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Security Council Presidential Statement Expresses Intention to Promote Closer Ties with League of Arab States

With Middle East crises occupying a significant portion of its agenda, the Security Council today expressed its intention to promote closer cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States in the fields of conflict early warning, prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and sustaining peace.

In a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2019/5) issued by Kuwait, Council President for June, the 15-member organ also encouraged the holding of an annual briefing by the League’s Secretary-General and an annual informal meeting between the Security Council and the Council of the League of Arab States.

Further to the statement, the Security Council encouraged consideration of the proposal by the League’s Council of Ministers to establish a consultative framework between the League and the United Nations to enhance collaboration in maintaining peace and security in the Arab region. It also emphasized the importance of intensifying coordination between their special envoys in addressing regional crises, with a view to reaching a more comprehensive understanding.

The Council also welcomed the upcoming opening of the United Nations liaison office at the League’s headquarters in Cairo this month, encouraging its maximum use by the secretariats of the two entities.

From day one, I have prioritized cooperation with regional organizations to prevent conflict and sustain peace, said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, stressing that stronger ties with the League is pivotal. Referring to numerous regional challenges � including in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan and the Occupied Palestinian Territory � he said partnerships are essential to advance a global order based on international law.

The two organizations share a common mission, he said: to prevent and resolve conflict, act in a spirit of solidarity and work together to expand economic opportunity, advance respect for human rights and build political inclusion.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said security in the region is a prerequisite for international security, expressing the desire to establish a broad and solid platform for cooperation with the United Nations, similar to the Organization’s arrangements with other regional bodies. Welcoming the establishment of a United Nations liaison office at the League’s headquarters, he said the scope of cooperation should include early warning, mediation and post conflict peacebuilding. Stressing that the Council’s internal dynamics on crises in the Arab region provide no excuse for inaction, he said advancing partnership can help both organizations better discharge their duty to maintain peace and security.

In the ensuing discussion, delegates exchanged views on how regional organizations can offer front line defence for the United Nations’ conflict prevention and resolution efforts, with several advocating stronger cooperation with the League.

Kuwait’s Minister for Foreign Affairs said the goal of today’s meeting was to reaffirm the principles enshrined in Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter and help the Council seek peaceful solutions to conflicts in the Arab world. In 2012, the Council adopted a presidential statement in support of the League’s contribution to collective efforts to peacefully settle conflicts in the Middle East. However, the level of cooperation has failed to match expectation, with a number of Arab issues remaining on the Council’s agenda.

Poland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs said he sees added value in stronger cooperation between the United Nations and the League. Mediation to manage crises requires strong commitment, including from regional organizations, he said, stressing that only by working together can States enhance their capacity to prevent crises.

Neighbours know best, said Indonesia’s delegate, underlining the importance for the United Nations to cooperate with regional and subregional organizations. The League of Arab States is best placed to envision conflict specific solutions, given its unique knowledge, he said, expressing support for regular briefings and informal meetings with the Council, as well as for the new liaison office in Cairo.

Equatorial Guinea’s delegate said the League’s specialized knowledge allows it to intelligently address the cultural components which have been factors in conflict. Recalling that most League members also belong to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) or the African Union, he urged it to work with other regional organizations, ensure coordination and avoid duplicating efforts.

Belgium’s delegate supported the idea of regular Council meetings with the League, as is already the case with the European Union and the African Union. Stressing the importance of joint analysis and early warning mechanisms, she welcomed the announcement of a United Nations liaison office in Cairo.

Also speaking today were the representatives of the Dominican Republic, South Africa, United States, France, China, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Peru, Germany and CAte d’Ivoire.

The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 12:15 p.m.

Briefings

ANTA�NIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that, since his first day in office, he has prioritized cooperation with regional organizations to prevent conflict and sustain peace, because no single organization or country alone can address the world’s complex challenges. Global problems require global solutions. That is why partnerships remain essential to maximize our impact on people’s lives and advance a global order based on international law, he said, stressing that cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States is pivotal. The two organizations share a common mission: to prevent conflict, resolve disputes and act in a spirit of solidarity and unity, and work together to expand economic opportunity, advance respect for all human rights and build political inclusion.

