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Monday, July 4, 2022

SA not backing down on its decision over Ukraine/Russian conflict

Pretoria – South Africa is sticking to its guns over its March 2 decision to abstain from voting at the UN General Assembly over the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

Pretoria still believes deliberations and negotiations are still the way to go, further saying a cessation of the conflict is necessary.

“I don’t see any other way other than negotiating and dialogue,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at a media briefing post his bilateral talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Union Buildings.

Scholz is in the country on an official visit, his first since he was elected as chancellor of the EU-member state in December 2021.

Ramaphosa said that he and Scholz held engagements on several issues, including the ongoing conflict. He was heartened by the explanations that Scholz gave regarding the different stances that Germany has taken.

Unlike South Africa, Germany has outrightly voted in favour of Ukraine and joined other states in imposing sanctions against the Putin-led regime.

Although there are opposing views from both countries, Ramaphosa said the common agreement was that both countries are calling for a ceasefire.

“The position we took is that we would like negotiations, dialogue and engagement to underpin engagements between the two countries (Ukraine and Russia) and we have been fairly consistent on that. We know the value of dialogue, negotiation and collaboration… This is the position that I think should be the order of the day,” Ramaphosa said, adding negotiations are what assisted South Africa near the end of the apartheid-era and the country’s transition into democracy.

He also said South Africa had articulated its position to both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Scholz on the other hand said Germany was still of the view that conflict signified the Russian attack on Ukraine and that his country believed Ukraine had the right to protect its sovereignty and would assist it with any weaponry to ensure it defends itself.

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