Doha: Turkey’s popularity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has shrunk over last three years, with particular sharp drops among the Syrian and Egyptian public, a field study conducted by a Turkish think-tank says. While 78 percent of respondents in the 16 countries subject to the study had a positive view on Turkey in 2011, the percentage declined to 69 percent in 2012 and 59 percent in 2013.
Cape Town: Thank you for inviting me to present my thoughts at this symposium that deals with a crucial theme that has the potential to affect relations in our country and the Muslim world for a long time to come. Certainly, the theme is critical for understanding developments as they have been unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa region, and in the broader Muslim world – especially in the past few years. For the South African government, it is also a crucial subject to deal with as the issue of sectarianism among Muslims becomes a threat in this country too. If we are, as a South African society, to address the issue effectively, it will require efforts from the Muslim community and its representatives, as well as from our political leadership – sometimes each acting separately, and sometimes in partnership. I hope that this symposium will help to lay the basis for addressing this potential problem in this way.
Geneva: There can be no reason or circumstance which would justify the use of chemical weapons anywhere. The use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world constitutes a threat to international peace and security and is a threat that confronts us all. South Africa is a signatory to the Convention on Chemical Weapons. We have said no to the production, proliferation, the use and no to the stock piling of nuclear and chemical weapons. We have and we continue to support a total ban on nuclear and chemical weapons.
New York: The Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India, H.E. Mr. Salman Khurshid, the Minister of External Relations of the Federative Republic of Brazil, H.E. Ambassador Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, and the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane met in New York on 25 September 2013, on the margins of 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Johannesburg: The National Executive Committee held its scheduled meeting over two days, 27-28 September, 2013 at St George Hotel, Tshwane and used the third day for mass political work in Ekurhuleni. The NEC received the Political Overview by the President, the National Working Committee report and the elections report. There was also a detailed report from the archives committee of the ANC.
Pretoria: The Concerned Africans Forum has noted with grave concern the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s draft resolution authorising military strikes on Syria. The Concerned Africans Forum believes that military strikes, even if ‘limited’, will not take Syria any closer to resolving a tragic conflict where over 100 000 lives have already been lost and in excess of 6 million Syrians have been internally displaced.
Pretoria: We, members of the Forum for Former African Heads of State and Government, commonly referred to as Africa Forum (AF), have been deeply concerned about the protracted civil war in Syria, which has now raged for two-and-a-half years. It has been our understanding from the beginning that this conflict was occasioned by serious differences among the Syrian people concerning their country’s constitutional and political system. It was also our understanding that the root cause of the conflict was and remain essentially political. Accordingly, its solution could only be political, and not military. Against this background, we have therefore held the view that the Syrian belligerents must urgently enter into inclusive negotiations to end the civil war through a peaceful process.
Pretoria: South Africa is alarmed at the latest escalation in the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic and condemns the use of chemical weapons. South Africa extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of the people who lost their lives in the chemical weapons attack. The use of these weapons in Syria is of serious concern and is wholly unacceptable by any standard. No cause could ever justify the use of weapons of mass destruction. South Africa believes that the United Nations weapons inspectors should be allowed the time to complete their investigation and announce findings on the use of chemical weapons whilst no effort should be spared to convene the proposed Geneva II Peace Conference as soon as possible.
Washington: What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders, by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard it is inexcusable, and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable.
America and Russia mutually agreed to convene the ‘Geneva 2’ conference because the assessments of both are that a military resolution is not a possibility for the Syrian crisis. Furthermore, the military option is no longer desirable for America. After more than two years of the Syrian uprising (and civil war), the USA has concluded that the armed opposition is unable, by itself, to overthrow the regime. Additionally, the USA supports one of the weaker military factions. Jabhat al-Nusrah (The Victory Front), which is allied to al-Qa’ida, is the main rebel military force in Syria.