Gaborone, 5 February 2012/ Government of Botswana– The Government of the Republic of Botswana has been closely monitoring the political situation in Syria and notes with grave concern the latest deplorable decision by Russia and China to veto the UN Security Council resolution which fully supported the Arab League’s Peace Plan to the ongoing bloody violence in that country.

To register Botswana’s protest, on 5th February 2012 the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hon. Phandu T. C. Skelemani summoned the Ambassadors of China and Russia resident in Botswana. Specifically, the Foreign Minister reminded the two envoys that, as Members of the UN Security Council, and charged with the responsibility to ensure international peace and security, they should be seen to be concerned about the plight of the Syrian people.

Accordingly, Minister Skelemani advised the two that in exercising their veto power, they should be cognizant of the far reaching consequences of such actions on international peace and security.

The Government of Botswana finds it extremely disturbing that Russia and China rejected a resolution which called for:

 A democratic transition

 Political settlement, and

 An end to politically motivated violence, which has so far resulted in the loss of lives of over 5000 innocent people.

The Government of Botswana strongly condemns the latest use of the veto power by Russia and China, as this undermines global efforts to bring about an end to mass carnage at the hands of Syria’s 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.

In this connection, the Government of Botswana appeals 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 killing of the civilian population.

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 the Syrian authorities to put an end to the unmitigated and widespread violation of human rights in that country. -END