008.
* Remains committed to support the parties as they implement the agreement.
17 August 2008
2. Opening of the Parliament of Zimbabwe
The swearing-in of the Members of Parliament-elect and the subsequent election, by secret ballot, of the leaders of the two chambers of Parliament took place on 25 August. The Senate (Upper House) has 93 seats, 60 of which are directly elected. The remaining 13 are appointed by the President. The House of Assembly (Lower House) has 210 seats. MDC-T has 100 MPs in the House of Assembly, ZANU-PF has 99, MDC-M has 10 MPs and one Independent.
Mr Lovemore Moyo of MDC-T won the contest for the position of Speaker of the House of Assembly with 110 votes. Mr Paul Themba Nyathi of MDC-M received 98 votes. ZANU-PF did not field a candidate but threw its weight behind the Mutambara faction's candidate. Ms Nomalanga Khumalo of the MDC-M took the Deputy Speaker post uncontested.
On 24 August, President Mugabe announced the appointment of eight provincial Governors and three Senators. ZANU-PF holds 30 seats in the Senate, MDC-T has 24 and MDC-M has six seats. The 18 Chiefs, who also now sit in the Senate, have traditionally supported ZANU-PF. This gives ZANU-PF a majority in the upper house of Parliament. Ms Edna Madzongwe of ZANU-PF beat the MDC-M candidate to become President of the Senate. Mr Naison Ndlovu, also of ZANU-PF, beat Ms Sekai Holland of the MDC-T to become Deputy President of the Senate.
In terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, if the President is absent or incapacitated, the Vice-President becomes the Acting President of the country. In the absence of the President or the two Vice-Presidents, the President of the Senate then assumes that role.
Angeline Masuku: Matabeleland South
Thokozile Mathuthu: Matabeleland North
Martin Dinha: Mashonaland Central
Aeneas Chigwedere: Mashonaland East
Christopher Mushowe: Manicaland
Faber Chidarikire: Mashonaland West
Governors for Masvingo and
3. Socio-economic trends
The official annual inflation rate reached 11,2 million percent in August 2008. However, independent analysts have estimated that actual inflation is closer to 50 million percent, based on prices of a basket of basic foodstuffs. The
At the end of July, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) removed 10 zeros [from the currency] in an effort to bring down inflation. From 1 August, Z$10 billion has become Z$1. However, economists predict the zeros will return very soon as the latest measures do not address the causes of the hyperinflation and are not being followed by meaningful reforms, such as addressing the unavailability of foreign currency and low investment in Zimbabwe.
4. Humanitarian situation
The Zimbabwean government suspended the work of all humanitarian organisations on 28 May, after accusing them of engaging in political activities. There was an expectation that this ban would be lifted after the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the rival political parties was signed on 21 July. However, to date this has not happened. Some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) appear to have resumed unofficial operations, but are 'negotiating at field level' for access.
On 18 June, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) published its crop assessment, which forecasts that more than five million Zimbabweans would suffer food insecurity in the next nine months, a million people more than the previous year. The FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) estimates that 2,04 million people in rural and urban areas will be food insecure between July and September 2008, rising to 3,8 million people between October and December, and peaking to about 5,1 million at the height of the hungry season between January and March 2009.
Reports that talks will resume today
The Head of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, reported to have said that all parties had agreed at the SADC Summit "that all
Legislative elections in
A contingent of ten South Africans, including members of Parliament and representatives of civil society, will form part of a SADC Observer Mission in respect of the legislative elections to be held in
In his remarks at this occasion, the Executive Secretary of SADC mentioned that SADC is in
The Observer Mission leader further clarified that his mission would be guided by the Principles and Guidelines of SADC on Elections. He indicated that their involvement would be based only on observation and not participation. By the time of the launch observers from three countries,
The fourteen political parties participating in the forthcoming legislative elections have commenced with their respective political campaigns throughout the country since the beginning of August 2008. It could be expected that the MPLA and UNITA would remain the strongest contestants of the elections. At this stage, no major obstacles regarding the preparations for the elections have been reported. The impression is further that
Negotiations between the
The pronouncement of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General, Mr Peter van Walsum, at the conclusion of the fourth round of negotiations in which he intimated that the referendum option was "unrealistic"
Mr Walsum qualified his statement by pointing out that the political reality was that Morocco is the stronger of the two parties and enjoys the support France and the USA in the Security Council. Therefore, according to Mr Walsum, the solution to the problem should not be based on international law but rather on the Moroccan so called 'autonomy plan'. Mr Walsum's statement is seen to be a significant deviation from the position that regards the issue of the
The President of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Mr Mohamed Abdelaziz, has conveyed in his letter to the United Nations Secretary General (4 August 2008) his contention that through his statements the Special Envoy has disqualified himself from leading any future negotiations between the parties. He went on to state that Polisario would refuse to return for the fifth round of negotiations unless Mr Peter Van Walsum is replaced.
Strengthen the African Union and its structures
Key outcomes of the Summit of the AU Assembly include:
* The decision on the situation in Zimbabwe which includes a call on all parties to the Zimbabwean crisis to, without delay and under the current mediation, resume talks that should lead to a Government of National Unity.
* The resolve, that on the basis of the Report of the Committee of Twelve Heads of State and Government on the Union Government process, the AU Commission should present time bound recommendations regarding acceleration of the Union Government process at the next Assembly session in February 2009.
* The commendation of efforts deployed by various countries and organisations to promote peace, security and stability in
* The decision to have Regional Economic Communities play leading role in Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations.
* The decision to implement the AU Audit Panel recommendations in respect of the AU Commission that are of an administrative and institutional nature with no financial implications.
* The articulation of
* The re-election of Judge B Ngoepe as a judge of the
* The request to Member States to implement their pledge of at least 15% of their national budgets to health in order to adequately address health and development, especially HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.
* The declaration adopted outlining its firm commitment to address the challenges posed by high food prices through the adoption of identified short, medium and long-term measures.
* The declaration adopted on water and sanitation which includes the 2008 Ethekwini Ministerial Declaration on Sanitation in Africa as adopted by the African Ministerial Conference on Water (AMCOW).
The Union Government Process
The AU Assembly considered the report of the first Meeting of the Committee of twelve Heads of State and Government on the Union Government that took place in
This should include recommendations on; time bound implementation mechanisms regarding accelerators and benchmarks; the rationalisation and harmonisation of Regional Economic Communities (RECs); fostering relationships between the Union Government,
Decision on economic integration
The AU Assembly took note of and endorsed the recommendations contained in the report of the Second Conference of African Ministers of Integration held in
These recommendations included inter alia that infrastructure development on the continent should be prioritised; that governance issues as well as peace and security be given the necessary prominence; that the capacities of RECs should be strengthened and that better co-ordination should take place within and among RECs and with the African Union Commission (AUC); that concrete measures such as the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital should be promoted; and that the AUC should co-ordinate Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the EU to support regional and continental integration efforts.
Outcomes of the 28th Ordinary SADC Summit and Council Of Ministers Meetings, 14 to17 August 2008, Sandton
1. The 28th Ordinary SADC Summit took place from 16 to 17 August 2008, in
2. Minister Dlamini Zuma assumed the chairmanship of the SADC Council of Ministers during its session from 14 to 15 August 2008, the latter of which was also attended by South African Ministers of Trade and Industry, Finance, Health and Agriculture. Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry and Finance were also in attendance during the Council.
3. Minister Mpahlwa assumed the chairmanship of the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration which met on 13 August 2008 to finalise its report to
Highlights of the
5. The highlight of the
6. Another significant element of this
7. Another highlight was the signing of the Protocol on Gender and Development by SADC member states. The Protocol calls for far-reaching changes in SADC countries including the repeal of all discriminatory laws; the inclusion of gender equality and equity in national constitutions and adopting the goal of 50% representation of women in political and decision-making structures in SADC countries by 2015. Reports on progress in implementation will be tabled to
10. Another outcome of the Poverty and Development Conference was the establishment of a Ministerial Task Force on Food Security comprising of Ministers of Trade, Agriculture and Finance. The aim of the task Force was to immediately focus on the current food crisis and in so doing, to promote regional collaboration in food security. After consideration of the Task Force's report, the
11. The membership of SADC increased to 15 with the
Overview of first South Africa-EU Summit and seventh SA-EU Ministerial Troika meetings held on 25 July 2008 in
The inaugural South Africa-European Union Summit took place on 25 July 2008 in
The South African delegation was led by President Thabo Mbeki, supported by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Mangena and Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mr van Schalkwyk. On the EU side, in the Troika format, the delegation was led by President Sarkozy – President of the Council of the European Union - and the President of the European Commission - José Manuel Barroso.
They were accompanied by the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel and the following French Ministers: Bernard Kouchner (Foreign Affairs), Jean-Louis Borloo (Ecology, Energy and Sustainable Development) and Alain Joyandet (Secretary of State for Co-operation and Franchophone).
The Heads of State also deliberated on the ongoing Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations between the SADC EPA Group and the EU. They underscored the urgency to bridge the existing differences with a view to reaching an outcome that promotes development and regional integration in
Other regional issues discussed were the peace and security situation in Darfur and
The Presidents also took note of the successful organisation of the "Water Research for Sustainable Development" seminar, which took place the day before the
The Summit was a historic moment in relations between South Africa and the EU as it was the first time that South Africa interacted with the European Union's highest decision makers in a Troika format to discuss issues of common strategic importance, allowing both parties to unlock the full potential of the Strategic Partnership.
Preparations for the third India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA)
In preparation for the third IBSA Summit that will be taking place in
In addition to the government-to-government co-operation and preparations, civil society will once again be participating in the third IBSA Summit.
Review of the IBSA Fund Facility for Hunger and Poverty Alleviation
A meeting between IBSA officials and the UNDP was held in New York on 7 to 8 July 2008, to discuss the fast-tracking of the disbursement of the IBSA Fund Facility for Hunger and Poverty Alleviation.
The following allocations and progress updated were presented:
b) Guinea Bissau: The UNDP notified the Board that, upon an initial contact by the government of India, Central Electronics Limited (CEL), a company based in
c) Lao People's Democratic Republic: The board approved the revised Lao project proposal requesting an IBSA contribution of US$930 000.
15th Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Tehran, 27 to 30 July 2008
Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial on Iran's Nuclear Issue
The South African delegation to the 15th Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement was led by Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
1 The Ministers reaffirmed the basic and inalienable right of all states to develop research, production and use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, without any discrimination and in conformity with their respective legal obligations. Therefore, nothing should be interpreted in a way as inhibiting or restricting the right of states to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes. They furthermore reaffirmed that States' choices and decisions, including those of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear technology and its fuel cycle policies must be respected.
2 The Ministers recognised the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the sole competent authority for verification of the respective safeguards obligations of Member States and stressed that there should be no undue pressure or interference in the Agency's activities, especially its verification process, which would jeopardize the efficiency and credibility of the Agency.
3 The Ministers welcomed the continuing cooperation being extended by the Islamic Republic of Iran to the IAEA including those voluntary CBMs undertaken with a view to resolving all remaining issues, including those as reflected in the latest report of the Director-General of the IAEA on 26 May 2008. They welcomed the fact that the IAEA has been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran as reflected in the Agency's reports since November 2003 and further noted the assessment of the IAEA Director-General in Safeguard Implementation Report (SIR) 2006 that all nuclear material declared by Iran had been accounted for and remains in peaceful activities.
They noted at the same time, that the process for drawing a conclusion with regard to the absence of undeclared material and activities in
4 The Ministers considered the establishment of nuclear-weapons free-zones (NWFZs) as a positive step towards attaining the objective of global nuclear disarmament and reiterated the support for the establishment in the
5 The Ministers strongly believed that all safeguards and verification issues, including those of
NAM Ministerial on International Law
6 The Ministers reaffirmed and underscored the continued relevance and validity of the Movement's principled positions concerning international law, as follows:
The Ministers re-emphasised that the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the principles of international law are indispensable in preserving and promoting peace and security, the rule of law, economic development and social progress, and human rights for all. In this context, UN Member States should renew their commitment to defend, preserve and promote the UN Charter and international law, with the aim of making further progress to achieving full respect for international law.
The Ministers remained concern at the unilateral exercise of extra-territorial criminal and civil jurisdiction of national courts not emanating from international treaties and other obligations arising from international law, including international humanitarian law. In this regard, they condemned the enactment of politically motivated laws at the national level directed against other States, and stressed the negative impact of such measures on the rule of international law as well as on international relations, and called for the cessation of all such measures.
* Oppose all attempts to introduce new concepts of international law aimed at internationalising certain elements contained in the so-called extra-territorial laws of certain States through multilateral agreements.
* Endeavour to generate further progress to achieve full respect for international law and, in this regard, commend the role of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in promoting the peaceful settlement of international disputes, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the UN Charter and the Statute of the ICJ.
* Urge the Security Council to make greater use of the ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the UN, as a source of advisory opinions and interpretation of relevant norms of international law, and on controversial issues, further urge the Council to use the ICJ as a source of interpreting relevant international law, and also urge the Council to consider its decisions be reviewed by the ICJ, bearing in mind the need to ensure their adherence to the UN Charter, and international law.
* Invites also the General Assembly, the other organs of the United Nations and the specialized agencies duly authorized, to request advisory opinions of the International Court of Justice on legal questions arising within the scope of their activities.
* The Non-Aligned States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) shall continue to preserve the integrity of the Statute and ensure that the ICC remains impartial and fully independent of political organs of the UN, which should not instruct or impede the functions of the ICC, bearing in mind the relevant provisions of the Rome Statute.
* The Non-Aligned States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC call upon those States, which have not yet done so, to consider ratifying or acceding to the Rome Statute of the ICC.
* Participate actively and consistently in the work of the special working group of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC on the crime of aggression, with a view to achieving an agreed provision thereof for inclusion in the Statute by 2009.
* The Non-Aligned States continued to underscore the necessity of the independence of the ICC in accordance with its judicial nature. They stated that the Security Council's responsibilities under the Charter of the UN should not limit the role of the Court as a judicial body. The Court should be empowered to pronounce on acts of aggression independently, when the states parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC have reached agreement on the definition of the crime of aggression.
* Oppose all actions, in particular through the Security Council, aimed at establishing a process to grant immunity to the staff members of UN peacekeeping operations, which violate the relevant provisions of the Rome Statute of the ICC and damage the credibility and independence of the ICC.
* Call upon the Non-Aligned States Parties to the relevant treaties to work collectively to increase and enhance their representation and coordination in the bodies established through those treaties, and support the candidatures of their experts as a further manifestation of solidarity among them.
NAM Ministerial on the Middle East Peace Process
The Ministers reaffirmed their support for the Middle East peace process based on Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 425, 1397 and 1515, the
The Ministers stressed the need for the advancement and resumption of substantial negotiations between the parties on all tracks of the peace process for the achievement of a comprehensive, just, lasting and peaceful settlement, based on the relevant U.N. resolutions and in accordance with the rules and principles of international law enshrined therein.
In this regard, they reiterated the necessity and urgency of ending the prolonged and unlawful. Israeli occupation of all of the Arab territories occupied since 1967. They further reaffirmed their long-standing position in support of the establishment of the independent State of Palestine in all of the
The Ministers took note of the international conferences held at Annapolis in November 2007 and at Paris in December 2007 and called for serious follow-up and further intense efforts by the international community for the genuine resumption and advancement of the peace process on all tracks towards attainment of a just and comprehensive peace and regional stability. They specifically stressed in the role and responsibilities undertaken by the members of the Quartet and called upon the Quartet to exert serious efforts and actions to support and promote the negotiations between the parties on final status issues, including serious and sincere implementation of the Road Map for a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They also called upon the Security Council to engage the Quartet, considering the Council's Charter authority and responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
The Ministers also reaffirmed their support for the Arab Peace Initiative, which was adopted by the XIV Arab Summit in Beirut in March 2002, and reaffirmed by the 19th Arab summit in Riyadh in March 2007, and welcomed the XX Arab Summit in Damascus in March 2008, which reaffirmed the commitment by all Arab States to the Arab Peace Initiative and stressed that such commitment is subject to adherence by Israel to its obligations under the terms of reference for achieving peace in the region, and called for intensification of efforts in this regard. They urged the Security Council to act upon the Initiative, and on the basis of its own resolutions, towards achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the
The Ministers also condemned
The Ministers stressed that, in addition to violating countless provisions of human rights law, such collective punishment measures by
The Ministers also condemned
They welcomed the establishment of the "United Nations Register of Damage caused by the Construction of the Wall in the
The Ministers reaffirmed their support for the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas and emphasised the importance of maintaining and protecting the national and democratic institutions of the Palestinian Authority, including the Palestinian legislative council which shall constitute a vital foundation for the future independent Palestinian State. The Ministers also called for the speedy restoration of the situation in the Gaza Strip to that which existed prior to the events of June 2007 to pave the way for Palestinian dialogue to achieve national reconciliation and unity, and, in this regard, expressed support for the Yemeni Initiative and called for its implementation.
Turkey-Africa Summit, Istanbul, 18-21 August 2008
South Africa was represented by Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka in the first Turkey-Africa Summit and by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad in the Ministerial Meeting which took place in Istanbul from 18 to 21 August 2008.
The WTO talks and EPA negotiations further demonstrate the necessity for positive assessments of
The Istanbul Declaration, adopted by the Summit, captures and promotes NEPAD and REC programmes, in particular focusing on eight areas of cooperation: developing a concrete manifestation of solidarity and partnership for a common future; inter-governmental cooperation; trade, investment and management of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs); infrastructure, energy and transport; agriculture, agribusiness, rural development, water resources; culture and education, media and communication; and peace and security.
The challenge of course is to find effective implementation mechanisms so that the commitments quickly translate into concrete programmes in the continent.
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