Noting that there is an expectation from the peoples in the region and around the world for a new social contract for education, jobs, opportunities for young people, equality for women, respect for human rights and a fair share in national wealth, he said there is also the impulse for a more inclusive vision rooted in cooperation, respect and dignity. Within the challenges facing the region lies the opportunity to build on the words and intentions of the charters of our two organizations for action that will bring real change to the peoples of the Arab world and beyond, he said.

Turning to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said the two organizations are collectively committed to the vision of two States, based on relevant United Nations resolutions, long-held principles, previous agreements and international law. In Syria, the support and active engagement of the international community, including Arab League members, will be essential to bring about an inclusive and credible political solution, based on Security Council resolution 2254 (2015) in its entirety, including the convening of a constitutional committee that is credible, inclusive and balanced. Regarding Libya, he expressed appreciation to the League for its continued support to the efforts of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and his Special Representative there, including through the Libya Quartet. There is no military solution, he said, stressing the need to work towards a ceasefire and a return to the negotiating table.

Iraq needs continued, sustained support from the region and the international community to help rebuild the country and overcome the trauma and impact of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), he said. Iraq’s Arab neighbours have a critical role to play. The League is vital in supporting Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. In Yemen, every effort is being made to address the extraordinary suffering on the ground in what remains the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. In Somalia, the international community must remain united to support political progress and the development of security institutions. The League is a key partner � both as an organization and through its individual members � for political support and economic development. Sudan is going through a delicate transition. The United Nations is working with regional partners, especially the African Union, in supporting this process with the objective of enabling the Sudanese parties to reach agreement on an inclusive, civilian-led transitional authority.

The United Nations’ engagement with the League includes biennial General Cooperation meetings, sectoral meetings, capacity-building exercises and staff exchanges, he said, announcing that the Organization’s liaison office at the League’s headquarters in Cairo will become operational this month. He said he fully expects this liaison office, the first funded by the United Nations regular budget, will improve the effectiveness of cooperation between the two organizations. I intend to continue this fruitful engagement and deepen our collaboration to advance the vision set out in the United Nations Charter, in the interest of the peoples we collectively serve, he concluded.

AHMED ABOUL GHEIT, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said the Arab region is rife with conflicts and deep crises, some difficult to resolve, but all having a negative impact on generations of Arab people. Most are on the Council’s agenda, but in some cases, the Council has regrettably failed to adopt a clear position on them. After nine years, there is still no political solution in sight in Syria. The people of Yemen are victims of a humanitarian crisis attributable to an outlaw faction. Military hostilities in Libya threaten its social fabric and unity. In Somalia, the League is working with others to solidify stability and restore peace in the Horn of Africa. He added that he could not neglect the centrality of the Palestinian question in the minds and conscience of the Arab people. Israel’s ongoing occupation fuels radicalization in the Middle East and beyond, he said, emphasizing that the region will never enjoy stability without an end to the occupation, the establishment of an independent Palestinian State and a just resolution to the conflict with Israel.

He added that Arab countries are facing unprecedented regional and international interferences that challenge State authority, alongside the growing threat of terrorist groups. Worrying developments include the targeting of oil tankers in the Arabian Gulf on 12 June and ballistic missiles fired into the heart of Saudi Arabia two days ago. Such dangerous developments must compel the Council to act against those responsible. He underscored the League’s determination to play a more robust rule in maintaining international peace and security and defending the security of its member States, always in line with the Charter of the United Nations and international law. That was reflected in the League’s special summit in May where its leaders condemned attacks on Saudi oil installations and on vessels off the United Arab Emirates, and also expressed solidarity vis-A�-vis Iran. Maintaining security in the Arab region is a prerequisite for international security and threats will entail serious consequences, he warned. Subversive activities are no longer acceptable and taking cover behind proxies is a tactic rejected by all.

