Namibia reaffirms support for Western Sahara, DRC
By Lahja Nashuuta & Ellen Shihepo
Windhoek – Namibia has affirmed its commitment and support to the people of Western Sahara and the Democratic Republic of Congo in their quest to realise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence.
Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, told diplomats accredited to Namibia at the annual end-of-year diplomatic briefing this week that Namibia is disturbed and deeply disappointed by the stance taken by Morocco regarding the independence of the Western Sahara as contained in a statement made by that kingdom’s king on 8 November 2017, in which he ruled out any peace deal for the independence of the Western Sahara in the face the United Nations renewed efforts to resolve the decades old dispute.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibia will continue to contribute to the work of the UN Committee on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and People.
“It is against this background that Namibia continues to support the people of Western Sahara and the people of Palestine and calls for the full implementation of all relevant UN Resolutions on Western Sahara and Palestine,” she said.
On the situation in SADC
Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibia and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) were fully engaged in ensuring that peace and security prevails in Lesotho, adding that since October, the SADC Expanded Oversight Committee on Lesotho had been deployed to assist with the implementation of SADC decisions, which include constitutional, judiciary, legislative and security sector reforms to which Namibia has contributed five experts.
Moreover, on 20 November 2017, SADC deployed a contingent mission to Lesotho in order to stabilise the country and assist with the implementation of SADC decisions.
“A total of 258 personnel have been deployed, composed of military, intelligence, police and civilian components. Namibia has contributed personnel in all components, which is testimony to our commitment to ensuring peace and security in the region in general, and Lesotho, in particular,” she said.
In its efforts to ensure peace, consolidate democracy and good governance in the region, Nandi-Ndaitwah said SADC had appointed former President Hifikepunye Pohamba as SADC Special Envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“We are hopeful that, with the announcement of the date of elections in the DRC of 23 December 2018, should that happen, peace and stability would come to that country,” she said.
On North Korea
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the Namibian government had complied with the UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea, dismissing recent negative reports about Namibia’s non-compliance with the resolutions.
There have been press reports that Namibia was flouting UN resolutions by continuing to engage North Koreans companies to work on various projects in the country.
“We have availed all the requested information.
We have nothing to hide and we shall continue to cooperate if and when necessary.
It is, however, important to point out that, to our knowledge, there is no UN Security Council resolution that sanctions bilateral relations and cooperation with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” she said.
On a positive note, Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibia continued to enjoyed excellent bilateral engagements with all missions accredited to Namibia.
“Some of these engagements took place on the margins of multilateral fora, and were indeed very fruitful. Our bilateral mechanisms such as state visits, official visits, joint permanent commissions of cooperation and inter-governmental working groups and other bilateral activities between Namibia and the respective countries and organisations you represent, remain important tools in achieving greater success in the implementation of bilateral and multilateral cooperation,” she said.
What the diplomats said
In an interview with The Southern Times many of the diplomats present at the event said their countries have excellent relations with Namibia. These range from areas of political and diplomatic interaction, trade and economic cooperation, cultural ties and people-to-people contacts.
Isaie Ntirizoshira, Ambassador of Burundi to Namibia, said the relationship between Burundi and Namibia was very good.
“In order to strengthen the relationship between Burundi and Namibia, we have our personal agreements, which have been signed over the past two years and we are working hard on the implementation of these agreements. These agreements largely involve trade and investment relations between us,” he said.
When asked about his take on the political situation in the SADC region, Ntirizoshira stressed that while there was a genuine unsettling disturbance surrounding recent events in Zimbabwe, he was glad that things were seemingly starting to normalise.
“We sincerely hope that there will be an amicable solution to the situation and that everything will end up smoothly with no violence. I am sure that SADC and the AU (African Union) have been trying their best to advise the superiors in the situation and [are] also very closely monitoring the progress of the situation,” Ntirizoshira said.
Shabbir Ahmad Chowdury, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Namibia, said: “In terms of international relations between Bangladesh and Namibia, we are very much willing to assist Namibia in agricultural development because we are an agricultural country and we do believe that Namibia should focus more on agriculture for trade purposes and economic strengthening as well.”
Anastas Kaboba Kasongo Wa Kimba, the DRC Ambassador to Namibia, commended Namibia for its efforts in trying to not only support but also assist in the stability, solidarity and democracy of the SADC region as a whole.
“The relationship between Congo and Namibia is clearly going very well considering former President Hifikepunye Pohamaba’s recent appointment as SADC Special Envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo. We appreciate the way Namibia is recognising the problems in the sub-region considering our upcoming elections in December 2018. We expect and are confident that from our support from sister nations, Namibia will not let us down.
The country is also doing very well with the recently passed bill for free secondary education and these are the kind of things that stand out and encourage us as neighbouring nations,” he said.
“As an African nation, all we need is to bring peace, stability, education for our people and for African governments to especially protect our youths because they are the ones that will be tomorrow’s leaders.”