1. The Interstate Politics and Diplomacy Committee (ISPDC) of the Organ on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation met on 24th February 2017 at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania. The meeting was attended by Angola, Botswana, DR Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and Chaired by Honourable Dr Augustine P. Mahiga, Minister of Foreign Affairs, East Africa, Regional and International Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania.
2. The SADC Executive Secretary (ES), H.E. Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax Welcome Remarks by SADC Executive Secretary welcomed delegates to the meeting and highlighted that the objective of the meeting was to review progress made on the implementation of decisions of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO), Council of Ministers and the SADC Summit; and to provide strategic direction on regional matters of politics, diplomacy and democracy. She highlighted some of the milestones that the SADC region has registered in the consolidation of democracy and promotion of the rule of law, such as the successful adoption of the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and emphasized that the policy has been instrumental in guiding SADC Electoral Observation Missions.
3. In his remarks, Honourable Dr Augustine P. Mahiga,Opening remarks by hon. Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga acknowledged the efforts made by SADC in supporting the Kingdom of Lesotho through the Oversight Committee and the Facilitator. He also noted progress that has been made towards implementation of the MCO, Council and Summit decisions including the return of the exiled opposition leaders in Lesotho. He also commended the DRC for the agreement reached that facilitated the signing of a Political Agreement on the 31 December 2016. He indicated that the meeting would provide an opportunity to interrogate these and other matters that continue to affect the Region and recalled that it is only through peaceful co-existence and stability that we can achieve all the goals of the community.
4. The meeting noted the Interim Progress Report submitted by the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho; and that a comprehensive report on the approved Reforms Roadmap and the implementation of SADC Decisions will be submitted by the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho for consideration at the next MCO meeting in June 2017. The meeting also noted the operationalisation of the Oversight Committee and that the Committee and SADC will continue to support Lesotho in the implementation of the reforms and SADC decisions.
5. The meeting received a report on the political and security situation in the DRC, and commended the President of the DRC, H.E. Joseph Kabila Kabange, the Government of the DRC, CENCO, political parties and other stakeholders for the continued efforts in addressing the political and security challenges and pledged SADC assistance in the preparations, and conduct of elections and for the implementation of the 31st December 2016 Political Agreement. The committee also noted that the mandate of MONUSCO was coming to an end in March 2017, and recommended its renewal.
6. The meeting also considered proposals on the operationalisation of the mechanism to honour the Founding Fathers of SADC, the establishment of a date for the commemoration of the Southern Africa Liberation Day, and reviewed a number of SADC policy instruments that will further strengthen its capacity to resolve conflicts, and consolidate democracy. Policy instruments such as the Revised Inception Guidelines of the SADC Mediation, Conflict Prevention and Preventative Diplomacy Structure and the Draft Operational Guidelines and Procedures for the Civilian Component of the SADC Standby Force were considered and recommended for submission to the next Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) in June 2017.
7. The meeting thanked the Government and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania for the facilities put at its disposal, which enabled the successful conduct of the meeting.
Done at Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania
24th February 2016