NAMIBIA’S historical relationship with North Korea, amid tightening international sanctions on the increasingly pariah Asian nation, presents an unenviable tightrope walk for the current administration.
This is a relationship inherited from the days of the liberation struggle, and which was continued by the Swapo-led governments in a democratic Namibia.
During the Cold War era, the ideological foundation of North Korea and other communist countries made it a natural ally against the interests of Western countries, as the battle for Africa’s natural resources unfolded.
The current context is that United Security Council recently agreed on its toughest-ever sanctions against North Korea, which passed unanimously, after the United States softened its initial demands to win support from China and Russia.
The fact that China and Russia supported these sanctions does not mean that they are cow-towing to the West; it simply means that they, like Namibia, have displayed the diplomatic acumen and knowledge of world affairs and its threats.
The sanctions set limits on North Korea’s oil imports and banned its textile exports, in an effort to deprive the reclusive nation of the income it needs to maintain its nuclear and ballistic missile program and increase the pressure to negotiate a way out of punishing sanctions.
Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasilly Nebenzia, has said that Moscow believes it would be “wrong” to allow North Korea’s nuclear testing to go unanswered. But he criticised the United States for not assuring Pyongyang that Washington does not seek war or regime change.
This is exactly the art of diplomacy, which is being practiced by Namibia, in the context of an unfolding global threat, with regards to North Korea’s persistent threat to deploy nuclear weapons, which has destabilised the world and threatens to destroy it.
In the midst of these diplomatic tussles, Namibia stands, while being berated by international media for its links with the so-called rogue State.
In the diplomatic minefield it is currently facing, Namibia also runs the risk of being seen as giving in to Western interests, but this is far from the truth.
The fact that the Namibian government has submitted reports to the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee as required, and that it is being open and transparent about the contracts that some North Korean companies were allocated for government infrastructure development projects, means that it is effectively complying with the UN requirements, including by terminating these contracts.
This has been reiterated by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who has also revealed that government has invited the UN Panel of Experts to visit Namibia, to assess its compliance with the UN Security Council sanctions resolutions on North Korea.
President Geingob led a high-powered delegation to New York in April to explain Namibia’s actions to the UN.
In September, Geingob further met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York and discussed a wide range of issues, among them Namibia’s relationship with sanctions-ridden North Korea.
This does not indicate a rejection of an ally, but the diplomatic acumen of Geingob and his team, who are steering Namibia on the right side of history, and perpetually onto the side of those who want peace and harmony in the world.
It would, therefore, be foolhardy to accuse Geingob and his government of “selling out” North Korea to anyone, while China and Russia are also working in the interest of dealing collectively with a threat to world peace.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015