Media Statement

07 May 2013

Syrian Conflict: Condemnation of Israeli air attack on targets in Syria

The South African Government is deeply concerned over reports of alleged attacks by Israel over the weekend on targets inside the Syrian Arab Republic, the second and third such attacks since the start of 2013.  South Africa condemns these attacks, which constitute a serious breach of international law violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic.

These attacks are an extremely dangerous escalation of the crisis in Syria which could have dire implications for the stability of entire Middle East region.  South Africa calls for calm and implores countries of the region to refrain from further military action. Any foreign involvement or military action in Syria will have disastrous consequences for the entire region for decades to come.  It is further essential that the supply of foreign weapons to all parties in Syria be stopped as it results in the increasing militarization of the conflict.

South Africa has persistently called on all the parties to the conflict to stop the violence as well as respect and protect the rights of the Syrian population. Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, South Africa has condemned all human rights abuses in particular violations of the rights of vulnerable groups, such as women and children. All the parties to the current conflict have the responsibility to protect and preserve human rights.

South Africa reaffirms its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria and maintains that any political transition must reflect the will of the Syrian people. South Africa rejects any calls for regime change and outside military interference or any action not in line with the Charter of the United Nations.

Given this dangerous development, South Africa calls for restraint by all concerned.  South Africa further supports the efforts of the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and League of Arab States, Mr Lakhdar Brahimi, towards moving the parties to the negotiating table. The only sustainable resolution to the conflict is if the parties agree, without precondition, to meet each other in dialogue to discuss the future Syrian political dispensation along the lines agreed to in the Geneva Communiqué of 2012.

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

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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