The BRICS Deputy Ministers on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have committed to the basic principle that international peace and security should be achieved and sustained solely in accordance with and in full respect of international law, including the UN Charter.
They restated their conviction that there is no place for unlawful resorting to external interference in any conflict and that, ultimately, lasting peace could only be established through broad-based, inclusive national dialogue with due respect for the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of each of the countries of the region.
“They emphasized the importance of the UN Charter and the role of the UN Security Council as bearing the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security,” the Deputy Ministers said in a communique on Wednesday.
Their communique was issued after their meeting in Pretoria in which they exchanged views on the current situation in the Middle East and North African regions.
Fight against terrorism
The Deputy Ministers condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and reiterated their countries’ commitment to supporting inter-BRICS and other multilateral efforts in countering the global threat of terrorism under the UN auspices.
They stressed that the fight against terrorism, including counter-terrorism measures, must be conducted in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations and relevant UNSC Resolutions.
Situation in Syria
The BRICS Deputy Ministers remained concerned about the situation in Syria and reaffirmed their commitment for an inclusive “Syrian-led, Syrian-owned” political process which safeguards the state sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria, in pursuance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015).
“They reiterated their strong condemnation of the use of chemical weapons by any party, for any purpose and under any circumstances and renewed calls for comprehensive, objective, independent, and transparent investigations of all alleged incidents,” reads the communique.
In this regard, they highlighted their support for the continuation of the important work done in the context of the Geneva Peace Talks.
They also welcomed key contributions of the Astana Process, which showed signs of positive developments on the ground in the last months, in particular, the creation of de-escalation zones and holding of the Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue in Sochi on 30 January 2018.
Situation in Libya
With regard to the situation in Libya, the Deputy Ministers expressed their concern about the political and security situation in that country, highlighting its extremely negative consequences for the Middle East, North Africa and Sahel region.
They expressed their support for the continued efforts of the UN Special Representative for Libya, Ghassan Salame, as well as of regional actors to engage all Libyan stakeholders in a constructive dialogue in pursuance of the UN Action Plan for Libya announced in September 2017.
They noted the steps taken by Libyan authorities in combating the terrorist threats and encouraged the need to build consensus among the Libyan political forces with regard to an inclusive political solution in pursuance of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA).
In Iraq, the meeting welcomed the parliamentary elections held in May, the first since the announcement in December 2017, and the complete liberation of the territories previously occupied by ISIS in Iraq.
They expressed the hope that the elections contribute to strengthen Iraq’s democratic institutions and widen the dialogue, negotiation and promote political co-existence.
With respect to Yemen, they expressed their grave concern about the conflict, which is having a disastrous impact on human security as well as regional security and stability.
They recognised that the conflict has already led to unspeakable suffering among the civilian population, including women, children and the elderly.
As such, they called for unhindered access for the provision of humanitarian assistance to all parts of Yemen and urged the international community expeditiously to make use of such access to relieve the health, social and economic situation in this country.
They further underscored their support for UN Special Representative Martin Griffiths’ efforts to restart talks among all Yemeni parties and agreed that the way forward to achieve peace, prosperity and security in Yemen is through an inclusive Yemeni-led dialogue towards the achievement of a political solution to the conflict.
The meeting was unanimous in their resolve that the conflicts elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, saying they should not be used as a pretext to delay resolution of long-standing conflicts, in particular, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
They reiterated the need for renewed diplomatic efforts to achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while also reiterating that the status of Jerusalem is one of the final status issues to be resolved in the context of negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
The Deputy Ministers expressed concern regarding the escalation of violence in Gaza and called for restraint and full respect for international law in line with the UN General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/ES-10/20) on the protection of the Palestinian population.
Furthermore, they expressed their concern about the ongoing diplomatic crisis in the Gulf region.
They welcomed efforts by Kuwait to resolve the existing disagreements through negotiations and diplomatic engagement.
The deputy minister’s meeting was in preparation for the 10th BRICS Summit taking place in July under the theme ‘BRICS in Africa: Collaboration with Developing Countries for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution.