Cape Town – International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor has said that South Africa’s non-aligned position on the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, does not mean that the country is not concerned about the loss of lives and the deteriorating humanitarian situation.
Pandor said this during a media briefing on Friday, hours after South Africa abstained from voting on the suspension of Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.
Out of the 193 members of the assembly, 93 voted in favour while 24 voted against and 58 abstained, including South Africa.
“Our non-aligned position doesn’t mean that we condone the military intervention of Russia in Ukraine. We believe that this intervention is in violation of the law.
“…We have also decried the humanitarian disaster that has resulted from the ongoing military operations and called for the urgent opening of humanitarian corridors and the provision of aid to the civilian population which, as usual, bears the brunt of the suffering when violent confrontation breaks out,” said Pandor.
South Africa has abstained from voting on a UN resolution on the war in Ukraine for a third time since Russia’s invasion earlier this year.
Last month, the country was one of the 17 African countries to abstain from voting on another UN resolution calling on Russia to ceasefire.
Pandor maintained that: “We are not indifferent to the suffering of the people in Ukraine nor are we indifferent to the conflict that is under way there.
“We are deeply concerned about the continuing conflict.”
Statement by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, during the Media Briefing on the Russia / Ukraine Conflict, 08 April 2022.
— DIRCO South Africa (@DIRCO_ZA) April 8, 2022
She said that South Africa had warned in earlier statements about the loss of life and that war was not the proper way of resolving issues.
“… We are extremely worried at the deteriorating humanitarian situation. We believe that as a matter of urgency, there must be a suspension of hostilities which in our view would the first towards providing a comprehensive response to the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding.
“We continue to stress as South Africa that dialogue, mediation, and diplomacy is the only path to end conflict,” said Pandor.