SA backs UN observer mission to Syria

2012-04-14 11:09
Johannesburg - South Africa said it supported a Western-drafted UN Security Council resolution allowing a ceasefire observer mission in Syria as the body prepared to vote on Saturday.

The country, which is a non-permanent member of the Security Council, called on "all sides to the conflict to fully implement their commitments" made to the UN-Arab League Kofi Annan, deputy foreign minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said in a statement.

"The deputy minister reiterated South Africa's support for the call made by (Annan) regarding the urgent deployment of a UN Observer Mission to verify and monitor the ceasefire," the statement said.

A ceasefire came into force at dawn on Thursday after a 13-month crackdown on dissent that has cost an estimated more than 10 000 lives.

The United States called for a vote on the resolution to allow an advance mission of 30 military observers to go to Syria next week to monitor the ceasefire.

The 15-member council will hold the vote on Saturday, but support from Syria's main ally Russia is uncertain.

South Africa abstained from voting in a failed resolution last October that would have threatened possible action against President Bashar al-Assad.

The resolution had a "hidden agenda" to bring down Assad's government, South Africa said at the time.

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