SA pushes for UN extension on Syria

South Africa abstained from Thursday’s Security Council resolution on Syria.

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim with United Kingdom (UK) Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) responsible for Africa, Mr Henry Bellingham during their meeting. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said on Thursday South Africa was pushing for an extension to the United Nations mission trying to broker peace in Syria, which expires on Friday.

South Africa abstained from Thursday's Security Council resolution on that country, while China and Russia vetoed the proposal that would have threatened sanctions against Syria's leadership.

Ebrahim said they tried to amend Thursday's resolution, but were unsuccessful and they had to abstain.

He told Eyewitness News the proposal was unbalanced and only targeted the Syrian government, but not the opposition.

"Both sides must stop the violence and if they don't stop the violence then there should be consequences on both sides."

He said the deteriorating situation on Syria is exacerbated by the lack of compromise amongst the five members of the Security Council.

"The problem is they couldn't get their act together."

Ebrahim said they were hoping to support the tabling of a technical resolution to extend the UN mission there, lead by Kofi Annan to end the violence.

Meanwhile, Syrian rebels have captured a number of positions on the country's borders with Turkey and Iraq.

The push came a day after a bomb claimed the lives of three senior defence officials in Damascus.

The first images of President Bashar Al-Assad since the attack were released putting an end to rumours that he might have been injured.