South Africa strives to work with all countries, says president

South Africa strives to work with all countries, says president

We will not be drawn into contest between global powers, says Ramaphosa

By Hassan Isilow

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has said his country is neutral and will not be drawn into a contest between global powers.

Addressing the nation Sunday night, Ramaphosa said his country strives to work with everyone for global peace and development.

“It is for this reason that South Africa is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, a forum of 120 countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc,’’ he said in a speech ahead of the 15th BRICS Summit which will be hosted in Johannesburg from Aug. 22-24.

BRICS is a block of emerging economies that include Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. BRICS currently makes up a quarter of the global economy, accounting for a fifth of global trade, and is home to more than 40% of the world’s population.

Ramaphosa said his country’s decision not to align with any one of the global powers does not mean that they are neutral on matters of principle and national interest.

“That is why we will continue to support the struggles of the people of Palestine and Western Sahara,’’ he said.

Ramaphosa said South Africa is fully committed to the articles of the United Nations Charter, including the principle that all members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means.

He said through the recent African peace initiative with Ukraine and Russia that African leaders embarked on South Africa and continue to be involved in processes to ensure that children who were removed from their homes in Ukraine are returned to their families and that prisoners of war are exchanged.

“We continue to be involved in the talks regarding the reopening of the Black Sea to facilitate the flow of grain,” he said.

Ramaphosa said South Africa firmly believes that dialogue, mediation and diplomacy is the only viable path to end the current conflict and achieve a durable peace.’’

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the BRICS summit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will be represented by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

President Xi will arrive in South Africa on Monday, a day before the start of the summit, on his fourth state visit to the country.

Ramaphosa said that more than 30 heads of state and government from across Africa will be attending the summit.

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