More than 40 former African leaders, many of them retired heads of state and government, have spoke out against military intervention by the US and its NATO allies in the two-year deadly conflict in Syria.
The 43 ex-leaders instead urged international community to intensify efforts to help the two sides to cease hostilities and enter peaceful political negotiations.
Tens of thousands of Syrians have been killed in th
e escalating conflict between forces loyal to President Bahar al-Asad an armed opposition. Some two million people are thought to have fled the country.
Speaking under the aegis of the Forum for Former African Heads of State and Government, commonly referred to as Africa Forum (AF), the leaders said the conflict was occasioned by serious differences among the Syrian people concerning their country’s constitutional and political system.
Two notable Africans have been involved in the search for an end to the bloody crisis. Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi is since August 2012 the United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to the Middle Eastern nation.
Brahimi took over from former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who quit after becoming frustrated with the UN’s lack of progress with regard to conflict resolution, stating that “when the Syrian people desperately need action, there continues to be finger-pointing and name-calling in the Security Council.”
The ex-African leaders expressed support for a peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict as reflected in the June 6, 2012 Final Communiqué of the Geneva Conference on Syria.
“Accordingly, we have been and are opposed to all international interventions which have added and would add fuel to the fire, by arming any and all the Syrian belligerents”, they said.
They said they were aware of elaborate disinformation campaigns mounted by major powers to propagate falsehoods to justify armed interventions in Iraq and Libya.
“The only correct response even to the use of chemical weapons is not further to escalate the violent conflict, but radically to intensify and accelerate the effort towards a negotiated peaceful resolution of the Syrian civil war.”
The US and its NATO allies have threatened military intervention in Syria.