PRESENTATION TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION AU CHAIR, SYRIA AND MALI 8 August 2012 Ambassador JM Matjila
Secretaries-General of the Organisation of African Unity 1963- 2002
African Union (AU) Chairs of the Commission 2002 – to the Present
Campaign for the Position of Chair of the AUC • Since its inception in 1963 to date, the position of Chairperson (Secretary General of the OAU) has been dominated by the West or Central Africa. Only once, in its history that this position was held by Dr Salim A Salim, who hails from East Africa. • On four occasions (Vernon Mwanga of Zambia: 1974, 2002 Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab of Namibia; Ms InongeMbikusitaLewanika of Zambia: 2008 and Dr NkosazanaDlaminiZuma of South Africa: January 2012) Southern Africa put forward a candidate for this position and on all occasions, it was rebuffed in favour of a candidate from either West or Central Africa. • It was during the SADC Summit held in Luanda, Angola, in August 2011 that the candidature of Dr NkosazanaDlaminiZuma was put forward and endorsed by the region as a consensus candidate of the South.
Campaign for the Position of Chair of the AUC (Continued...) • During the January Summit of 2012, SADC Heads of State stood firm in their support for her candidature but other regions, especially the West and some countries in the Central African region opposed the proposal. Again Southern Africa’s bid for Chairperson was rebuffed. • SADC launched a campaign to garner support for the candidature of Dr. N.C. Dlamini Zuma. Three Teams of Ministers were set up to conduct the campaign for the Chairpersonship of the AUC.
Campaign for the Position of Chair of the AUC (Continued.…) • Team 1:Republic of Angola (Assistant Secretary of State for External Relations, Mr Rui Jorge Carneiro Mangueira); Republic of South Africa (Minister for State Security, Dr Siyabonga Cwele; and Namibia (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Namibia, Mr Utoni Nujoma) • The campaign involved the following targeted countries; Cape Verde, Senegal, Gambia, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Gabon, Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville. • Team 2:United Republic of Tanzania: Minister B Membe (Minister of Foreign Affairs); Republic of Mozambique: E. Koloma (Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs); and Republic of South Africa: Minister J. Radebe • The campaign involved the following targeted countries; Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Djibouti, Sudan and South Sudan, Uganda, Somalia and Egypt.
Campaign of for the Position of Chair of the AUC (Continued…) • Team 3: Republic of Zambia: Minister G. Lubinda (Minister of Foreign Affairs); Republic of Zimbabwe: Minister S.S. Mumbengegwi (Minister of Foreign Affairs); and Republic of South Africa: M Nkoana-Mashabane (Minister of International Relations and Cooperation); M. Gigaba Minister of Public Enterprises and O. Bapela (Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation) • The campaign involved the following targeted countries; Guinea –Conakry, Tunisia, Gambia, Saharawi ADR, Libya, Chad, Algeria
Developments at the January 2012 Summit of the African Union • After four rounds of voting took place, neither Dr Jean Ping nor Dr. NC. Dlamini Zuma were able to obtain the requisite two thirds (2/3) majority (36 votes). • A political decision was then taken to extend the Terms of Office of the Members of the Commission for a period of six months with a view to continue the election in July 2012 in violation of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly.
The Ad-Hoc Committee of Eight • It is against this background that the Heads of State and Government decided to “Establish an Ad-hoc Committee of Eight Heads of State and Government composed of one Member State per region with the Chair of the Union, the Republic of Gabon and the Republic of South Africa with the mandate to address the issues relating to the next elections of the members of the Commission” as a matter of priority. • The 1st meeting of the Ad-Hoc Committee of Eight took place on 17 March 2012 in Cotonou, Benin. The meeting was a follow-up from another “informal meeting” that was convened by the Chair to consider the post-election situation (18 February 2012). • While the meeting was largely inconclusive, consensus was reached on the principle of rotation and it was agreed that the Presidents of Gabon and South Africa undertake bilateral consultations in order to reach a consensual solution and report-back to the 2nd meeting of the Ad-Hoc Committee of Eight.
Developments as at the July Summit of the African Union • The voting pattern was as follows: • Round One : Dr. Dlamini Zuma 27-24 Dr. Ping • Round Two : Dr. Dlamini Zuma 29-22 Dr. Ping • Round Three : Dr. Dlamini Zuma 33 -18 Dr .Ping • Final Round won the election with 37 votes, three more than the required 34 votes representing a two-thirds majority. Dr Dlamini Zuma is anticipated to assume the Chairpersonship of the Commission in October 2012.
