Media Statement

4 August 2015

Deputy Minister Mfeketo met her Syrian counterpart for bilateral consultations

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo today Tuesday, 4 August 2015, met Dr Fayssal al Mekdad, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates for the Syrian Arab Republic for bilateral consultations in Cape Town.

The discussions focused on bilateral relations and the renewing of the Protocol on Cooperation between South Africa and Syria for another 5 years. Diplomatic relations between Syria and South Africa were established on 1 June 1994. Both countries maintain resident diplomatic Missions in each other’s country.

The discussions also served as an opportunity for Dr Mekdad who as the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates for Syria has in many ways played an active role on the international stage, to provide a comprehensive overview of the situation in his homeland and the greater Levant region.

Deputy Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo in turn stressed that thee South African Government views the unfolding events in Syria in a very serious light and condemns in the strongest possible terms the heinous criminal actions of the so-called Islamic State, the al Nusra Front and all other terrorist factions which amount to gross violation of human rights and ethnic cleansing. South Africa rejects any calls for regime change and external military interference or any action not in line with the Charter of the United Nations and that South Africa remains convinced that in a complex and diverse society such as Syria, there can be no military solution to the conflict.

Deputy Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo further stressed that South Africa strongly believes that the solution to the on-going conflict must be Syrian led and that it is essential that an inclusive, Syrian led political process be supported by a united, cohesive international effort towards a negotiated political transition aimed at establishing a democratic and inclusive society based on the Geneva Peace Process on Syria and as contained in the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012.

Deputy Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo emphasised that the South African government will continue to call on the international community to utilise all multilateral fora and bilateral mechanisms to bring about peace in Syria through negotiations, as well as call on all states to exert pressure on all non-state actors supporting IS and other terrorist organisations that are fuelling the insurgency through supplying financing and weapons, to desist, so as to bring the war and conflict in Syria to an end.

Enquiries: Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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