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South Africa Under 'Extraordinary Pressure' to Pick Sides in Ukraine Conflict

© AP Photo / