|Deploy peacekeepers to Syria, UN urged|
|Friday, 15 June 2012 12:00|
“So, what is required is a peace-making force to be deployed and also to defend that peace once attained,” Motlanthe told parliament.
Slamming the violence as unacceptable, Motlanthe said South Africa will try to lobby for agreement and added that Syria will be discussed on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 meeting.
“We are a small fry . . . We can only use soft power of persuading those with this real veto power to find each other, to find a common meeting point so that an intervention is called for.”
“We can’t sit back and do nothing about it, we’ve got to keep on knocking on them because the situation was much, much better two weeks ago. It has spiralled completely out of control now,” he said.
“And so I suppose Russia and China and the United States of America and the other permanent members are now persuaded that something should happen.”
Motlanthe warned against unilateral action, as taken in Iraq, saying it was important for the UN to take responsibility for any intervention which had to be aimed at bringing peace.
UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous on Tuesday said Syria was in a full-scale civil war, as the government’s forces seek to regain control of territory lost to the opposition.
Meanwhile, China said yesterday it disapproved of “one-sided” sanctions and pressure on Syria after France raised the prospect of a new raft of punitive measures against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday said he would consult with Western allies to prepare tough new sanctions against Assad’s regime, as battles between troops and rebels rage in Syria.
“China disapproves of one-sided sanctions and pressuring,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters in reaction to Fabius’ proposal.
The French foreign minister has called on fellow Security Council members to use the UN charter to make a ceasefire plan crafted by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan mandatory.
The UN Charter’s Chapter Seven allows measures to be imposed on a country under penalty of sanctions or the use of force. Liu yesterday reiterated support for Annan’s six-point peace plan — which calls for both sides to lay down their arms and participate in a Syrian-led political transition, and should have gone into effect from April 12.
“Under the current circumstances, parties should give full support to Annan’s mediation efforts,” he said.
China and Russia — both Syria allies — oppose UN Security Council action against Damascus, and came under strong criticism earlier this year when they vetoed two resolutions that would have sanctioned Assad for his use of force.
But on Wednesday, Beijing said it was “greatly concerned” about the situation in Syria, saying it had reached a “critical juncture” as a UN official said the country was now in a full-scale civil war. — AFP.