Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday engaged in a telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping and exchanged views on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
“We expressed our concern about the conflict in Ukraine and the need to end hostilities and find a lasting peace,” Ramaphosa tweeted after the call.
He added: “We discussed the need for humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine, and the plight of African students in Ukraine. President Xi and I also discussed the role Brics and the G20 in promoting a stable international order and equitable global recovery.”
We discussed the need for humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine, and the plight of African students in Ukraine.
— Cyril Ramaphosa ?? (@CyrilRamaphosa) March 18, 2022
Earlier, Ramaphosa blamed Nato for the war in Ukraine and maintained that he would resist calls to condemn Russia, in comments that cast doubt over whether he would be accepted by Ukraine or the West as a mediator, Reuters reported.
“The war could have been avoided if Nato had heeded the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less, instability in the region,” the report quoted Ramaphosa as saying in response to questions in parliament.
“There is a tendency of the most powerful countries to use their positions as permanent council members to serve their national interests rather than the interest of global peace and stability. The UN Security Council needs to be overhauled,” Ramaphosa said.
South Africa, together with Zimbabwe, Mali, Namibia and Mozambique were among the 35 member states that abstained from voting on the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the United Nations General Assembly on March 02.
This came as the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that demanded Russia to immediately withdraw from Ukraine, the report said.
The resolution was adopted after 141 out of 193 member states voted for the non-binding resolution, while five voted against the resolution, said the report.
Ramaphosa recently spoke to Russian leader Vladimir Putin where he outlined South Africa’s position on the conflict.
“We had a very good conversation. He (Putin) explained to me what was happening in that theatre of war and he also explained why they took the action that they (Russia) took.
“And he appreciated the position that we have taken of abstaining in the vote, and we abstained because the resolution did not address all the issues that would… encourage mediation and peaceful mediation,” Ramaphosa said.
Picture: Getty Images
Compiled by Betha Madhomu