Developments as at the July Summit of the African Union (Continued...) • As such, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will be the first candidate from Southern Africa to lead the AUC. She has also made history by being the first woman to be at the helm of this prestigious organization. This, of course, took place within the proclaimed AU 2010-2020 Women’s Decade. Her assumption of the AUC Chair, also provides the country with an opportunity to further popularise the AU and its structures. • It should be mentioned that there are significant policy (Secondment) and financial implications incidental to the assumption of the Chair by Minister Dlamini Zuma. This will entail that DIRCO will have to budget for extra money to be used to top-up salaries (allowances) of not only the Chairperson of the AUC but also the staff that will join her at the AUC.
Post Elections necessities • At the AUC there are about twenty (20) posts that are reserved for South Africans that need to be filled as a matter of priority. DIRCO will convene relevant stakeholder to map out a way forward and this issue is receiving the necessary attention.
Addressing perceptions around divisions in the AU • Dr N.C DlaminiZuma was a consensus candidate endorsed by the SADC during its August 2011 Summit in Luanda, Angola. From the onset, she had all leaders of the region supporting her candidature. • Her victory was a victory for women of the continent as the AUC will be led for the first time in its history by a woman, a triumph for gender equality • The issue of rotation was also a strong rallying point for many African leaders because since its inception, the organization (AUC) was led by either a person from West Africa or Central Africa. On 4 occasions, the candidature of Southern Africa was rebuffed. • Dr. DlaminiZuma was magnanimous in her victory and showed humility by praising the work that had been done by her predecessor, Dr. J Ping. She has asked for counsel and requested that his (Dr. Ping) doors be open should she require assistance.
Content of Presentation Introduction -Brief history of Syria - Milestones in the current conflict Current security situation - Armed clashes - Action by opposition factions Multilateral developments - UN-Arab League Special Envoy - UNSC and General Assembly - Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) South African position -On regime change - On sanctions - On processes outside the ambit of the United Nations
Historical Context • Damascus – a city dating back to biblical times – has been a trading hub a the heart of the Middle East, vying with Baghdad and Cairo for domination of the region. • In 1586 Damascus fell to the expanding Ottoman Turkish Empire, becoming a seat of the regional administration until the collapse of the Empire at the end of World War I. • After the war, France acquired a League of Nations mandate over Syria, until the latter received independence in 1946. During 1958-1961 it briefly formed the United Arab Republic with Egypt. • Following its independence, Syria lacked political stability and experienced a series of military coups during its first decades as a sovereign state.
Modern History • In 1970 socialist Baa’th Party member, Hafez al-Assad, belonging to the minority Alawite Shi’ite Muslim community, seized power by coup and brought political stability to the predominantly Sunni country. • Though imposing one-party rule with suppression of decent, the government of Pres Al-Assad took a largely secular approach to religion, allowing minority groups such as Christians to freely practice their faith. • Following the death of Pres Hafez al-Assad in June 2000, his son Bashar Al-Assad inherited the position as Head of State in a one-candidate referendum – similarly re-elected in May 2007. • In March 2011, protests erupt in Damascus and the southern city of Deraa. In their reaction, security forces kill a number of protestors, triggering days of violent unrest that steadily spread nationwide over the next 17 months.
Milestones: Escalation of the conflict • May 2011: Army tanks enter Deraa, Banyas, Homs and suburbs of Damascus in an effort to crush anti-regime protests. The US and European Union tighten sanctions. President Assad announces amnesty for political prisoners. • July 2011: Pres. Assad dismisses the governor of the northern province of Hama after mass demonstration there, eventually sending in troops to restore order; dozens of protestors lose their lives. • Opposition activists meet in Istanbul to form a unified opposition, the Syrian National Council (SNC) • August 2011: President Barack Obama call on Pres. Bashar al-Assad to step down. • December 2011: Syria agrees to an Arab League initiative allowing Arab observers into the country. The League suspends its mission in January 2012 due to worsening violence.
Milestones: Escalation of the conflict- cont. • 27 March 2012: The UN Security Council endorses a non-binding peace plan drafted by Joint UN/League of Arab States Envoy Kofi Annan. The UN statement falls short of a formal resolution, and violence continues into the summer. • The Six Point Plan entails the following: - Syriacommits to work with Mr Annan "in an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people”. - Syria commits to stop fighting and immediately stop troop movements and use of heavy weapons in populated areas. As these actions are being taken, Syria should work with Mr Annan to end all violence, under UN supervision. Mr Annan will seek similar commitments from the opposition to stop all fighting.
Milestones: Escalation of the conflict- cont - Syria accepts and implements a daily two hour "humanitarian pause" to deliver aid and evacuate the injured. - Syria commits to intensify "the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons" and provide a list of all places where such people are being held. - Syria commits to ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists "and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them." - Syria commits to "respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.
