Monday, September 21, 2020

Botswana takes on China, Russia over Syria

The Government of Botswana has attracted international attention by condemning Russia and China over the decision to veto a United Nations Security Council Resolution on Syria.

The crisis in Syria has claimed thousands of civilian lives.

Last week Russia and China used their veto powers against a move to put pressure on Syrian president to stop the crack down on his people.

By the weekend, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Phandu Skelemani, registered Botswana’s disgust at Russia and China by summoning the ambassadors of the two countries to express his unhappiness.
At the meeting, Skelemani reminded the two envoys that as members of UN Security Council, charged with the responsibility to ensure international peace and security, they should be seen to be concerned about the plight of the Syrian people.

He told them that in exercising their veto powers the two should be cognizant of the far-reaching consequences of such actions on international peace and security.

He told them that Botswana finds it disappointing that Russia and China rejected a resolution which called for a democratic transition.

Botswana is also not happy that China and Russia would not agree over a political settlement.

“The government of Botswana strongly condemns the latest use of veto power by Russia and China as this undermines global efforts to bring about an end to mass carnage at the hands of Syrian autocratic regime. We believe that in doing so, the two countries have assumed great responsibility for allowing the continuation of bloodshed and loss of lives in Syria,” reads the statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Minister Skelemani has appealed to the two members of the UN Security Council to rethink their position on Syria as failure for a decisive action can only lead to continued senseless killings of the civilian population.

It is not the first time that the Khama administration has behaved in a way that some have said amounts to punching above the belt.

In the past Botswana government has criticized Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast and Libya.

“We equally wish to reiterate our appeal, as expressed before, for the international community to continue to apply maximum pressure, including economic sanctions and strong restrictive diplomatic measures, on Syrian authorities to put an end to the unmitigated and widespread violation of human rights in that country,” the statement concluded.

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