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The second Council Meeting of the Association of Senates, Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab world was held in Sana’a, Yemen upon the generous

invitation of the Shoora Council of Yemen from Wednesday 9th to Thursday 10th of November 2005. The meeting was attended by delegates from the following Senates/Councils:
1. Senate of the Republic of Madagascar led by H.E. Rajemison Rakotomaharo, President of Senate.
2. National Council of Provinces in South Africa led by H.E. Abdul Hamid Gabier, Ambassador of South Africa in Saudi Arabia.
3. The Council of the Nation in Algeria led by H.E. Abdul Razaq Bou Hara, Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Nation.
4. House of Counselors of Morocco led by H.E. Moustapha Oukasha, Chairman of the House of Counselors.
5. House of Chiefs of Botswana led by H.E. Kgosi Seepapitso, Chairman of the House of Chiefs.
6. House of the Federation of Ethiopia led by H.E. Degefe Bula, Speaker of the House of the Federation.
7. Al Ayan Council of Jordan led by H.E. Dr.Abdul Salam Al Magali, First deputy Chairman of Al Ayan Council.
8. Senate of Lesotho led by H.E. J.S. Lejaha, President of Senate.
9. National Council of Namibia led by H.E. Asser Kapere, Chairman of the National Council.
10. Senate of Nigeria led by H.E. Distinguished Senator Jonathan S. Zwingina, Deputy Senate Leader.
11. Shoora Council of Yemen led by H.E Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani, Chairman of the Shoora Council, and the Chairman of the Association.
12. Shoora Council of Saudi Arabia led by H.E.Abdul Rahman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Swailm, Member of the Shoora Council.
13. Shoora Council of Qatar led by H.E. Eissa Bin Ruba'a Al Kawari, Deputy Chairman of the Shoora Council.
14. Shoora Council in Egypt led by H.E. Mohammed Abdul Rahim Nafee, President of the Constitution's Affairs committee in the Shoora Council.
15. Shoora Council of Bahrain led by H.E. Mansour Hassan Bin Rajab, Second Deputy Chairman of the Shoora Council.
16. States' Council of Sudan led by H.E. Ali Yehya Bin Abdulah, President of the States' Council.
17. House of Counselors of Tunisia led by Said Nasser Ramadhan, Member of the House of Counselors.
18. State Council of Oman Sultanate represented by H.E. Abdulah Bin Hamad Al Badi, Ambassador of Oman in Yemen.
- The Senates that were absent with apology were the Senates in Burundi, Swaziland, Gabon and Mauritania.
 

The second Council Meeting of the Association of Senates, Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab world was held in Sana’a, Yemen upon the generous invitation of the Shoora Council of Yemen from Wednesday 9th to Thursday 10th of November 2005. The meeting was attended by delegates from the following Senates/Councils:
1. Senate of the Republic of Madagascar led by H.E. Rajemison Rakotomaharo, President of Senate.
2. National Council of Provinces in South Africa led by H.E. Abdul Hamid Gabier, Ambassador of South Africa in Saudi Arabia.
3. The Council of the Nation in Algeria led by H.E. Abdul Razaq Bou Hara, Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Nation.
4. House of Counselors of Morocco led by H.E. Moustapha Oukasha, Chairman of the House of Counselors.
5. House of Chiefs of Botswana led by H.E. Kgosi Seepapitso, Chairman of the House of Chiefs.
6. House of the Federation of Ethiopia led by H.E. Degefe Bula, Speaker of the House of the Federation.
7. Al Ayan Council of Jordan led by H.E. Dr.Abdul Salam Al Magali, First deputy Chairman of Al Ayan Council.
8. Senate of Lesotho led by H.E. J.S. Lejaha, President of Senate.
9. National Council of Namibia led by H.E. Asser Kapere, Chairman of the National Council.
10. Senate of Nigeria led by H.E. Distinguished Senator Jonathan S. Zwingina, Deputy Senate Leader.
11. Shoora Council of Yemen led by H.E Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani, Chairman of the Shoora Council, and the Chairman of the Association.
12. Shoora Council of Saudi Arabia led by H.E.Abdul Rahman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Swailm, Member of the Shoora Council.
13. Shoora Council of Qatar led by H.E. Eissa Bin Ruba'a Al Kawari, Deputy Chairman of the Shoora Council.
14. Shoora Council in Egypt led by H.E. Mohammed Abdul Rahim Nafee, President of the Constitution's Affairs committee in the Shoora Council.
15. Shoora Council of Bahrain led by H.E. Mansour Hassan Bin Rajab, Second Deputy Chairman of the Shoora Council.
16. States' Council of Sudan led by H.E. Ali Yehya Bin Abdulah, President of the States' Council.
17. House of Counselors of Tunisia led by Said Nasser Ramadhan, Member of the House of Counselors.
18. State Council of Oman Sultanate represented by H.E. Abdulah Bin Hamad Al Badi, Ambassador of Oman in Yemen.
- The Senates that were absent with apology were the Senates in Burundi, Swaziland, Gabon and Mauritania.
 

