Interference in the Middle East leads to 'endless conflict' - Zuma

2015-11-17 19:27
President Jacob Zuma. (Picture: Leanne Stander/Foto24)

President Jacob Zuma. (Picture: Leanne Stander/Foto24)

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Pretoria - The use of military force and interference in some Middle East and North African countries was a cause of "endless conflict", President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday. 

"Our belief is interference in some countries in the Middle East and North Africa, coupled with the use of military force to solve problems continues to cause instability and endless conflict," he said during a toast for the official visit by Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

"We know Europe is facing difficulties through the increasing numbers of refugees, many of whom are fleeing conflicts. It is important not to conflate the migration and terrorism issues and not to label all refugees as terrorists."

This echoed what he had said during a media briefing on Tuesday.

"It is our strong belief the interference by outside parties in some countries and the pursuit of the regime change doctrine has perpetuated a cycle of conflict and instability in many parts of North Africa and the Middle East," Zuma said. 

"The preference for military action instead of political solutions becomes a breeding ground for violent extremism and terrorism."

In his toast Zuma said while the attacks in Paris had been discussed, other "senseless attacks" happened in Lebanon and Turkey. 

"Countries in the Middle East and on our continent, for example Nigeria and Kenya, have experienced callous attacks as well," Zuma said. 

"South Africa remains firm in its condemnation of all forms of terrorism and we pledge our support for countering this threat within the framework of the United Nations.

"The ongoing attacks make it imperative global action be taken to arrest the scourge of terrorism and... deal with the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism."

Zuma said Africa had its own "pockets of conflict" and was seeking "homegrown solutions" while seeking support from development partners abroad. The African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) and the multinational African Standby Force had successfully held their first joint exercise in South Africa last month.

The African Union established the force to intervene when conflicts arose.

Paris attacks

On Friday gunmen and suicide bombers launched a series of attacks at several Parisian locations, killing at least 132 people.

The simultaneous attacks took place at some of the French capital's most popular night-spots, including a sold-out concert hall, at restaurants and bars and outside the country's national stadium.
The self-styled Islamic State (ISIS) has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attacks. They also reportedly claimed responsibility for the attacks in Lebanon and are presumed to be responsible for the attack in Turkey. 

Two suicide bombers attacked the Lebanese capital Beirut on Thursday, killing at least 43 people and leaving 239 wounded.

On October 10 102 people died and more than 400 injured when two bombs were detonated in the Ankara Central railway station in Turkey.

Read more on:    au  |  jacob zuma  |  pretoria  |  paris under attack

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