South Africa approached to mediate Russia-Ukraine conflict

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa has been approached to play a “mediation role” in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The President had a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday afternoon.

“I outlined our position on the conflict that has unfolded, as well as our belief that the conflict should be resolved through mediation and negotiation between the parties and – if need be – with the help of agencies that can help bring a solution to the conflict.

“President Putin appreciated our balanced approach. We believe this position enables both parties to subject the conflict to mediation and negotiation. Based on our relations with the Russian Federation and as member of BRICS, South Africa has been approached to play a mediation role,” Ramaphosa said.

In a statement, the Russian government said the Presidents will keep communication lines open between the two countries.

“At the request of [President] Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of Russia spoke about the reasons for and goals of the special military operation to protect Donbass.

“He also informed the South African leader about the situation regarding talks with representatives of the Ukrainian authorities. The President of South Africa supported the ongoing political and diplomatic efforts,” the statement said.

Cabinet remains deeply concerned by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, saying the socio-economic cost of the conflict is devastating and its impact will be felt around the world.

Addressing a post Cabinet media briefing on Thursday, Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, said Cabinet calls for a negotiated diplomatic solution. The executive has urged all parties to uphold and protect human rights, and abide by their obligations in terms of international law and international humanitarian law.

“Government continues to assist South African citizens to leave the Ukraine and a number of them have since returned home. We have also expressed our concern at the ill treatment of Africans trying to cross international borders during this time,” Gungubele said.

The Minster said Cabinet believes that developing countries must enjoy a greater share of voice and influence in institutions of global governance.

“South Africa therefore advocates for a more equitable international system and for the reform of multilateral institutions to promote greater equality,” he said.

According to the UN High Commission for Refugees, at least 2.3 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their country since a violent invasion by Russia commenced two weeks ago, with hundreds of civilians and military members left dead by the offensive.