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South Africa opposes strike on Syria
August 29, 2013, 4:12 pm

Obama said the use of chemical weapons in Syria cannot go unpunished [Getty Images]

Obama said the use of chemical weapons in Syria cannot go unpunished [Getty Images]

South Africa says it is alarmed by the “dangerous rhetoric pointing to the possibility of a military intervention” in Syria and does not believe such an action in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed scores of civilians near the Syrian capital Damascus will contribute to a sustainable solution.

“The outcome of such an action is unpredictable and will only worsen the conflict. It will ultimately be the people of Syria who pay the price, whilst those participating in the military intervention will return to safety far away from the crisis,” said a statement from the Foreign Ministry’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

On Tuesday, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a BBC interview that the US is ready to launch strikes on Syria should President Barack Obama order an attack.

Four US Navy destroyers are currently in the eastern Mediterranean Sea waiting for a possible order to launch. On Thursday, US media reported that a fifth destroyer was heading to the area, but could be used to relieve one of the ships already there.

In the meantime, South Africa condemned human rights violations in Syria and the use of chemical weapons as “wholly unacceptable by any standard”. Pretoria is urging that all parties to the conflict participate in “all-inclusive” national dialogue without “outside interference aimed at regime change”.

The South African government has also urged that world powers work through the United Nations Security Council, which Pretoria says is the only international body that can mandate the use of military force in conflict  situations only if other measures are deemed  insufficient in bringing about a solution.

“Any attack on Syria without UNSC  authorisation would constitute a grave violation of international law that  would severely undermine international order,” the Foreign Ministry statement said.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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