He went on to discuss the League’s desire to establish a broad and solid platform for cooperation with the United Nations, similar to arrangements that the Organization has with other regional bodies. Fruitful cooperation between the League and the Council should be underpinned by permanent arrangements for the frank exchange of information. There is a parallel need to advance the level of coordination between the League and the Special Representatives and Special Envoys of the Secretary-General active in the region. He welcomed the establishment of a United Nations liaison office in Cairo, where the League has its headquarters. The cooperation that the League aspires to have with the Council and United Nations agencies should include, among other things, early warning, mediation and post-conflict peacebuilding efforts. The League also welcomes institutional support from the Organization that would help strengthen its capabilities.

He went on to warn against the dangers of maintaining the status quo regarding the Palestinian situation, especially given Israel’s continuing oppressive practices and attempts to legitimize the occupation while casting doubt on the just cause of Palestinian refugees. Warning against attempts to resolve the Palestinian question outside the framework of international law, or creating alternative economic or development tracks, he called on the Council to assume its responsibilities without selectivity or double standards, afford protection to the Palestinian people and compel Israel to uphold its obligations. The League is aware of the Council’s internal dynamics, or lack thereof, vis-A�-vis the many conflicts and crises in the Arab region, and it is confident it appreciates the complications within the Arab system. But, that is no excuse for inaction or an abdication of the Council’s obligation to uphold international law. Advancing partnership can help both organizations to assume their responsibilities and better discharge their duty to maintain peace and security, in the letter and spirit of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter.

Statements

SABAH KHALED AL-HAMAD AL-SABAH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait and Council President for June, speaking in his national capacity, said that the goal of his delegation’s initiative to convene today’s meeting was to reaffirm the principles regarding regional arrangements enshrined in Chapter VIII of the Charter. This would help the Council in its search for peaceful solutions to the conflicts in the Arab world. The meeting, the first of its kind, is a beginning of a new partnership between the United Nations and the Arab League, whose ties go back to the 1950s. He particularly welcomed the upcoming opening of the United Nations liaison office in Cairo later this month, which is expected to make cooperation between the two organizations more effective. In 2012, the Council adopted a presidential statement in support of the League’s contribution to collective efforts to peacefully settle conflicts in the Middle East. However, the level of cooperation has failed to match the level of expectation. A number of Arab issues remain on the Council’s agenda. On a positive note, the two organizations held their first consultative meeting at the level of permanent representatives and discussed common interests, he said, expressing hope that such meetings will continue into the future. As an outcome of today’s meeting, his delegation will issue a presidential statement to carry this agenda forward.

JACEK CZAPUTOWICZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, said that he recently visited the League’s headquarters in Cairo and learned about regional attitudes towards development. Poland sees added value in stronger cooperation between the United Nations and the League. Today’s debate is timely as the Arab world faces numerous challenges, among them terrorism, radicalization, climate change and multiple humanitarian concerns. Their suffering must end and stability must be brought to the region. Recognizing the need for greater synergy of efforts by regional and subregional organizations, he highlighted the role of other regional organizations, such as the African Union and the European Union, as well as other important contributors, like the United States. Mediation to manage crises requires strong commitment, including from regional organizations. Only by working together, can States enhance their capacity to prevent crises. Highlighting the convening of a Middle East security conference in Warsaw, he stressed the need for greater cohesion among major stakeholders, including the United States. Poland sees benefit in enhancing cooperation between the United Nations and the League to a new level and welcomes the upcoming opening of the former’s liaison office in Cairo.

JOSA� SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic) said that the best results are achieved through cooperation and inclusive dialogue. The Middle East faces major challenges that represent a significant portion of the Council’s agenda, including the Israel-Palestine issue and the situation in Syria. His delegation values contributions from regional organizations, including on water, human rights, sexual violence, migration and counter-terrorism. His Government supports the holding of regular meetings and coordinated action between the two organizations and welcomes the opening of the United Nations liaison office in Cairo. His delegation was encouraged by today’s meeting and urges effective follow-up towards greater collaboration in the future.

JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa) said cooperation between global and regional bodies is critical to deeply understanding regional challenges. For example, collaboration between the Security Council and African Union has been useful in finding common ground on peace and security issues in Africa. Welcoming improved and increased cooperation between the United Nations and League of Arab States, he said that a better relationship would help deal with conflicts in the Arab region. In working with the League, the Council should be consistent and not selectively cooperate on matters that serve only the national interests of some of its members. The underlying causes of uprisings and long-standing conflicts have to be addressed in a coordinated manner, he added. Turning to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, he pointed out that the League is not even included as a member of the Middle East Quartet. He urged the Council to consistently make use of regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security.

JONATHAN R. COHEN (United States) said his country supports continued cooperation between the League and the United Nations and appreciates the Organization for setting up a liaison office in Cairo. Thanking the League for its ongoing support for the Government in Yemen, he said the United States values its key support for the global coalition against ISIL/Da’esh. He also commended his country’s friends and allies in the League for not readmitting Syria or normalizing relations with the Assad regime in the absence of a political solution. Describing Iran as the most significant threat to regional peace and security, he welcomed the League’s statement on 31 May calling out that country for its behaviour. The United States is pressing the Iranian regime to end its role in regional conflicts and curtail its support for proxies, he said, emphasizing the need to confront Iran with a strong united front. Emphasizing that attacks on shipping by any party is unacceptable, he said with regard to the incidents of 12 June that the United States is providing assistance and continuing to assess the situation. Regarding the Palestinian question, he said his country will release its plan when the time is right and that it looks forward to discussing a more prosperous future for the Palestinians at the upcoming workshop in Bahrain.

FRANCOIS DELATTRE (France) said the scope of political and security challenges in the Arab region justify dialogue and cooperation between the United Nations and the League. Underscoring the key role of regional institutions, he said the League’s work is more essential than ever when it comes to achieving consensus among Arab nations. Given a worrying rise of tensions in the Gulf, as demonstrated by the incident involving oil tankers in the Sea of Oman, he said restraint and de-escalation is more necessary than ever. The world cannot allow a major confrontation in the Gulf region, he said, stressing the need for regional dialogue. He welcomed Kuwait’s commitment to build bridges and keep channels of dialogue open, and underscored the fundamental importance of international law. Unilateral decisions that are incompatible with international law are doomed to failure and they weaken the international order. Reaffirming France’s commitment to the two-State solution, he said any efforts, including economic ones, must fall within the framework of Council resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), emphasizing that neighbours know best, underlined the importance of cooperation with regional and subregional organizations. In recent years, the League of Arab States has assumed a leading role in maintaining peace and security throughout its region, including by facilitating peaceful dispute settlement among its members. In addition, it has adopted a clear stance on conflicts and supported humanitarian action. The League of Arab States is best placed to envision conflict-specific solutions, given its unique knowledge, he said, expressing support for regular briefings and informal meetings with the Council, as well as for the new liaison office in Cairo. As tackling the causes of conflicts is imperative, he also voiced support for more economic and social development, strengthened information sharing, joint early warning efforts and a greater focus on prevention and mediation.

MA ZHAOXU (China) said his country supports deepening cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional groups. The League has long worked to promote peace and stability, helping to resolve hotspot issues. Making several proposals on cooperation between the two organizations, he said all parties must treat each other as equals, build a comprehensive security architecture and strengthen coordination in addressing hotspot issues. The United Nations should assist the League in enhancing its capability in such areas as conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The fight against terrorism and prevention of violent extremism must be pushed forward, with the League being an important partner in the implementation of the United Nations Global Strategy against Terrorism. He went on to recall a ministerial meeting in Beijing in 2018 during which the President of China announced a new era of cooperation with Arab States.

JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom) said he agreed with others that long term peace and prosperity is best achieved through coordinated efforts. Stronger cooperation will make it possible to confront urgent challenges that demand immediate international attention. He said the international community must support the demands of the Sudanese people for a better future. The United Kingdom utterly condemns the use of force on peaceful protesters and calls on those League members with influence in the Transitional Military Council to support African Union efforts leading to a swift transfer to civilian rule. Emphasizing that Council members cannot shirk their responsibilities with regards to Syria, he called for redoubled efforts towards negotiations. He reaffirmed the United Kingdom’s commitment to the two-State solution, called for all parties in Libya to commit to an immediate ceasefire, expressed support for the Special Envoy’s efforts in Yemen and voiced deep concern about reports of explosions and fires on vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) expressed his support for the presidential statement prepared by Kuwait, stressing the need for Arab solutions to Arab problems. He said his delegation shared many assessments voiced in today’s briefings. Middle East issues are as important as those in Africa in the Council’s work. Foreign intervention in domestic affairs have led to crises in Syria and Libya. Efforts to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict have been undermined by unilateral moves. These numerous challenges point to the increasing relevance of the League in finding solutions. His delegation supports stronger cooperation between the United Nations and the League, including the establishment of a security architecture in the Persian Gulf. The international community must fully leverage the potential of cooperation between the United Nations and the League. The Russian Federation will also continue to strengthen its relations with the latter.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) welcomed the convening of today’s meeting, but expressed regret that regional crises persist, including in Syria, Yemen and Libya. It is important to strengthen multilateralism and cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, which can complement each other using their comparative advantages. Underscoring the role of the League in promoting stability in the Middle East, he called for more efforts to promote this association and welcomed the opening of the United Nations liaison office in Cairo. His delegation also welcomed the proposal to establish a consultative framework between the League and the United Nations to enhance collaboration in maintaining peace and security in the Arab region. Stronger cooperation is needed in civilian protection. The two organizations must pool their efforts to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.

JUERGEN SCHULZ (Germany) recalled that, in 2012, his delegation chaired the Council and took up the issue of closer cooperation between the League and the United Nations to help resolve protracted conflicts in the Middle East. Greater cooperation between the two organizations can help prevent crises and address many other challenges. The conflict in Syria must be resolved based on Security Council resolution 2254 (2015). Turning to the most recent security incident in the Gulf of Oman, he said it constituted a serious threat to maritime traffic and added to existing tensions in the region. The long list of challenges points to the urgency with which the Council must respond. The League can provide a framework to overcome existing tensions, including in human rights protection and promotion, as his delegation stressed in its 2012 presidential statement. Highlighting the strategic European Union-Arab League partnership, he also expressed support for stronger United Nations-Arab League ties.

KACOU HOUADJA LA�ON ADOM (CAte d’Ivoire) said a regional approach to resolving disputes is essential to ensure better ownership of peace processes. Cooperation between organizations should be promoted. Given the complexity of today’s challenges, cooperation between the United Nations and the League should be strengthened, he said, welcoming that the presidential statement to be adopted at the end of today’s meeting will reaffirm that belief. Recalling a report of the Secretary General in 2018 that emphasized the Organization’s readiness to help the League build its conflict prevention and mediation capacity, he said support should also extend to development efforts that address the root causes of conflict. CAte d’Ivoire believes in the ability of the region, with its cultural riches and its resources, to achieve peace, and cooperation between the United Nations and the League is essential in that regard.

NARCISO SIPACO RIBALA (Equatorial Guinea), condemning the 12 June attacks on oil tankers, said his country is part of a region that puts high value on mechanisms which enable the United Nations and other organizations to address peace and security challenges together. The League has special knowledge that makes it possible to intelligently address many of the cultural components which have been factors in conflict. Recalling that most League members also belong to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) or the African Union, he urged the League to work with other regional organizations, ensure coordination and avoid duplicating efforts.

KAREN VAN VLIERBERGE (Belgium) said regional cooperation is a pillar of her country’s foreign policy, adding that the European Union met with the League earlier this year. The Arab world faces many challenges ranging from conflict to the preservation and management of water resources. Noting the serious incident in the Gulf of Oman and citing the League’s support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the two-State solution, she said the region is stronger when it speaks with one voice. Belgium supports the idea of regular Council meetings with the League, as is already the case with the European Union and the African Union. Stressing the importance of joint analysis and early warning mechanisms, she welcomed the announcement of the opening of a United Nations liaison office in Cairo, adding that cooperation should be guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, respect for human rights and significant participation by women and young people.

