South Africa contributes to silencing the guns – Ramaphosa

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South African president Cyril Ramaphosa used the upcoming BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in Johannesburg to outline foreign policy, including peacekeeping.

As part of a televised Sunday address, he told South Africans that the country’s foreign policy was “vital” to progress as a nation. It is also, he said, aimed at promoting the national interest based on protection and promotion of national sovereignty and constitutional order.

Key pillars of South Africa’s foreign policy include promotion of human rights, peace and stability and strengthening of trade and investment ties with other countries.

“The foreign policy stance we have taken since the advent of democracy has positioned South Africa as a reliable and influential partner on our continent and in the world. This enabled our country to have friendly and valuable relations with countries around the world at political, diplomatic, trade, investment, sporting, social and other levels.”

On the many conflicts across Africa, Ramaphosa said the continent could only thrive once the guns are silenced.

“We continue to work with the African Union (AU) to end several ongoing conflicts on the continent and restore constitutional and democratic government to countries that have recently experienced coups,” he said, adding South Africa was directly involved in a number of efforts to bring peace to Africa.

“We support the people of Mozambique and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to ensure there is peace and stability in their countries.”

He expanded on South Africa’s non-alignment policy saying the country “resisted pressure” to align with global powers or influential blocs of nations.

“During the Cold War, the stability and sovereignty of many African countries was undermined because of their alignment with major powers. This experience convinced us of the need to seek strategic partnerships with other countries rather than be dominated by any other country.

“While some detractors prefer overt support for their political and ideological choices, we will not be drawn into a contest between global powers. Instead, South Africa strives to work with all countries for global peace and development.

“It is for this reason South Africa is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, a forum of 120 countries not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. Our decision not to align with any one of the global powers does not mean we are neutral on matters of principle and national interest.

“Our non-aligned position exists alongside active support for the struggles of the oppressed and marginalised in different parts of the world,” Ramaphosa said.