20 March 2013
South Africa condemns the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict
The South African Government is deeply concerned over reports emanating from Aleppo, Syria, that on Tuesday, 19 March 2013, 16 people lost their lives and 100 more were injured in what appears to be an attack using chemical weapons.
Reacting to this development, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim, said: “The alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria is of serious concern and would introduce an extremely dangerous element into the conflict, which is wholly unacceptable by any standard. No cause could ever justify the use of weapons of mass destruction.
“South Africa is gravely concerned about the serious escalation of the conflict in Syria. We have consistently called on all the parties to the conflict to stop the violence as well as protect the rights of the Syrian population.
“Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, South Africa has condemned the abuse of human rights, in particular violations of the rights of vulnerable groups, such as women and children. Weapons of mass destruction are particularly heinous because they target innocent civilians. All the parties to the current conflict have a responsibility to protect and preserve human rights.
“South Africa reaffirms its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria. There is no military solution to the conflict. The only way to stop the further destruction of Syrian society is for the parties to come together in dialogue without delay. Any political transition must reflect the will of the Syrian people. South Africa rejects any calls for forced regime change and outside military interference or any action not in line with the Charter of the United Nations.
“South Africa calls for restraint on the part of all parties to the conflict and again emphasizes the need for an immediate political settlement as expressed by the Geneva Joint Communiqué.”
Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, +27 82 884 5974
Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road