Syria: SA calls for talks, UN-sanctioned action

2013-08-29 12:01

The South African government has called for talks to solve the crisis in Syria, but said if military force was needed, it should be sanctioned by the UN Security Council.

“Any attack on Syria without UN Security Council authorisation would constitute a grave violation of international law that would severely undermine international order,” Clayson Monyela, the department of international relations spokesperson, said this morning.

He said the South African government “is concerned by the dangerous rhetoric pointing to the possibility of a military intervention”.

Monyela said all parties involved in the current conflict in Syria should “engage in a process of all-inclusive national dialogue, free of any form of violence, intimidation or outside interference aimed at regime change, in order to satisfy the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Syrian people”.

He added that the government was “alarmed” at the conflict and “condemns the use of chemical weapons”.

He said: “South Africa believes that the UN weapons inspectors should be allowed the time to complete their investigation and announce findings on the use of chemical weapons, while no effort should be spared to convene the proposed Geneva II Peace Conference as soon as possible.”

The statement came as the US moved to prepare for a strike on Syria, abandoning the hunt for a last-minute UN mandate.

President Barack Obama of the US previously warned that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would cross a US “red line”.

The US also believes that the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the apparent chemical weapons attacks on civilians in Syria in the past week.

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