South Africa calls for respect of Syria’s sovereignty

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May 16,2013 (Xinhua)– The South African government on Thursday called on the United Nations to prevail on external forces to respect the sovereignty of Syria and to allow Syrians to work together in resolving their disputes.
It is the view of cabinet ministers that the international community should let the Syrians themselves decide their future without any interference, acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said after the cabinet’s regular fortnightly meeting in Cape Town.

The call comes after the UN General Assembly adopted a new resolution on Wednesday which condemns the Syrian government, but backs the role of a Syrian opposition coalition in transition talks.
South Africa, along with other 58 countries, abstained in the vote.

The South African government has expressed its view that the general orientation of the resolution will not contribute to a negotiated settlement and in fact could undermine the efforts of the Joint Special Representative to bring all sides to the negotiating table. “We believe that the text is not balanced enough and holds the dangerous potential of emboldening elements of the opposition to the point where they are of the view that negotiations are not necessary,” the SA Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement.

“Simultaneously it could force the Syrian government to retreat to an uncompromising position and total disengagement,” the statement said.

The statement reiterated that there are obligations on all parties to comply with the efforts of the Joint Special Representative and the Geneva Communiqué, which this resolution does not reflect accurately.

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