Source: United Nations

Premier Alan Winde highlights issues of crime, transport, land and economy during lekgotla

Premier Alan Winde to highlight issues of crime, transport, land and the economy during lekgotla

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde is attending the three-day Presidential cabinet lekgotla in Pretoria this week, where he hopes to raise important issues affecting the Western Cape, including safety, trains, the release of national land for housing opportunities and growing the economy and creating jobs.

The meeting, which aims to set the country’s plan for the next five years, includes ministers, deputy ministers and for the first time, Premiers and their directors general.

Premier Winde said: This is an important platform to put the concerns and future hopes of Western Cape residents on the table, and I’ll be doing just that. Of utmost importance will be issues of crime, public transport and especially fixing our dysfunctional train system,strategic land which must be released by national, as well as the economy.

High on my agenda is to make the President and Cabinet aware of how violent crime is impacting our communities in the province. We had 331 murders in May 2019 alone � crime is out of control and the national sphere needs to take its mandate seriously if we are to solve it, Premier Winde said.

I want to build partnerships with my national counterparts so that we can make this province better tomorrow than it is today.

I am also looking forward to engaging with the new minister of Transport and Public Works, around trains in the Western Cape and unlocking well-located government-owned land for housing opportunities in the province.

Solving the issues of crime and public transport will go a long way towards helping grow our economy, by stimulating investment which leads to job creation. The economy and job creation are high on President Ramaphosa’s agenda and I believe that the Western Cape can contribute to the discussion by showcasing some of the plans and strategies that have worked here.

It is our goal as the Western Cape government to have at least one job in every household and in order to do this, we plan to expand our Red Tape Reduction Unit in order to make the province an even easier place to invest, remove the regulatory burdens for small businesses and entrepreneurs and focus on encouraging investment into tourism and continuing to support the growth of key sectors of our economy, including agriculture.

My goal as Premier of the Western Cape is to encourage a spirit of co-operation with the ANC as the opposition in the province, and as the ruling party nationally, in a bid to ensure that the needs and priorities of our citizens are heard, understood and met,” Premier Winde said.

Source: Government of South Africa

China ready for trade talks with East Africa bloc: ambassador to Kenya

NAIROBI, China is ready to negotiate a trade deal with the six-nation East Africa Community (EAC) to address Kenya’s complaints about a huge trade imbalance in favor of the Asian economic giant, said Wu Peng, China’s ambassador to Nairobi.

Kenyan officials said the government was not ready to discuss a free trade agreement as it fears a surge of imports from China but that a partial deal might be possible.

Wu Peng said Beijing was ready to open trade talks with Kenya via the EAC, which also includes Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, guided by World Trade Organisation rules.

If we want a new, favorable trade agreement for Kenya, we must consider the whole area. But we are open to this task, this possibility, and we are ready to talk with the EAC together, Wu said in an interview.

China has become one of the biggest trading partners for many East African countries but their exports to the world’s second-biggest economy are dwarfed by imports of manufactured goods like electronics and plant equipment.

Kenya imported goods worth 370.8 billion shillings ($3.67 billion) from China last year while exporting just 11.32 billion shillings of goods there.

Nairobi wants to export more farm products, like avocados, to China. The two nations have completed a protocol opening up frozen avocado exports to China but exports of fresh avocados are still blocked due to bio-safety concerns.

I’m pushing it very hard and maybe it just needs scientific assistance to Kenyan farmers, Wu said.

The Kenyan government has borrowed from China in recent years to build roads and railways and is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative aimed at upgrading land and maritime trade routes between China and Europe, Asia and Africa.

But it has indicated it is not ready for a free trade deal yet, officials said.

You have got to know when to negotiate and when not to negotiate When the time is right we have no problem doing that, not only as Kenya but as a region, said Adan Mohamed, Kenya’s minister for the EAC.

He added: China with all its competitiveness today stands to be the biggest beneficiary of negotiating trade deals with any country.

