Press Statement

South Africa’s stance regarding UN Security Council Vote on Syria

06 February 2012

The South African Government remains deeply concerned about the political, security, socio-economic and humanitarian situation in Syria that continues to escalate despite calls from the international community for the Syrian Government and the armed opposition to stop the violence and settle their differences in a peaceful manner.

South Africa condemns the violent loss of life in Syria and call for maximum restraint from all the parties to the conflict.

We urge the parties to immediately stop the violence and commit themselves to finding a peaceful political solution, through a Syrian-led and owned, transparent and all-inclusive political process that will fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. Among others, the political process should ensure the guarantee of the people’s fundamental political rights and freedoms and restore the people’s dignity through the delivery of democracy, political reform, justice, human rights and socio-economic development.  We believe that such a solution will ensure long-term peace and stability.

We regret the slow progress in the implementation of the reforms already announced and encourage the Syrian government to implement these reforms expeditiously. We urge the opposition to commit to fully participate in the implementation of these reforms.

South Africa believes that the efforts of the League of Arab States, as the organisation with knowledge of and proximity to the situation in Syria, should be supported and given the necessary political space to find a solution to the Syrian crisis. South Africa supports the efforts of the League of Arab States in order to facilitate a Syrian-led political process as stated in the resolution.

It is important that the Syrian people be allowed to decide their own fate, including their future leadership. Fundamentally, no foreign or external parties should interfere in Syria as they engage in the critical decision-making processes on the future of their country. Any solution must preserve the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. We were also satisfied that the final draft resolution was not aimed at imposing regime change in Syria, which would be against the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

South Africa sincerely hopes that the Syrian Government and the opposition will continue to cooperate with the League of Arab States in its efforts to assist them reach a peaceful political solution. We further call on the international community to render support to this process and refrain from actions and statements that may polarise the parties and delay or even paralyse the League of Arab States process.

The current political environment in the Middle East, a region whose geo-politics cannot afford to have a weak or conflict–ridden Syria, warrants us to act responsibly in the interests of regional and international peace and security.

South Africa has voted in favour of this resolution because we believed that it had the potential to help facilitate a Syrian-led political dialogue between the Syrian parties and bring long-term peace and stability in the country, in accordance with the aspirations of the Syrian people.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, 082 884 5974.

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

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