Govt condemns violence in Syria

2012-07-19 22:25

Johannesburg - The South African government added its voice to the growing alarm over the conflict in Syria, ahead of a United Nations Security Council Meeting on the situation on Thursday.

"South Africa deplores the continuing violence in Syria, which is spinning out of control," said Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Ebrahim Ebrahim.

"Our highest priority is to stop the killing and end the suffering of innocent civilians," he said.

The meeting was supposed to have taken place on Wednesday but was postponed in a disagreement over what has been reported as a "West-East" disagreement over whether sanctions should be imposed.

South Africa had been calling for an immediate end to the violence and for talks to reach a Syrian-led transition reflecting the will of the Syrians.

"There is no military solution to the dispute. It is for this reason that South Africa strongly supports the tireless efforts of Mr Annan," he said referring to Joint Special Envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan.

Ebrahim said the bomb in the capital Damascus on Wednesday, which killed senior government officials including defence minister Daoud Rajha, and "the many horrific massacres" of the past few weeks show there were two sides to the conflict.

Agence France Presse reported Syrian media as saying on Wednesday that President Bashar Assad's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat and General Hassan Turkmani, head of the government's crisis cell on the uprising, were also killed.

Ebrahim said the International Committee of the Red Cross/Crescent had classified the situation as being an internal armed conflict, or in layman's terms, a civil war. Such classifications were a clear indication that the situation had reached a threshold of a civil war in which all parties had responsibilities and obligations under international humanitarian law.

"The international community must urgently respond to the escalating violence in Syria in a stern and balanced manner, based on the realities on the ground," continued Ebrahim.

Balanced decision

The Security Council should "express strong and unified support for Mr Annan and to call on all parties to cease the violence immediately".

He said the UN Charter determines that the Security Council should make proposals for conflict resolution and address failures of implementation with its decisions, without prejudice to the rights of the parties concerned.

"South Africa will therefore support any decision of the Security Council that is balanced and geared towards supporting Mr Annan's call for all sides in the conflict to adhere to their commitments under his six point plan."

A UN communiqué said that the crisis had "continued unabated" since an uprising against Assad began about 16 months ago.

The UN estimated that over 10 000 people, mostly civilians, had been killed there and tens of thousands displaced.

The UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) had also recently suspended its regular patrols due to the escalating violence on the ground.

Its mandate ends on 20 July and Thursday's discussions were expected to also decide whether to extend the mandate.

South Africa supported the extension of the mandate, Ebrahim said.

The six point plan that Annan proposed and hoped Syria would accept included that they commit to work with the envoy, that they stop the fighting, stop troop movements in populated areas, start pulling troops out of these areas, allow freedom of movement in the country for journalists, and respect the people's right to demonstrate peacefully.

It also calls for the release of arbitrarily detained prisoners and a list of where they are, and for the provision of humanitarian assistance.

These commitments would also be sought by the envoy, from the opposition, and all relevant elements, to stop the fighting.

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-07-20 00:42

    SA government doesnt have teeth to bite on this pie. Shut up you guys and go back to work...though you have no idea how to even work.

  • ryan.a.smith.3958 - 2012-07-20 03:45

    just more TALK that achieves ZERO

  • Mark - 2012-07-20 04:46

    Oh no! A strongly worded statement from an insignificant little country thousands of miles away! I'm sure Assad is quaking now! 'No! Now South Africa is condemning me, too! I mean they loved Gadaffi, support Mugabe and even compared Mandela to Kim Il-sung! I must really have screwed up to get condemned by them! Recall the tanks! I'm stepping down!'

      Walter - 2012-07-20 06:28

      Well said.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-20 07:38

      South Africa is insignificant to you and your ilk but boy it punches above its weight when it comes to intl relations. We are chair of the NAM, non permanent member of UNSC, chair of the AU, member of BRICS. Ask Susan Rice what she thinks of South Africa, that's if you know her. Do you whites always indulge in this kind of self-flagellation?

