Zuma warns against ‘many wars’

2013-09-03 13:00

President Jacob Zuma has warned against countries becoming involved in action against Syria independently, without United Nations sanction.

Zuma told journalists at a special media breakfast at the presidential guest house in Pretoria this morning that the UN alone could decide what should be done about reports that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons to kill its own citizens.

“There are rules and regulations that govern the question of chemical weapons. If those rules are violated the body that has to take decisions has to be the UN. That is why the correct actions by the UN has to be to send experts to verify allegations that chemical weapons (were) used on Syria.

“(Those) experts have to come back and report what type of weapons were used.”

There then has to be discussion and a decision on what kind of action should be taken, Zuma said.

He said individual countries can’t decide that another country has done wrong, and then unilaterally take action “because if you do so you could have many wars”.

US President Barack Obama over the weekend said the correct action against Syria would be a military strike of limited scope, but he said he would ask the US Congress to make the final decision on this.

The US claims to have evidence that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was behind the chemical weapons attacks.

Last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron failed to win parliamentary backing for his plan to strike Syria.

Zuma is due to leave for Russia this afternoon where he will attend the G20 summit as well as a meeting of Brics leaders on the sidelines.

South Africa as well as Russia have opposed military strikes against Syria.

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