1- Opening Speech of the Chairman of the Association:

 

At the beginning of its meeting, the Council listened to the opening speech delivered by His Excellency, Abdul-Aziz Abdul-Ghani, Speaker of the Shoora Council in Yemen and Chairman of the Association who conveyed to the meeting the compliments of His Excellency, President Ali Abdulah Salih and his wishes of success for the meeting. The Chairman welcomed the Association's members to the 2nd Council meeting, which was held at an opportune time for the young Association. He drew attention to the Association’s achievements during the last year, as well as topical issues in the Africa and the Arab Regions affecting economic and political developments and the Association’s position towards them. The Chairman also called upon the Council to endorse proposed Association's activities for the coming year and the modalities for achieving them.
The Council adopted the Chairman's speech as one of the documents to be discussed during the session.

2- Secretary General's report:

The Council adopted the report presented by the Association's Secretary General. The report included the General Secretariat's activities during the past year, the achievements of the General Secretariat and its problems. The Secretary General presented in the report activities for 2006 and the budget for the year.
The Secretary General drew the Council's attention to the Socio-Economic, political and cultural developments in the region during the year and urged the Council to deliberate upon them.
The Council adopted the Secretary General’s report as the bases of its discussion in accordance with the Association's Rules of Procedure.

3- Speeches of the delegations:

Some delegations delivered speeches at the meeting. They stressed the importance of promoting the Association’s work, of consolidating the Arab-African relations, as well as encouraging and strengthening the General Secretariat to achieve the objectives and lofty ideals for which the Association was founded.

4- Formation of committees:

The council formed four committees from among its members to examine the issues and topics proposed to the meeting by the Secretary-General. The committees were:
a) Future activities committee.
b) Committee on the amendments of the statute and the rules of procedure.
c) Budget committee, and
d) Communiqué committee.
 

5-Amendment of the statute and rules of procedure:

The Council considered the two draft amendments submitted by the Association's General Secretariat on the statute and the rules of procedure. These two drafts were aimed at clarifying some contents and terms used in the documents, to enhance the Association's performance.
The Committee recommended and the council approved part of those proposals.

6-  Activities for 2006:

The Council considered and approved the following activities outlined for the Association in 2006:
a) Study Visit Exchange Programme
First Quarter – (January - March)
In furtherance of Articles 33 and 37 of the Association’s Rules of Procedure which aim at promoting regular meetings among the members, to facilitate joint action, advance cooperation and exchange expertise as well as discuss issues of common interest within the national and international spheres, the Council considered and approved a Study Visit Exchange Programme, to be undertaken by the members of the Association during the first quarter of 2006.

The scheme is to enable member Senates and Councils to visit one another, on a scheduled programme, to share experiences and rub minds on parliamentary activities, the democratic environment and the structures in which they are operating.

In that way, it is believed that Members will appreciate more keenly the problems, advances and the needs of one another, be it in technical, professional and administrative areas. Eventually assistance will be rendered to the different Councils as required.
(b) Retreat for Members
Second Quarter (April – June)
The Council considered and approved the proposal for a retreat for Member Councils and Senates scheduled to take place between April and June 2006. The Secretariat was directed to liaise with member countries and complete arrangements for the retreat during the second quarter of 2006.
The purpose of the retreat is to bring Members together in a relaxed environment where, with the collaboration of experts in parliamentary studies and international relations, the Members will review their activities, attitudes, privileges and obligations as Statesmen and Parliamentarians at the apex level, in respect of national policy process. It will also be possible for Members to discuss the contribution of Parliaments to nation building, human rights and the constraints on socio-economic, political and cultural development of Africa and the Arab nations.

The retreat will be enjoined to deliberate on the practice and progress of democracy in the region and in conclusion seek ways to consolidate the position of ASSECAA as the voice of Africa and the Arab World during inter-regional dialogues and at the world Parliamentary forums.

