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SA raises concerns over arming Syrian rebels
September 13, 2013, 9:29 am


South Africa has urged for a ceasefire in Syria [AP]

South Africa has raised fresh concerns over the arming of Syrian rebels and has called for an urgent initiation of the Geneva 2 peace conference, brokered by Russia and the United States.

The South African MPs committee is concerned about the pouring of arms into Syria, the aftermath of which could be catastrophic after the Syrian conflict as experienced in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya in the recent past, said a South African official.

“The Committee further calls on those supporting the rebels to push for a negotiated solution,” said Tisetso Magama, Chairperson of Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation (PCIRC).

CNN on Thursday quoted an unnamed US official confirming that weapons funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have reached Syria.

The weapons funded and organised by the CIA started to reach rebels about two weeks ago, the official said.

South Africa has urged for a ceasefire in Syria, while condemning the killing of innocent people.

“With the Syrian government having expressed its willingness to negotiate a peaceful solution, the committee believes that the rebels should do the same and go to negotiations,” the PCIRC said.

“We believe negotiations are the only way out of this crisis and we condemn any suggestions of a military solution, The people of Syria and the Middle East have suffered for too long,” said Magama.

The Committee also condemned the use of weapons of mass destruction or chemical weapons.

“The Committee also believes the Syrian conflict can be resolved through negotiations by Syrians themselves, supported by the international community,” Magama said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in a cautionary op-ed for The New York Times on Thursday asked Americans to weigh the consequences of a military strike on Syria.

US and Russian foreign ministers will hold their second round of talks in Geneva on Monday on how to secure Syria’s chemical weapons.

Moscow’s proposal to bring Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision has received wide-spread backing from many countries including the United Kingdom and Germany.

The United Nations said Thursday that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has signed a legal document confirming that his government will comply with an international ban on chemical weapons.

With inputs from Agencies