21 January 2014
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane to take part in the International High-Level Meeting on Syria
The South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, has accepted an invitation from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to attend the High Level International Meeting on the Conflict in Syria, scheduled to start in Montreux, Switzerland on 22 January 2014.
The meeting forms part of the Geneva II Peace Conference. The meeting, to be chaired by the UN Secretary-General, will bring selected states and international organisations together in an effort to assist the Syrian parties in ending the violence and achieving a comprehensive agreement for a political settlement, implementing fully the Geneva Communiqué, while preserving the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.
The international meeting will be followed by negotiations between the two Syrian parties, facilitated by the UN-League of Arab States Joint Special Representative for Syria, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, in Geneva on 24 January 2014.
South Africa is deeply disappointed by the fact that the Syrian conflict has been raging for nearly three years with devastating humanitarian consequences, in particular the violation of the rights of vulnerable groups such as women and children with accompanying wanton destruction of both property and resources.
The situation in Syria is evolving into one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent times with severe political and economic consequences for the entire region.
The South African government welcomes the opportunity to participate in the Geneva II Conference, which is long-overdue. South Africa has remained steadfast in its belief that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Syria and this Conference is a welcome step in the right direction toward bringing an end to the suffering of the Syrian people.
South Africa believes that democracy is an unassailable right of the Syrian people. The South African Government is thus committed to encouraging all parties involved in the current conflict in Syria to engage in a process of all-inclusive national dialogue, free of any form of violence, intimidation or outside interference aimed at Government change, in order to satisfy the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Syrian people.
South Africa believes it is essential that a political path be supported by a united, cohesive international effort towards a Syrian-led, negotiated political transition aimed at establishing a democratic and pluralistic society in which minorities are protected.
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
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