6 February 2012
South Africa has condemned the violent loss of life in Syria and called for maximum restraint from all parties to the conflict, which has continued to escalate despite calls from the international community for the Syrian government and opposition to settle their differences peacefully.
“We urge the parties to immediately stop the violence and commit themselves to finding a peaceful political solution through a Syrian-led and owned, transparent and all-inclusive political process that will fulfil the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people,” International Relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in a statement on Monday.
Pretoria believes that the political process should ensure people’s fundamental political rights and freedoms, and restore the people’s dignity through the delivery of democracy, political reform, justice, human rights and socio-economic development.
“We believe that such a solution will ensure long-term peace and stability,” Monyela said, urging the Syrian government to speed up the implementation of the reforms already announced.
Monyela urged the opposition to commit to fully participating in the implementation of these reforms.
South Africa backs UN resolution
UN Security Council members were unable to agree over the weekend on a resolution backing an Arab League plan to resolve the crisis in Syria.
Thirteen of the Council’s 15 members voted in favour of a draft text submitted by Morocco, but China and Russia exercised their vetoes. A veto by any one of the Council’s five permanent members means a resolution cannot be adopted.
South Africa was one of the countries who voted in favour of this draft resolution.
During the vote, Pretoria said it believed that it had the potential to help facilitate a Syrian-led political dialogue between the Syrian parties to bring long-term peace and stability to that country in accordance with the aspirations of the Syrian people.
“Fundamentally, no foreign or external parties should interfere in Syria as they engage in the critical decision-making processes on the future of their country,” Monyela said on Monday. “Any solution must preserve the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.”
Pretoria also believes that the efforts of the League of Arab States, as the organisation with knowledge of and proximity to the situation in Syria, should be supported and given the necessary political space to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.
The Arab League plan, as outlined in the draft, calls for “a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system, in which citizens are equal regardless of their affiliations or ethnicities or beliefs, including through commencing a serious political dialogue between the Syrian government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition under the League of Arab States’ auspices, in accordance with the timetable set out by the League of Arab States”.