Milestones: Escalation of the conflict- cont. • May 2012: The Syrian Government uses helicopters and artillery in an attack on the town of Houla. More than a hundred people, most of them women and children, are killed. France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada and Australia expel senior Syrian diplomats in protest. • June 2012: Syria downs a Turkish F4 fighter plane. Turkey announces that it had changed its rules of engagement as far as Syria is concerned, declaring that Syrian troops approaching Turkey's borders would be considered as an act of war • July 2012: A bomb blast at the National Security Bureau in Damascus claimed the lives of the Defense Minister, Deputy Defense Minister and brother–in-law of President Assad, the Former Defense Minister and the Security Bureau Chief
CURRENT SECURITY SITUATIONArmed Clashes • In the last week fatalities have occurred in the provinces of Homs, Hama, Daraa, Deir Al-Zor, Idlib and Latakia, whilst most of the fighting in Aleppo is occurring in two out of ten city districts, the rebel-held Salaheddin district being one of them. • Clashes in Damascus and Aleppo, respectively the political and economic capitals of Syria ( more than 50% of population) only escalated recently. Damascus is mostly calm at present with Syrian government forces apparently in control of the capital. • On 1 August 2012, a spokesperson for UNSMIS, reported that opposition forces were now in possession of heavy weapons, including captured tanks. • UN Monitors have witnessed the use of helicopters, tanks, heavy machine guns and artillery, as well as attacks from Mig 23 fighter aircraft.
CURRENT SECURITY SITUATIONArmed Clashes cont • On 3 August the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Herve Ladsousexpressed the view that, given the considerable build up of military equipment around Aleppo, the main battle for the city is imminent. • On 2 August 2012, forces of the Syrian Free Army used captured tanks to attack the Menagh Military Airport north of Aleppo.
CURRENT SECURITY SITUATIONOpposition factions • The internal and external opposition in Syria remains fractured and largely disorganised. • On 31 July 2012, Syrian opposition leader Haytham Al-Maleh announced that he had been tasked with forming a government in exile based in Cairo. • The head of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), as well as Syrian National Council (SNC) Chief, Abed Basset Sieda, criticised the announcement. • They stated that it was too early to establish a Government in exile and that the announcement to this effect was damaging the cause of the opposition.
CURRENT SECURITY SITUATIONOpposition factions Cont. • On 1 August 2012 the FSA joint command distributed what they called a "national salvation draft"proposal for a political transition, bringing together military and civilian figures. • The draft reportedly proposes the establishment of a higher Defence Council charged with creating a Presidential Council, which in turn would bring together six military and civilian figures to lead a future transition.
Multilateral Developments • Joint Special Envoy - UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy, Mr Kofi Annan, will not be extending his mandate beyond August 2012. • He stated that the ongoing foreign interference and supply of weapons to Syria had significantly reduced the prospect for a peaceful outcome of the current conflict. • Threat of chemical weapons – TheAssad government threatened the use of WMC in the case of foreign military intervention. Syria is not a signatory of the Convention on Chemical Weapons. • The UN has accepted that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons would dispatch a fact-finding mission to Syria at the request and under the auspices of the UNSG.
Multilateral Developments Cont • United Nations Security Council – Efforts to obtain unified position on Syria being vetoed by Russia and China. Russia has a strategic interest in Syria in the form of naval base/facilities at Latakia/Tartus, its only presence in the Mediterranean Sea. • UNSMIS: Mission has been reduced from 300 members to 150. Unlikely that strength will be increased again. Western UNSC members also reject any extension of the UNSMIS mandate beyond August 2012. • UK stated in UNSC closed consultations on 2 August that it is currently focussed on initiatives outside the Council. P3 unlikely to pursue any political process within the UNSC anymore.
Multilateral Developments Cont • United Nations General Assembly vote on 3 August - South Africa voted in favour of the resolution on Syria, after the draft was amended to be more balanced in condemnation of violence. • South Africa continues to support the Six-Point-Plan of the Joint Special Envoy as the only realistic way forward.
South African Position • South Africa remains deeply concerned about the escalating violence and deteriorating human rights situation in Syria. It has persistently called on all the parties to the conflict to stop the violence. • South Africa continues to call for an all-inclusive process of national dialogue, free from violence, intimidation and outside interference aimed at regime change, in order to satisfy the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Syrian people. • The Friends of the Syrian People group (FOSP): South Africa therefore does not support a parallel process outside the ambit of the United Nations and has not attended any of the meetings of the Grouping (Tunis, Istanbul, Paris).