(c) Workshop for Administrative Heads of Member Senates and Councils
Third Quarter (July - September)
The Council considered and approved the proposal for a workshop for administrative Heads of member Senates and Councils and resolved that the General Secretariat should liaise with member countries to determine venue and time for the workshop. The purpose of the workshop is to bring together the Heads of Administration in the member Senates and Councils to enable them to share experiences, expertise and enrich their working knowledge in the processing of legislative instruments and usages. The facilitators will lead the workshop to reflect deeply on the contribution of efficient administrative machinery and research to political leadership and the independence of the legislature.
 

 

7- Proposal from the House of Counselors of Morocco and the Shoora Council of Bahrain:

The council discussed the proposals submitted to enhance the Association's activities in 2006 and beyond as proposed by the House of Counselors of Morocco and the Shoora Council of Bahrain.
Their proposals reflect the ideas, and ambitions enunciated at the inauguration of the Association, and were keen on translating into demonstrable events the principles and aims for which the Association was established.
The proposals aimed at consolidating joint action and intensifying cooperation between the Africa and the Arab world in different fields of human endeavor, particularly the support of common values that member countries believe in. Among these values are the dissemination of the principles of democracy, reinforcing the rule of law, respecting cultural diversity, contributing to the spreading of bicameralism, supporting peaceful and democratic dialogues, promoting the status of Arab and African countries and keeping pace with the logic of regionalism unity and blocs whose rhythms are increasing to achieve more solid cooperation among nations. These intentions also look forward to eradicating the reason for tension, poverty and backwardness and contributing to the creation of security and peace in Africa, the Arab region and the rest of the world.
In order to achieve these objectives, the Association’s Council underlined the importance of promoting communication among member councils and increasing cooperation among them. The Council stressed that the General Secretariat should expedite action on the visit exchange programs, as well as other programs that encourage bilateral and multilateral meetings among member councils to enable them to discuss and coordinate positions.
The meeting called on member countries to provide possible facilities that would facilitate the implementation of these activities, where member councils bear the expenses for traveling while hosting countries bear the expenses for accommodation.
The Council approved, in principle, the ideas mentioned in the proposal submitted by the House of Counselors in Morocco and referred the proposals to the General Secretariat for extensive study and articulation of formula capable of implementing them, selecting a well – planned and applicable time-table.
The council called on the General Secretariat to coordinate between member Councils to enhance communication and visits between them, provided that the General Secretariat does not bear any charges related to the implementation of these programs.
 

8- Association's budget for 2006:

The Council approved the report of the Budget Committee on 2006 draft budget submitted by the Association's General Secretariat. The total value of the budget which the Council approved for the Association's personnel cost and activities in 2006 was $603,000.

9- Dates and venue for the Association's Conference and Council meeting for 2006-2007-2008:

The Council took notice of the desire of some member councils to host the Association's conference and council Meeting for 2006-2007-2008. The council approved that the Association's conference for 2006 be held in Bahrain and in South Africa in 2007 and to be held in Nigeria in 2008.

10- Mauritania's Membership:

The council took notice of the current political development in Mauritania, where a military putsch has led to the dissolution of the Senate in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
The Council considered the appeal submitted by the Association's Assistant Secretary–General from Mauritania. The paper indicated Mauritania's desire to keep its membership in the Association, pending the election of a new senate. The council approved the request.
 

11- New Members

The Council considered the application for membership by the States' Council of the Republic of Sudan and the Senate of the Republic of Congo Kinshasa. The Council approved the applications and welcomed the delegates of Sudan to the meeting. Delegates from Congo Kinshasa were regrettably absent and the delegates from the House of Counselors in Tunisia elected to report their observations to their Council before applying for membership. The Chairman urged the new members to be dedicated to the objectives and principles for which the Association was founded.

12-Institutional Development of the Association:

The meeting praised what has been achieved at the level of the Association's institutional structure as represented by firm establishment of the General Secretariat, the signing of the Headquarters Agreement with the Republic of Yemen and the efforts of the General Secretariat to join and be recognized by international organizations. It was also observed that the General Secretariat had striven commendably to translate the aims and principles on which the Association was founded into practical events and activities. The General Secretariat has endeavored to carry out the resolution of the conference of the Association and its Council. The Council observed that the fulfilling of financial obligations by members represents a strong encouragement in this regard. The Council urged the consolidation of the parliamentary diplomatic role being envisaged for the Association and the intensification of the Arab-African dialogue being demonstrated by the Association's regular meetings.

