Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has reiterated South Africa's condemnation of the killing of Syrian people and has once again called for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
Motlanthe said South Africa was of the view that all the parties should adhere to the United Nations-led 6-point plan of 5 April 2012, and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2043, which provides the opportunity for all Syrian parties to proceed with a Syrian-led national, peaceful dialogue towards a lasting political solution in Syria.
He was replying to questions in the National Assembly, on whether South Africa will join countries like the US, France, Britain and Canada which have issued an expulsion of Syrian envoys from their countries as an expression of their outrage at the recent massacres in Houla, Syria.
South Africa believes that the 6-Point Peace Plan for Syria, as presented by Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan, is an opportunity to resolve this conflict in an inclusive and legitimate manner and that every effort should be made to support and ensure the implementation of this plan.
The plan calls for an end to violence, access for humanitarian agencies to provide relief to those in need, the release of detainees, the start of inclusive political dialogue that takes into account the aspirations of the Syrian people, and unrestricted access to the country for the international media.
Motlanthe said the country supported thorough and immediate investigation into these killings with the full involvement of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) and the Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council.
"Our position is thus premised on our conviction that peace and stability are the necessary pre-conditions for growth and development. So too, in the case of Syria, in order for that country to prosper, there has to be peace and stability," Motlanthe told MPs.
He noted that the UNSC was the principal international organ vested with the responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Although South Africa holds the non-permanent seat in the UNSC, Motlanthe said the power lied with China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the US who have the power of veto a resolution.
He added that it was for this reason that the top five be pressured to take action now
The 15-month-old conflict in Syria has grown into a full-scale civil war. In late May, more than 100 men, women and children were massacred in the town of Houla, and recently there were reports of large-scale killings in the village of Mazraat al-Qubeir, near Hama.
Observers with the UN Supervision Mission in Syria have been trying to verify the latest massacre reports - but have so far been obstructed in their attempts.