Syria Live Blog
South Africa for sanctions on Syria
South Africa is not opposed to sanctions on the Syrian regime but also wants to see measures to prod the rebels into complying with a proposed peace plan, the deputy foreign minister said Friday.
South Africa and Pakistan abstained from a heated UN Security Council vote on a resolution proposed by European nations and the United States for the threat of sanctions against the Syrian government. Russia and China vetoed the resolution.
"I wish to emphasise that South Africa fully supports the request... for stern action," deputy foreign minister Ebrahim Ebrahim told reporters.
"Our problem with the resolution vetoed on Thursday was not the issue of sanctions per se, but the fact that the text did not provide for measures against the opposition for non-compliance with the (Kofi) Annan plan" South Africa had made recommendations to "balance the text" but when the proposals were rejected it had "no option but to abstain in the vote," he added.
"The Syrian opposition is not defending itself, but is on the attack with the intention of taking control of Damascus," he said.
"We are deeply disappointed that the Security Council was not able to apply pressure to both sides to bring an end to the violence," said Ebrahim.
South Africa backed a Syrian-led all-inclusive dialogue to establish a political transition and for the extension of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), he said.
"The withdrawal of UNSMIS will only result in the conflict on the ground spiralling into an all-out war which will have a severe impact on the stability of the entire region."