13-General Principles of the Association:

 The 2nd Council meeting reiterated its deep and abiding faith in democracy, respect for human rights, commitment to standards of good governance, based on national ideals away from any dictation or external imposition. The Council rejected any form of interference in the internal affairs of any country.
The meeting stressed that each country has the right to adopt the methodology it sees convenient for governance, without any external dictations, through its commitment to respect for freedom and fundamental rights of citizens. The Council insisted on the sovereignty of each country and its right to manage its affairs, without impinging on the rights of other countries. The Council rejected the hegemony policy, attempts to resort to foreign countries in the event of internal political disagreements, since it could lead to legitimizing foreign occupation.
The Association's Council, highlighting the principle of dialogue, as a civilization value which enables all countries, peoples and nations to resolve differences without recourse to violence, leading to the correct human path, reiterated its condemnation and rejection of all forms and images of terrorism, since it is an assault against human life, dignity and all high human values, inspired by religion and civilization. The Council stated that terrorism should not be linked to any religion, nation or culture and there should not be any confusion between terrorism and resistance to foreign occupation or other forms of national struggle aiming at liberation from colonialism as stipulated in the United Nations charter and the Human Rights Convention.
 

14- Terrorist Attack in Jordan

The Council learned with grief, the criminal attacks in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the 9th of November 2005. The council extended its heartfelt condolences to the Jordanian government and to the innocent victims' families and expressed its strong condemnation of these barbaric and heinous attacks that are targeting innocent people. The Council reasserted the urgent and the utmost need, for cooperation within the international community, to eradicate these terrorist phenomena, which targets humanity and the human civilization as a whole.
The Association's Council, having examined the painful results of the tragic conflicts and wars in the African and Arab region, looked forward to a more positive role to be played by the international community in contributing to put an end to these tragic events through a mission based on mutual respect, legitimacy, national sovereignty and the legitimate rights of people and nations to end all forms of foreign occupation and exploitation so as to achieve the aspirations of peace and stability.
The Council reiterated that of priority should be to work towards putting an end to the Palestinian people's suffering and allowing them to establish an independent state.
The Council also took note of the analysis presented by the General Secretariat of the Association on the situation in Iraq and the constant attacks targeting innocent people in different cities in Iraq. The Council condemned these killings no matter what was their origin or cause. It emphasized the importance of expediting the ending of foreign occupation of Iraq so that the Iraqis could manage their own affairs.
The Council thus commended the measures taken in the framework of the current democratic process in Iraq aiming at restoring peace based on national unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iraq.
The meeting welcomed with great enthusiasm the beginning of the restoration of peace in Sudan, which has embarked on a new positive era of development, with the national unity government, after a long era of conflict between the north and the south. The Council expressed hope that the peace environment would expand to cover the Darfur province thus safeguarding Sudan’s unity, security, stability, progress and prosperity.
The meeting called upon the international community to increase its efforts in conflict resolution. In this regard it appreciated the role of the African Union, and particularly that of IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority for Developments) to ensure the success of dialogue in Somalia, in order to restore peace and stability in that country, to re-launch the reconstruction of state institution and supporting them in carrying out their duties and responsibilities towards achieving the highest level of progress for the Somali people and ending their armed conflicts.
The Council observed with regret that poverty remains one of the main constraints faced by the developing countries, which include many of the Association's members. Poverty is still a key obstacle hindering the countries’ ambitions towards progress and development. Therefore, the Association’s Council called upon all member states to increase their efforts to address this challenge. It also called upon the international community and rich countries in particular to assume their responsibilities, intensify their cooperation through the forgiving of debts that constitute a burden for poor countries and help these countries to have access to science and technology which would enable them to achieve development, provide better life for their citizens, fight deadly diseases and reduce unemployment.
At the end of its meeting in the historic capital of Yemen, the Council of the Association of Senates, Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab world, expressed gratitude for the generous hospitality and warm welcome from the host country. The Council acknowledged the contributions of the Yemeni government, which provided the facilities and necessary equipment for the Association’s work. The Council thanked the Yemeni government for providing the office which houses the Association's General Secretariat to conduct the tasks entrusted to it and assume its responsibilities. The second meeting of the Association’s Council also thanked the Shoora council in the Yemeni Republic for the generous hospitality towards the participating delegations, thus leading to the success of the Council's meeting and reaching these decisions and recommendations.
The participants agreed to submit a letter of appreciation to His Excellency, Ali Abdulah Salih, the President of the Republic, to express their gratitude for the political will of the republic of Yemen, and for supporting this association in the achievement of the objectives it was set to realize.

The 2nd Council meeting of the Association of Senates,
Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab world.
Sana'a. 10 November 2005