      Mark - 2012-07-20 07:47

      Titles don't mean anything.. it's something that people like you (morons, not blacks in general so don't even try to twist my words) just don't get. You sit around in engineering lectures for 5 years to get your undergrad then get your degree and think that makes you an 'engineer'. You buy a Nikon camera and think that it makes you a professional photographer. It's not the title or the things you buy that make you competent; it's the substance - something that you seem blissfully unaware of. SA in not deserving of these titles and their actions prove it.

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-07-20 08:03

      Mgoqi it's people like you that behave like cheerleaders in the face of mediocrity. That SA punches above it's weight means nothing to an average SA who sleeps with one eye open every night wondering whether when a door creaks that means criminals have finally arrived in his or her house, or whether it's only the wind blowing the door slightly open. Meanwhile, the leaders are building security fences worth hundreds of thousands of rands and surrounding themselves with heavily armed bodyguards everywhere they go to ensure they are safe in this crime~ridden land of ours. Not to mention how the average SA is jobless in this land of plenty or faces the increasing prospects of losing their jobs while our leaders can just easily decide to buy themselves jets worth billions. Charity my brother, begins at home.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-20 08:14

      Unfortunately South Africa is hardly noticed in international affairs, having lost the high ground we gained after the fall of Apartheid.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-20 08:23

      I always find it funny when emotional wrecks start an argument and then get utterly confused and go on a tangent. Mark, you think little of the SA government and that is fine but to pretend that other countries feel like you is misleading and outright stupid.

      Mark - 2012-07-20 08:31

      I find it funny when people can't string two perfectly contiguous arguments together and then call it 'going off on a tangent'. All you did was list a bunch of titles in a futile attempt to lionize South Africa in international relations. I called you out on it and you respond with ad hominem, and what I can only guess is an attempt at Socratic irony. List one significant conflict outside of the SADC bloc over the last decade where people sat up and took notice of SA's position - or, indeed where SA's position was not dictated to it from Moscow or Beijing.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-20 08:47

      Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Ivory Coast. My reference to tangents was directed to Themba. Those titles are an affirmation of what these other countries think of South Africa. It was SA that lobbied for the UNSC to be extended and that came to pass. An organisation that hadn't changed in over 50 years but SA made them change. Again, it matters not what you think of SA as far as Intl Relations is concerned, but the rest of the world takes notice when SA speaks at the UN.

      Mark - 2012-07-20 08:55

      The world does notice, but not in a good way. For example, when SA used its UNSC powers to veto a discussion on human rights in Zimbabwe, or blocked aid to flood victims in Burma/Myanmar in that same capacity, or when it sided with China for no other reason than a show of sickening loyalty worthy only of a lap dog. Oh yes, the world notices then. The only thing that changes is SA's reputation, though.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-20 09:10

      The SA foreign Affairs department knows what Real Politik is and don't have to be guided by emotions when dealing with intl issues, as do all other countries who put their interests first. The SA government does matter when it comes to Intl Relations!

  • adele.coetzee.94 - 2012-07-20 05:49

    What about the violence in our own country??????????

  • Tiaan Liebenberg - 2012-07-20 05:49

    And the saddest is that none of our comments will ever reach the cANCer, let alone influence them in any way. The masses will keep on selling their souls for incompetence, corruption and ignorance

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-20 07:29

      Why should your stupid comments reach government.

  • Juanne-pierre De Abreu - 2012-07-20 06:27

    Well surely the govt wouldn't condone the violence?

  • alaina.nel.12 - 2012-07-20 07:17

    Send in your cripple army you fool.What about the violence in south africa.You look stupid,so you must be stupid....

  • Monster Monti - 2012-07-20 07:23

    Bugger Syria. The ANC think they are the be all and end all of Goverments. They are a bunch of clueless Horseflys

  • Chris - 2012-07-20 07:25

    Good to know, assume that mayhem and murder in South Africa is OK?

  • GeorgeHumble - 2012-07-20 07:26

    This government is always condemning, condemning that, condemning this, condemning whites, condemning war, corruption, etc.

