CAPE TOWN, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The South African government on Thursday condemned the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, saying no cause could ever justify the use of weapons of mass destruction.
"The alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria is of serious concern and would introduce an extremely dangerous element into the conflict, which is wholly unacceptable by any standard," Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim Ebrahim said in a statement.
Ebrahim issued the statement amid reports that 16 people lost their lives and 100 more were injured in what appears to be an attack using chemical weapons in Aleppo, Syria on Tuesday.
"South Africa is gravely concerned about the serious escalation of the conflict in Syria. We have consistently called on all the parties to the conflict to stop the violence as well as protect the rights of the Syrian population."
Ebrahim said all the parties to the current conflict have a responsibility to protect and preserve human rights.
"South Africa reaffirms its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria. There is no military solution to the conflict. The only way to stop the further destruction of Syrian society is for the parties to come together in dialogue without delay."
He said any political transition must reflect the will of the Syrian people.
Ebrahim reiterated that South Africa rejects any calls for forced regime change and outside military interference or any action not in line with the Charter of the United Nations.
"South Africa calls for restraint on the part of all parties to the conflict and again emphasizes the need for an immediate political settlement as expressed by the Geneva Joint Communique."