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Africa

Arab spring dominates debate at Inter Parliamentary Union assembly in Kampala

media IPU delegates at the Opening Ceremony in Kampala RFI/Gloria Nakiyimba

Syria and events in the Middle East and North Africa - MENA - dominated debate at a standing committee of the Inter Parliamentary Union Assembly in Kampala on Saturday.

Speaking on behalf of the Syrian delegation, Fajar Issa, a member of parliament said Damascus was ready for an immediate ceasefire only when the US stops arming the rebels.

He accuses the US of fuelling the conflict by encouraging the rebels not to give up the revolution. Fajar also took a swipe at Israel and its supporters whom he referred to as enemies of the Syrian people.

He castigated the international community for labelling Syria a terrorist regime when not so long ago they were partners. He asked the West to stop applying double standards.

China and Russia, who vetoed a UN security council resolution calling for Syrian president to step down, came under attack. A delegate from Thailand, Plum Baigum, said both countries frustrated efforts to end to violence in troubled Syria because of their military interests in the Assad regime.

He said the situation in Homs was a demonstration of the worst tyranny that China and Russia are protecting.

In his response, Zha Peixin, who represented the Chinese delegation, reiterated that Beijing remained opposed to external intervention in Damascus.

Peixin said military intervention and forced government change would not provide a satisfying solution to the current upheaval in Syria.

He instead appealed to the Syrian government to find an appropriate solution to end the crisis, and to end violence on an unconditional basis.

The standing committee on Peace and International Security debate was premised on theme Promoting and Practicing good governance as a means of advancing peace and security: Drawing lessons from recent events in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Egyptian representative Esam el Eriam told participants that his country had registered some progress in good governance but asked the IPU to support democratic parliaments in countries recovering from upheavals.

Asan al-Ahmad from Palestine asked the IPU not to only focus on Syria but also help end Israeli occupation of his country. He added that the people were fed up with the occupation despite the road map to peace.

Participants noted that lack of good governance in the MENA partly contributed to the uprisings in the region that were sparked off by youth unemployment, demands for economic reforms and demand to end corruption in their respective countries.

The 126th IPU assembly is running under the theme 'Parliaments and People; Bridging the gap'.

Uprisings that came to be known as the Arab Spring started in Tunisia and spread to Egypt leading to an end of the Hosni Mubarak autocratic rule and the overthrow of the Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

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