[JURIST] Leading Thursday's international brief, Senior government ministers from South Africa [government website] and Zimbabwe [government website] met Thursday to sign an official agreement strengthening ties between the nations' intelligence, defense, and police services. The agreement creates a joint commission to deal with national defense, promotes the cooperation between the two nations' police forces, and addresses issues of cross-border concern like drug shipments and illegal immigrants. The agreement represents the strategy of South African President Thabo Mbeki [official profile] to effect change in Zimbabwe through 'quiet diplomacy' rather than joining the significant number of nations and the international community that have condemned the actions [JURIST report] of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile]. Mugabe maintains that his country's 400 percent inflations, 1/3 unemployment, and near starving populace is a result of concentrated attacks from Britain and the United States to topple his government. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of South Africa and Zimbabwe [JURIST news archives]. South Africa's News 24 has local coverage.
In other international legal news ...
- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon [official profile] announced Thursday that national elections, not scheduled for nearly another year, will instead be held in late February or early March. Israeli law requires that elections be held by a certain date after the previous set of elections, but allows elections to be moved forward. Sharon called for the elections after a meeting with Labour leader Amir Peretz, who recently announced his intent to withdraw the Labour party from Sharon's coalition government. Both Peretz and Sharon said that the elections were necessary to establish firm government control for whichever ruling party is elected so that 2006 is not a 'lot year' in light of the serious negotiations scheduled with Palestinian leaders. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Israel [JURIST news archive]. Yedioth Ahronoth has local coverage.
- A situation report by UN investigators in Cote d'Ivoire has warned the UN Security Council [official website] that the Ivorian presidency, under Laurent Gbagbo [official website, in French] who was granted the right to remain in power [Resolution 1633, PDF text] for one year by the Security Council after his term ended in October in order to allow a new Prime Minister to be selected, has been building up its air force in violation of an international arms embargo [Resolution 1572, PDF text] imposed by the Council. The report states that the build-up of fighter planes is a clear attempt to intimidate the major rebel factions opposing the current government in spite of a recent agreement to attempt a peaceful settlement between the parties. Greek Ambassador to the UN Adamantios Vassilakis has warned that if Ivorian forces do not cease and desist within one week, they will face increased sanctions from the UN Security Council. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Cote d'Ivoire [JURIST news archive]. BBC News has more.