Mandela on handling of Nigerian issues
MANDELA: Well, as President Masire has pointed out, we set up a monitoring group of eight to handle the question of Nigeria and the initiative now on this question remains with that group and any ideas that we had have now to be channelled through that group. We are keen to respect a structure which we, ourselves, were parties to setting up. And it would not be desirable for us now, in our individual capacities, to make policy statements in regard to Nigera. I pointed out to the press before I came to this meeting that the question of sanctions was not on the agenda at all. And that we have now given the initiative to this group of eight and whatever suggestion that we have, now they have to be channelled through this group. You must also remember that since our initial positions, there have been developments – communication to us by the Secreatary General of the United Nations, the report by the Secretary General of the OAU, the appeal by President Lansana Conte of Ghana-Conakry [sic] [Guinea-Conakry] and we are a committee that wants to operate within the context of the entire world and for that reason we have refrained to to take any individual views. And of course as SADC we have a point of viewbut that point of view must be channelled through this committee of eight. We were unanimous in that view
MANDELA: We are giving the monitoring group of eight the opportunity to formulate an initiative on this question. We have mentioned in our discussions here that that group, from the point of, from the time they were appointed, must have been considering what is the next step to move the process forward? They have now developed a skill, an expertise and it is absolutely necessary for us to give that group the oppornutity to take the first step forward.
MANDELA: In briefing me on the discussions that he has had with General Abacha the Secretary General has expressed confidence that he was able to move the Abacha regime to take visible steps in normalising the situation in the country and in ensuring that at least the large group of people who have been arrested, there is hope on his part that they may be released soon. And we think that is a positive development which we should welcome
MANDELA: I am happy about the decision that has been taken here. I might point out although I am reluctant to do so myself, that every delegation has fully supported the stand of this question and also not only supported but felt that we should continue pursuing the stand that we have taken, but through the monitoring group of eight. And I’m therefore very happy about the discussions and especially the support that I’ve received from every delegation
MASIRE: There is a whole, as you know we spent a whole morning here and one cannot go all over that what we discussed but we have said what the Commonwealth has spelled out because if you say a monitoring group you mean it’s a group that is going to be watching out to see what has been, the conditions that have been laid out are observed. And we have reiterated that stand and have also underscored some of them like [the] immediate release of Obesanjo, [the] immediate release of Abiola and their compatriots and the visible signs that there is a programme towards democratisation within the time-frame that has been laid down.
[CUT-AWAY OF MUGABE]
MANDELA: All possible options are not excluded but let me again stress that we want to act as a disciplined organisation. We have set up a structure and whatever such options we are suggesting must be through that structure and it’s equally important that people who have been thinking about the problems should be given the opportunity to indicate to us the steps which will [?] a way forward and we are confident that they have got the ability to do this.
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