Nkoana-Mashabane: I can't comment on al-Bashir

Al-Bashir fled the country last month after the High Court ruled that he not be allowed to leave South Africa.

FILE: Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says she cannot comment on the controversy surrounding Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir as court processes are ongoing.

Nkoana-Mashabane was briefing the media on peace and security on the continent, particularly South Africa's position in the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Al-Bashir fled the country last month after the High Court ruled that he not be allowed to leave South Africa as he is wanted on an International Criminal Court warrant.

But the minister does say South Africa had no choice.

"The summit South Africa hosted in June was not a South African bilateral summit; it was a summit of the AU. You can't take decisions on the meeting because it's not your meeting."

Al-Bashir is wanted in connection with war crimes and genocide in Dafur, which saw 300,000 people killed and two million more displaced.

At the same time the minister says South Africa has made significant contributions to peace and security on the continent, but there is still much work to be done.

She says post-conflict reconstruction and development mechanisms must be improved.

The minister says there can be no economic progress in Africa without peace and security on the continent.

She adds while the AU has made significant moves towards stability in some of the worst affected countries, Burundi, northern Mali, South Sudan and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are worrying areas particularly for South Africa.

"We have investments in the areas."

Nkoana-Mashabane says South Africa will never champion military intervention above political means and delegates must keep this at the core of their interactions with African heads of states.