|Africa News Digest
AU: African Nations Can Supply All Troops for Darfur
Aug. 13 (EIRNS)Alpha Oumar Konare, the head of the African Union (AU), said today, "We have enough pledges from African nations, so that we do not need to turn to forces from non-African countries" to provide the UN-mandated peacekeeping force for Darfur in western Sudan, Reuters reported. The Sudanese government has opposed the involvement of non-African countries in the force.
Britain, the United States, and others that have been promoting the Darfur intervention are now put on the spot. While the UN has authorized 26,000 troops for a peacekeeping force, UN officials said last week that the AU-UN force would be "predominantly African," rather than entirely so. Now with the AU announcement, it remains to be seen if the UN will actually approve funding for the operation.
South Africa Blames Brits for Zimbabwe Crisis
Aug. 13 (EIRNS)A document of the South African government puts the blame squarely on the British for the crisis in Zimbabwe, accusing Britain of leading a campaign to "strangle" Zimbabwe's economy. The London Guardian reports today that the document states Britain has a "death wish" against any negotiated settlement in Zimbabwe that might leave President Robert Mugabe's party in power.
The South African report describes the crisis as "Zimbabwe's bilateral dispute with Britain."
South African President Thabo Mbeki has been working to broker an agreement between Mugabe and the opposition in advance of a regional summit this week.
Britain has used the turmoil in Zimbabwe to try to destabilize South Africa, the strategic fulcrum of the region. It has been Britain that has been spearheading the sanctions against Zimbabwe, the sanctions Mugabe blames for his nation's economic collapse. As the economic crisis has deepened, some 3 million Zimbabweans have left the country, many of them crossing the border into South Africa, creating a refugee problem for that country.
"The most worrisome thing," says the South African document, "is that the U.K. continues to deny its role as the principal protagonist in the Zimbabwean issue, and is persisting with its activities to isolate Zimbabwe. None of the western countries that have imposed the sanctions that are strangling Zimbabwe's economy have shown any willingness to lift them."
While some South African leaders have criticized Mugabe, Michael Sata, an opposition leader in Zambia, has urged the region's leaders to "join hands and launch strong protests against attempts by the West to recolonize Zimbabwe."
The document, which Mbeki is expected to present to the regional summit, says that some issues in Zimbabwe, including constitutional reforms, have been "worked out." "There are strong indications that the two sides are sliding towards an agreement," the report states.
South Africa Nuclear Plan Would Close the Fuel Cycle
Aug. 14 (EIRNS)The draft nuclear energy plan that was released to the public on Aug. 13 by the mineral and energy department of South Africa, includes the bold and necessary plan to rebuild that country's uranium enrichment capability, which was originally developed for its nuclear weapons program, but dismantled in 1994. This will allow South Africa to be nuclear "energy independent," since it can enrich its own, indigenous uranium. In addition, according to Business Day, the government plans to promote the recycling of spent fuel, to reprocess it to extract material that can be reused as fuel, thereby closing the nuclear fuel cycle.
The plan sees the creation of tens of thousands of jobs, through the creation of these new capabilities, and several new institutions. The policy document proposes to recapitalize the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA (Nesca), to coordinate investment in nuclear R&D.