SA abstains from Syria vote

The South African government believes sanctions against Syria are not balanced.

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim Ebrahim (R). Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa abstained from the Western-backed United Nations (UN) resolution to impose sanctions on the Syrian government, Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim told Eyewitness News on Thursday.

He said the resolution would only punish Syrian authorities and not rebel groups for using violence.

Ebrahim said South Africa wanted a more balanced resolution to be passed.

"We should target both the government and opposition, because the opposition is fighting in the capital and they are well armed."

"If you say to one side that they must stop the violence and send soldiers to the barracks, what will happen to the other side?" asked Ebrahim.

Both Russia and China vetoed the move in the 15-member Security Council.

Syrian authorities and rebel soldiers have been embroiled in a 16-month conflict over the rule of President Bashar al-Asaad.