South African engagement in Discussions with Players and Nations at the United Nations regarding the voting on a Resolution of the United Nations to pave way for Peaceful Transition and quell Human Rights Violations concerning Syria and other Arab League Nations

QUOTE

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES

FOR ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NO: 17 (C0104E)

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 1-2012 OF 6 MARCH 2012

Ms N D Ntwanambi (ANC-WC) to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation:

  1. Whether, in light of the recent (a) voting on the resolution of the United Nations to pave way for peaceful transition and quell human rights violations and (b) shooting of innocent protesters in Syria, South Africa has been engaged in any discussions with other major players and nations at the UN to prevent a situation similar that occurred in Libya; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;

  2. whether South Africa has made any attempts to engage in bilateral talks with political leaders in Syria or any other Arab League nations to ensure that Syria engages in peaceful transition and political dialogue that will achieve long-term peace and stability; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

REPLY:

  1. Yes.  As a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the two year period 2011/12, South Africa has actively participated in all deliberations at the Council on developments in Syria since the start of public protests in that country during March 2011. During these discussions, South Africa made it clear that it was opposed to any form of external intervention to bring about regime change in Syria, as had occurred in Libya and that it was up to the Syrian people themselves to bring about the changes in government they desired through all-inclusive national dialogue, free of violence and intimidation.  In the UNSC, South Africa supported the draft resolution introduced by the League of Arab States, which reflected this approach, but which was vetoed by China and Russia. In the UN General Assembly, where there is no veto right, South Africa subsequently voted in favour of a similar resolution, which was adopted by an overwhelming majority.

  2. Yes. South Africa has actively engaged at high level with the Syrian authorities in this context, both bilaterally and within the framework of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) forum. The situation in Syria was also discussed during a meeting of the BRICS countries, i.e. Brazil, India, Russia, China and South Africa. Talks have also been held with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States.

UNQUOTE

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