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-07-20 07:43

      Perhaps they should change their name to African National Condemn ~this~that and the other = all talk no action

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-20 07:32

    Must have been a full moon last night. All the loonies came out!

      Koos - 2012-07-20 07:56

      You should know.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-20 08:29

      It's not that difficult to see the emotional wrecks that posted last night.

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-07-20 08:38

      Fidel elsewhere news24 reports that a suspect has been arrested in connection with the murder of Wandile Mkhize, a deceased ANC KZN official. I can bet evidence is going to show that his own comrades murdered him simply because they wanted his position on the feeding trough. That is what today's ANC is all about : jockeying and scrambling for positions in order to give and award tenders to self and friends and family. Screw the voting fodder. Yet you foam on the mouth and have seizures when people see the ANC as a joke? Nxxx!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-20 08:50

      Themba, are you able to stick to the debate at hand instead of throwing pointless obstacles in the way to obscure it.

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-07-20 09:02

      Fidel, are you able to explain why everyone must join you as cheerleader to celebrate your claim that SA punches above her weight internationally while she clearly cannot even raise a punch to defend herself in the face of the crime~onslaught, service delivery protests, lack of jobs, high cost of living, rampant corruption right here at home?

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-20 09:51

      Who asked you to join me as cheerleader? Debate what I actually say and not what you want to refute.

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-07-20 12:48

      “Debate what I actually say and not what you want to refute.” Huh? You mean I must just agree with all the nonsense you say and not refute them? I think you need to engage your brain first before typing instead of the other way round

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-20 17:09

      If you had one of your brains removed you'd be less confused. Was that comment of mine too much for you?

  • themba.thwala.98 - 2012-07-20 07:40

    Ebrahim x2 must also pretend to be working so that he can justify his blue lights entourage and fat salary

  • richard.zanner - 2012-07-20 07:48

    Pity they do not care to much about the violence in SA.

      Lennon Chenga - 2012-07-20 07:50

      Well his portfolio IS international relations!! It's his job to comment on such issues!!

  • malcolm.dale - 2012-07-20 08:00

    Minister Ebrahim you sir are a pratt of note!! Of course there are two sides to a conflict - or are the Syrians just shadow boxing sir and someone else is doing the killing and bombing on the side for sports? I say leave them well alone - they don't have anything the world wants or needs - and let them exahaust themselves. You see sir it is these regions that are left to do this sort of thing so that the "bully boys" can test their weapons and gear up for the next world war. Refer to the Spanish Civil war where muscle in terms of weaponry was tested. The same applies to Afghanistan - get out of there and let them murder each other until there is nothing left. What does the world want from Afghanistan anyway? Call me inhumane, call me mercenary but I fail to see why outsiders should become involved in conflicts of this nature. If there is to be another world war bring it on - earth's population needs trimming!!! Let's see the thumbs down and responses to this posting!!!

  • malcolm.dale - 2012-07-20 08:10

    Oh ! and Minister Ebrahim where are your comments about the murders, rapes, robberies and general lawleseness that exists in South Africa. Or do you live somewhere else, cocooned safely from all the humdrum of an every day South African's life?? Get a life man and deal with what's wrong in South Africa and not in "bloody" Syria or anywhere else for that matter!!!

  • keith.murphy.9638 - 2012-07-20 09:38

    Ibrahim you a blood sucker vampire how can you condenm a legal government?? Will you like that to happen in south africa?? Go and take care of mandelas Donkeys and ash mandela to teach you about political behaviours, as you sound like an idiot

  • thabob.zumagabe - 2012-07-20 16:39

    You can talk all you want, morons. Here is the solution - take out the family dictatorship of the al asaad clan and clean out their corrupt cronies. The cANCer should be good at that because they are exactly the same as that lot !!! That is what the people of Syria want, and it is the same that the people of Lbya wanted, and they got it in spite of Zoomer783 sitting hand om die blaas with brother leader

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