IBSA likely to send team to Syria

Pretoria: Having expressed their coordinated views on Syria at the United Nations, India, South Africa and Brazil on Tuesday decided to consider possibility of sending a delegation of the three countries there amid their demand for immediate end to violence.

The issue of Syria was discussed along with situation in Libya and other West Asian and North African countries at the Summit of India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "The leaders asked ministers to consider possibility of sending an IBSA delegation to Syria to expedite the implementation of reforms promised by the Syrian government" when the representatives of IBSA went there, M Ganapathy, Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry, told reporters.

This comes after the three countries, in a coordinated move, abstained from voting on a resolution at the UN Security Council for sanctions against Syria. A Joint Declaration issued after the Summit said the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria while expressing their grave concern at the current situation in Syria and condemned the persistent violence.

"They expressed their belief that the only solution to the current crisis is through a Syrian led all inclusive, transparent, peaceful political process aimed at effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the population and at protecting unarmed civilians," it said. "They further called for an immediate end to violence and, respect for human rights and international humanitarian law," the Declaration said. .

Addressing the Summit, Singh said the visit of an IBSA delegation to Damascus in August this year and their interaction with the Syrian leadership demonstrated the political role which IBSA can "usefully play. We should build upon this experience."

He recalled that the three countries, currently non permanent members of the UN Security Council, have demonstrated "our cohesion and coordination on various issues under discussion in the United Nations, particularly in the context of developments in West Asia and North Africa." Singh, Zuma and Rousseff also discussed the situation in Libya and underlined the central role of the United Nations in post-conflict Libya and the contribution of the African Union can offer in this process.

They expressed IBSA?s willingness to help the Libyan people rebuild their institutions and infrastructure. Reiterating their governments` attachment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, the leaders underlined the urgency of ceasing hostilities, consolidating public security and fully restoring basic services throughout the country, the Declaration said.

"The leaders called on those concerned to reach an agreement on an inclusive transitional government as soon as possible with a view to promoting national unity, reconciliation, democracy and reconstruction," it said.