South Africa abstains on the Vote in the UN Security Council on the situation in Syria, 05 October 2011

South Africa is deeply concerned about the deteriorating political and humanitarian situation in Syria.  It is our hope that this situation will be resolved in a peaceful manner in accordance with the will of the Syrian people.

We condemn the loss of life in Syria and call for maximum restraint from all the parties in the conflict.  We demand an immediate end to all violence in Syria.

On the humanitarian front, we call on the Syrian authorities to facilitate access by humanitarian agencies, including the United Nations in accordance with relevant international human rights and humanitarian law.

We urge the Syrian authorities to initiate an open, transparent and all-inclusive political process with its people to address their grievances in order to guarantee their fundamental political rights and freedoms, including their rights to freedom of assembly and speech. We also encourage the opposition to participate in this political process with a view to ensuring peace and stability in Syria.

A holistic political solution must be found that would respect democracy, political reform, justice, human rights as well as the socio-economic development needs of the people of Syria, in order to ensure long-term peace and stability. This solution must also preserve the unity, sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Syria.

Syria is integral to a wider resolution to the Middle East conflict.  Its stability is linked to that of its neighbours.  Therefore any action by the international community on Syria, including action by the Security Council should be cognizant of the regional implications. 

Further, we have seen that recently Security Council Resolutions have been abused and their implementation went far beyond the mandate of what was intended. 

In the resolution before us, South Africa was concerned about the sponsors’ intention to impose punitive measures which would have prejudged the implementation of the resolution.  We believe that these were designed as a prelude to further actions.

We were concerned that this resolution should not be part of a hidden agenda to yet again institute regime change. Accordingly, we are concerned that the sponsors of this resolution rejected language that clearly excluded military intervention in the resolution of the Syrian crisis.

We maintain that the Security Council should proceed with caution on Syria lest we exacerbate an already volatile situation.

It is for these reasons that South Africa abstained on the resolution.

Issued by DIRCO

For further information please contact Mr. Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO, on 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
Pretoria
http://www.dirco.gov.za/

05 October 2011

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