Chris Kiptoo, the principal secretary in charge of trade at Kenya’s trade and industrialization ministry, said Nairobi feared a free trade agreement (FTA) with China would lead to a surge of imports.

He added that the government was seeking a preferential, non-reciprocal trade deal, giving Kenyan exports duty free access to China. Such a scheme could be modeled on the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which allows African exports like apparel and textiles duty free access to the U.S. market.

Our view is that at this stage the FTA is not feasible. China and Kenya are at different development stages now, Kiptoo said.

Ambassador Wu said the development of Kenya’s industrial base could help cure its trade imbalance.

Only through industrialization can Kenya reduce the imports and have the capacity to export, he added. � NNN-AGENCIES

Source: Nam News Network (NNN)

Gauteng reopens taxi routes in Soweto following peace deal

Gauteng reopens taxi routes in Soweto following signing of peace deal

The Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) will reopen taxi ranks and routes that were closed in Soweto following violent clashes earlier this year. The reopening of operations follows the signing of a peace deal between the Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (NANDUWE) and Witwatersrand Taxi Association (WATA).

MEC for Roads and Transport Jacob Mamabolo convened urgent meetings with the two minibus taxi associations in a bid to broker a solution to the impasse which saw the department closing the taxi ranks. The taxi ranks and routes will be officially reopened on Tuesday, 18 June 2019, this will be gazetted by the MEC.

Speaking at the peace deal signing ceremony at the historic Hector Piertersen Memorial this morning (11 June, 2019) MEC Mamabolo said that the agreement reached through negotiations between the affected the two associations. He said the agreement was written and agreed upon by the two associations.

Our country is known, the world over, for the 1994 negotiated settlement. This agreement is a product of negotiations that we started in the last two weeks. Moving forward negotiation is the only way we should find solutions to problems that face the taxi industry in the area. We cannot resort to violence and the killing of innocent lives when we face challenges.

The signing ceremony paves the path for the department to engage with the affected communities to upraise them on the way forward. The public meeting will take place at Uncle Tom’s Hall in Soweto tomorrow.

In the agreement, the two associations have committed to the cessation of all hostilities while the department conducts an investigation on routes registration duplications and the issuance of the problematic operating licenses for the two associations members. The investigation will be carried out in a period of three to four months and MEC Mamabolo has committed to make the findings public.

The two associations will set up a joint operational and monitoring team that will draft operational rules. Our department will design and issue a common sticker to be affixed on all 200 taxis that will be operating from the loading points, said Mamabolo.

Source: Government of South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa receives report of Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza have today, Wednesday 11 June 2019, received the report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture.

The panel was appointed in September 2018 to support the work of the Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Land Reform chaired by the Deputy President. It was to advise the IMC on a broad range of policy matters associated with land reform, including restitution, redistribution, tenure security and agricultural support.

To support sound policy making the panel was mandated to review, research and suggest models for government to implement a fair and equitable land reform process that redresses the injustices of the past, increases agricultural output, promotes economic growth and protects food security.

The panel was further expected to provide perspectives on land policy in the context of persisting land inequality, unsatisfactory land and agrarian reform and uneven urban land development.

The Advisory Panel was chaired by Dr Vuyo Mahlathi and composed of the following members, embodying a diversity of experience and perspectives on South Africa’s land reform aspirations:

Professor Ruth Hall

Professor Mohammed Karaan

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi

Ms Bulelwa Mabasa

Dr Thandi Ngcobo

Mr Wandile Sihlobo

Mr Daniel Kriek

Ms Thato Moagi

Mr Nick Serfontein

President Ramaphosa has thanked the Deputy President, the IMC and all advisory panel members for their hard work over an eight month process which included hours of consultation with various sectors of society and also very deliberate and sometimes dissenting and difficult engagement among the panel members.

The President said: This report is an important step forward in our quest to right the original sin by developing solutions which are not only uniquely South African but most importantly, build a society in which all may share in the wealth of our land.

The report of the Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture will be tabled to Cabinet before being released publicly.

Source: Government of South Africa