Zuma warns against Syria strike

2013-08-29 20:38
President Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP)

President Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP)

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Pretoria - Any attack on strife-torn Syria without UN Security Council (UNSC) approval will violate international law, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

"We are concerned by the rhetoric of pointing to the possibility of a military intervention," he told reporters after meeting Sao Tome and Principe President Manuel Pinto da Costa in Pretoria.

"South Africa does not believe that bombing the already suffering people and crumbling infrastructure of Syria will contribute to a sustainable solution."

Zuma said under certain circumstances, the UNSC could mandate the use of military force after other interventions had failed.

"Any attack on Syria without the UN Security Council authorisation would constitute a grave violation of international law and dangerously undermine international order."

Zuma warned that the UNSC should not be used to authorise military interventions aimed at regime change.

"We encourage all parties involved in the current conflict in Syria to engage in a process of all-inclusive national dialogue, free from any form of violence, intimidation or outside interference aimed at regime change."

Western countries are drawing up a possible military response - likely to be limited to missile attacks - to a suspected chemical weapons attack near Damascus last week that activists say killed hundreds of people.

At the same time, UN inspectors will examine one of the sites of the alleged attack.

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