South African Position Cont. • SA Approach: South Africa supports a balanced approach on Syria. • South Africa remains convinced that in a complex and divided society such as Syria, the military solution is not an option. South Africa supports the principal of inclusivity and home-grown solutions to national problems.
What we are currently monitoring • High Profile defections: The Syrian Gov. announced on 6 Aug. that Prime Minister Riad Hijab had been dismissed, but the Syrian National Council stated that the presence of the former Prime Minister and family in Jordan was a defection. • Defection of Sunni Republican Guard Commander Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass: Ankara, Riyadh, Washington and Paris are said to be counting on him to help steer Syria through the chaos that could follow the fall of the Syrian government. • Foreign intervention: UNSG warned this week that we were witnessing the start of a proxy war in Syria.
What we are currently monitoring Cont. • Foreign intervention cont.: Last week, the Syrian Support Group (SSG), was granted a license by the US Treasury to begin fund-raising. • The SSG is a Washington-based organisation with close links to the opposition. • The Free Syrian Army (FSA) hailed the move as a "game-changer" in the effort to equip the rebellion with modern weapons capable of matching those of the regime's forces. • Integrity of Al-Assad family: Despite dramatic setbacks during the past three weeks, the Assad family appear to remain cohesive. The army, the security and intelligence services (the 'mukhabarat') remain the cornerstones of the regime
INTRODUCTION • Following the 22nd March 2012 coup d’ état against the Government of President Touré, ECOWAS and the African Union implemented sanctions against the military regime. The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) took advantage of the situation to capture Northern Mali from the Government. • Subsequently, a Framework Agreement was signed with ECOWAS pledging to return Mali to constitutional order. As part of the ECOWAS demands, President Touré resigned, permitting the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dioncounda Traore, to be inaugurated as President. • A proposal was made for a 12-month transitional government, led by President Dioncounda Traore. However, due to the expiry of the deadline of 31 July 2012, given by ECOWAS to the Malian Transitional Government to form a unity government to regain the North of Mali from Ansar Dine and MUJAO (Al Qaeda-linked Islamists) or face sanctions, ECOWAS has given President Traore an extension of 10 days.
INTRODUCTION • The Libyan intervention allowed the MNLA to obtain some weapons from the Libyan armouries. Additional weapons returned to Mali and other areas as the Islamic Legion collapsed. Although the western states were very concerned about the spread of Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS), none of these systems have yet been found outside Libya. • The human rights and humanitarian situation has deteriorated sharply in Mali with Salafist militias affiliated with AQIM capturing cities from the MNLA and implementing Sharia. • The MNLA, in what can be seen as a positive development, has dropped its calls for autonomy, and has indicated that it will cooperate with an ECOWAS force to wrest control away from the Salafist militias. The MNLA distrusts the Malian military.
SOUTH AFRICA’S POSITION • In terms of the situation in north of Mali, South Africa re-affirms the unity and sovereignty of Mali. South Africa has availed itself to the Government of Mali to provide the necessary support to their transition and supports all mediation efforts deployed by ECOWAS, led by Burkina Faso President, Blaise Campaore, including the request by AU and ECOWAS to the UN to deploy ECOWAS forces in Mali. • This intervention force must be able to completely protect civilians and historic cultural treasures. Nonetheless, South Africa urges all parties (particularly the armed movements in the north of Mali) to enter into negotiations to resolve the situation. South Africa is awaiting the proposed terms of the intervention force so that it can assess the particular objectives and arrangements of the force.
SOUTH AFRICA’S POSITION • South Africa is concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation throughout the region, activities of extremist groups and about the senseless violation and destruction of the museums and other critical parts of the historical Heritage sites, including the holy shrines, infrastructure and manuscripts in Timbuktu. • South Africa will only be able to assess the impact on the facility, as well as the work of the Institute, once the situation has stabilised. However, DIRCO has been monitoring the situation. • In view of the deteriorating humanitarian situation, South Africa is working with the Malian Government to deliver a South African sponsored aid package through the African Renaissance Fund.
CONCLUSION • At its 327th meeting on the 14th July 2012, the AUPSC reiterated its full supportof the ECOWAS efforts aimed at resolving the crisis in Mali and the urgent need to strengthen the transitional institutions as well as demandsan end to the unacceptable interference of the military junta and their civilian supporters in the management of the transition and the effective dissolution of the National Committee for the Recovery of Democracy and the Restoration of the State (CNRDRE). • If the ECOWAS standby force is deployed to Mali, the probability that it would be able to regain the territory under the control of the various terrorist groups would depend on its ability to ensure the security of the transitional institutions, restructure and reorganize the Malian security and defense forces, and restore State authority over the northern part of the country, as well as fight against terrorist and criminal networks.
THE END Thank you