Russia-Ukraine conflict: SA’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister reaffirms that diplomacy, negotiation, and UN Charter principles are the only way to peace

Dr. Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, has reaffirmed South Africa’s view that the only route to peace is through diplomacy, negotiation, and commitment to the principles of the United Nations Charter.

This includes the concept that all Member States would seek peaceful resolutions to conflicts.

“It is important that I mentioned on behalf of South Africa, our sincere wish that the conflict currently between Russia and Ukraine will soon be brought to a peaceful end through diplomacy and negotiation, as we believe this is the desire of all of us in the globe,” she said.

The Minister was speaking in Pretoria on Monday, when she was hosting her Russian colleague, Sergey Lavrov, who was in the nation for bilateral talks.

“The current global geopolitical tensions clearly signalled the need for us to consider creating institutional mechanisms that will have the stature, form and global trust to promote and support global peace and security.”

She thinks that BRICS, an abbreviation for the combined economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, should play a constructive role in growing discussions on the potential form of these international global mechanisms.

“We must ensure that BRICS is part of a redesigned global framework. For us multilateralism lies at the heart of the biggest issues facing the world today.”

In addition, she said that more emphasis should be placed on fostering peace and security, fair trade, and human rights, as well as ending and preventing health epidemics, addressing the difficulties posed by climate change, and implementing steps to safeguard the environment.

“All of these issues require global cooperation as they go beyond individual countries and cultures. As the African continent, we have witnessed and overcome many conflicts.

“We know that the conflicts confronting Africa today have disappeared from international mention, but we are still experiencing devastating effects on many countries on the continent, both in the political sphere and economic effects.”

In the framework of the African Union (AU), she said that Africa has committed to working toward a peaceful settlement of all issues, using diplomacy and the quest for peace as a means of settling disputes.

“Therefore, we are fully alert that conflict wherever it exists in the world impacts negatively on all of us and as the developing world, it impacts us, particularly as the African continent. This is why as South Africa, we consistently articulate that we will always stand ready to support the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the continent and throughout the globe.”

According to Pandor, the two nations will celebrate 30 years of diplomatic ties in 2022.

The Ministers also addressed ways in which the two countries may work together to deepen their existing positive ties.

She also remembered the assistance that Soviet Union members, notably Russia, given to the nation throughout the apartheid struggle.

“I’m really proud that we enjoy excellent diplomatic relations with your country, which we regard as a valued partner. Our bilateral relations with your country consist of relations in the political, economic, social, defence, and security spheres.”

Pandor said that since the establishing of diplomatic ties between the two nations, a number of bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding had been struck with a vast array of sectors.

“I’m really pleased that the Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) remains an active platform for coordinating our bilateral relations, and that ITEC continues to meet regularly and has made considerable progress in deepening the cooperation between South Africa and the Russian Federation.”

She also noted the expanding bilateral economic ties between the two nations, both in terms of trade and investment.

“However, it is my view that both our countries can and must do more to develop and capitalise on opportunities to increase our cooperation in the economic sphere.”

Pandor told the delegates that she was glad South Africa has received substantial bankable project assistance from the BRICS Bank.