24 January 2023
International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, has reiterated South Africa’s position that the only path to peace is through diplomacy, dialogue and commitment to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
This includes the principle that all Member States will endeavour to settle disputes by peaceful means.
“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 where she was hosting her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, who is in the country 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 believes that BRICS, an acronym for the combined economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, should play a proactive role in emerging deliberations on the form that these international global mechanisms might take.
“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 more efforts should be directed at promoting peace and security, fair trade and human rights; to ending and preventing health epidemics, tackling the challenges of climate change and taking measures to protect 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.”
She said Africa has undertaken the endeavour to work towards a peaceful resolution of all conflicts, use diplomacy, and the search for peace as a route to resolving disputes within the context of the African Union (AU).
“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.”
In 2022, Pandor said the two countries commemorate 30 years of diplomatic relations.
The Ministers also discussed views on how both nations can work together to strengthen the already good relations that the countries enjoy.
She also recalled how Members of the Soviet Union provided to the country, particularly Russia, during the fight against apartheid.
“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.”
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Pandor said there are several bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding that were signed with a comprehensive spectrum 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 spoke about the countries’ growing economic bilateral relationship, both in terms of trade and investments.
“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 pleased South Africa has been a beneficiary of significant bankable project support from the BRICS Bank.