President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged the international community to do everything within its means to enable meaningful dialogue between warring parties, while refraining from actions that fuel the conflict.
The President was delivering a statement to the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
“Democratic South Africa has consistently advocated for dialogue, negotiation and diplomacy to prevent and end conflict, and achieve lasting peace.
“It is these principles that inform South Africa’s participation in the African Peace Initiative, which seeks a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In this conflict, as in all conflicts, we have insisted that the UN Charter’s principle of respect for the territorial integrity of every country should be upheld,” the President said.
President Ramaphosa told the world leaders that SA’s participation in the African Peace Initiative is informed by a desire to see an end to the suffering of those most directly affected by the conflict and the millions on the continent and across the world who, as a result of the conflict, are now vulnerable to worsening hunger and deprivation.
“As the international community, we must do everything within our means to enable meaningful dialogue, just as we should refrain from any actions that fuel the conflict.
“As we confront other conflicts in several parts of the world, including on our continent Africa, we need to be investing in prevention and peacebuilding,” he said.
The President said South Africa supports the call by the UN Secretary-General in the New Agenda for Peace for Member States to provide more sustainable and predictable financing to peacebuilding efforts.
He called on the global community to be concerned by recent incidents of unconstitutional changes of government in some parts of Africa.
He emphasised that the global community needs to work alongside the African Union to support peace efforts in the eastern DRC, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Mali, Central African Republic, South Sudan, northern Mozambique, the Great Lakes Region, the Sahel, Niger and the Horn of Africa.
The President highlighted that the African Union Peace and Security Council has declared that it stands ready to deepen its cooperation with the UN Security Council to silence the guns on the African continent and to achieve peace, stability and development.
“We are called upon to remain true to the founding principles of the United Nations, by recognising the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination, in line with the relevant UN General Assembly resolutions.
“We must work for peace in the Middle East. For as long as the land of the Palestinians remains occupied, for as long as their rights are ignored and their dignity denied, such peace will remain elusive,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said that the actions of the Government of Israel have imperilled the possibility of a viable two-State solution.
“The principles of the UN Charter on territorial integrity and on the prohibition on the annexation of land through the use of force must be applied in this situation,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said South Africa continues to call for the lifting of the economic embargo against Cuba, which has caused untold damage to that country’s economy and people.
He said sanctions against Zimbabwe should also be lifted as they are imposing great suffering on ordinary Zimbabweans.
“As many people around the world are confronted by hunger and want, the essential human qualities of cooperation and solidarity must be evident in the actions we take to bridge the divide between wealthy and poor.
“We must summon the necessary will and resolve to regain the momentum towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.
“This means that we must address the fundamental development challenges that have long characterised our unequal world,” he said.