SA concerned over Syrian conflict

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pretoria - The current situation in Syria is a major concern for South Africa, says International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman.

"We continue to call for the resolution of the conflict through diplomatic and peaceful means. We reiterate our view that there can be no military solution to the crisis in Syria," he said.

Speaking at the Ministerial Interactive Debate of the XVI Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Teheran, Iran, Fransman also reiterated South Africa's support at the appointment of Laktar Brahimi as a Joint Special Representative for Syria and called on all the parties to the Syrian conflict to cooperate with Brahimi.

On the issue of the Middle East, Fransman said the situation there and in particular the plight of the Palestinians and their "struggle for self-determination" should remain at the core of the movement's efforts for global peace and security.

"The Palestinian struggle remains and continues to be a legitimate struggle for freedom, justice and equality. We should continue to be vocal about our condemnation and disapproval of the Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories. It is regrettable that until today the UN Security Council has failed to act on the Palestine/Israeli conflict due to the veto of one permanent member," he said.

The summit should send a strong message to the Israelis that the continued occupation of Palestine and construction of settlements would not be tolerated, Fransman added.

The effectiveness of the movement needed to be enhanced to ensure lasting peace through joint global governance. "To achieve this we should be open minded to constructive criticism. We must be able to look at ourselves critically where necessary," the deputy minister added.

There could be no lasting peace without addressing the needs of people which included democracy, human rights, poverty eradication and sustainable development.

"South Africa firmly believes that development and security are inextricably linked. Therefore the key challenge for our Movement in the pursuit of lasting peace must be how it amasses its collective strength to rise to the challenges of sustainable development," he said.

The Movement should be repositioned to be at the centre of global governance where the needs of people are addressed - bearing in mind that freedom, justice and equality are meaningless in the face of persistent poverty, Fransman noted.

Members of the Movement should strive for unity across the UN bodies and not to allow national interests to take precedence over collective objectives, he added.

He called for the Movement to redouble its efforts towards the reform of the UN and its main bodies.

"The anachronistic configuration of the UN Security Council is untenable in today's world. We must also improve the effectiveness of the General Assembly," he pointed out.

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