PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma on Monday repeated his case that only the United Nations (UN) is entitled to intervene militarily in Syria‚ and appealed to Commonwealth parliamentarians to speak up in support of that view.
"We trust that the UN will be respected as the only authority that can intervene militarily in any country‚ and only if all other avenues have been exhausted‚” he said in Sandton‚ opening the 59th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference.
On August 29‚ when US missile strikes against Syrian government targets appeared to be imminent following that country’s suspected use of chemical weapons‚ Mr Zuma had said the conflict could not be resolved by force.
Since then‚ President Barack Obama has undertaken to consult the US Congress before ordering any such action.
"We trust there shall be no violation of international law or the abuse of the UN Security Council to fulfil the agenda of other nation states‚” Mr Zuma said on Monday.
He did not name any country‚ but this appeared to be a reference to the US‚ Britain and France‚ all permanent members of the Security Council that have threatened to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government for allegedly killing hundreds of its own citizens in the poison attacks on August 21.
The Security Council’s other permanent members‚ China and Russia‚ so far remain opposed to military action against Syria.
Mr Zuma urged parliamentary representatives from the 54-nation Commonwealth to adopt a resolution opposing such action. Their conference ends on September 6.
"My view is that you are meeting at the right time and I don’t think you can remain silent when one country is being bombed to ashes before our very eyes‚” he said. It was not clear if he was referring to bombing in Syria by the government side‚ rebels or both.
Sir Alan Haselhurst‚ the current chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s executive council‚ said he could not predict whether the conference would agree a resolution on the matter.
"We tend not to go in for resolutions as a general rule‚” the British Conservative MP told Business Day. © BDlive 2013