South Africa abstains on UN vote over Syria

Mail and Guardian

South Africa has abstained from voting on a United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria as it felt it favoured one side of the conflict.

 

“We abstained because we felt the resolution was unbalanced, it only targeted the Syrian government,” Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said on Friday.

“It said nothing about the opposition who are now fighting in the capital.”

The rebel forces in Syria were not just defending themselves, but were on the offensive and wanted to take power, he added.

On Thursday, Russia and China vetoed a security council resolution to extend a UN observer mission in Syria for 45 days. The resolution also threatened Syrian authorities with sanctions if they did not stop using heavy weapons against the uprising and withdraw troops from towns and cities.

The vetoed resolution received 11 votes in favour. South Africa and Pakistan abstained from voting at UN headquarters in New York.

Ebrahim said South Africa supported the extension of the deadline for the UN mission in Syria, but the resolution should not have extended this to include sanctions.

The Russians were against this aspect of the resolution too, as they said it could open the door to military intervention. Read more…

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