SA stance on Syria welcome - Hague

2012-02-14 19:44

Cape Town - South Africa had taken a "welcome" principled stance in voting for the United Nations resolution on the unrest in Syria, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday.

Speaking in Cape Town, Hague said people were dying in Syria because the UN Security Council (UNSC) had failed to agree on a united response on the assault against protesters by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"We welcome the principled stance that South Africa took in voting, as we did, for the UNSC resolution," Hague said.

"I welcome the discussions that I have had with your foreign minister [Maite Nkoana-Mashabane] yesterday [Monday] about intensifying peaceful diplomatic pressure and supporting the regional leadership shown by the Arab League."

He said Britain and South Africa agreed about wanting Syrians to be allowed to resolve their differences peacefully.

"What currently stands between them and this legitimate aspiration is the Assad regime’s naked determination to cling to power at any cost," Hague said.

"That is why we are determined to use every peaceful means to intensify the diplomatic and economic stranglehold on the regime."

Hague said the world faced a danger of nuclear arms being acquired by new states "who may not be that responsible in developing them and in harbouring the technology without selling it to others".

The danger was not necessarily of Iran developing nuclear weapons capability, but of several other countries in the Middle Eastern region doing the same in response, he said.

"We could end up with the world's most unstable region politically in possession of the world's most dangerous weapons. I think what is crucial is that we prevent proliferation."

Hague said that while it was right that countries such as South Africa took their place at the "top table" in world affairs, it was up to African countries to decide who would represent them as a possible permanent member of the UNSC.

He said Britain supported the reform of the UNSC, which reflected the outcome of World War Two.

"We think there should be an expanded security council with more permanent members," he said in answer to a question on whether Britain would back South Africa's bid for a permanent seat on the council.

"It is for countries of Africa to determine the nature of that representation. I don't think it is for the rest of the world to determine that."

He said Britain was active in supporting South Africa's efforts in finding a political solution in Zimbabwe.

"We see South Africa and [the Southern African Development Community] as leading the way," he said.

Britain would continue to help Zimbabwe with its £80m development fund.

"We will help in other ways," Hague said.

  • Fred - 2012-02-14 20:21

    Have we learnt from Libya, where we took a stand, then became confused, unprincipled and delusional?

  • John - 2012-02-15 08:02

    I cannot stop laughing here.... "Bus driver 'sjamboks' pupils" And "SA stance on Syria welcome - Hague"

  • oneazania.onenation - 2012-02-17 00:26

    south africa is the bus boy of africa

  • Vuyo - 2012-07-20 08:10

    Libya was a terrible disaster not to be repeated for the UN and a victory for Western Imperialism. Unfortunately the ANC government blindly blundered in helping Imperialism against an African country which has friends with us when friends were very few. The Russians and the Chinese have become more wiser on Syria, will the UN, and the ANC government, emulate that example. At the cebtre of the 'Syrian conflict' is the sselfish and illegitimate interests of Zionist Apartheid Israel and Western Imperialism. Syria has been, for the Palestinian self=determination struggle, what the Southern African Frontline States have been for the anti-apartheid struggle in SA. It must be destabilised like SA, and the West, did with Angola's Unita and Mozambique's Renamo - to name a few. It has very little to do with 'democracy' but the elimination of support of the Palestinians and opposition to Zionist Israel. So is the threat against Iran. SA's ANC government is no different at the time it is supposed to be siding with their BRIC brothers. It is a sell out stance to support Britain and the West in this instance.

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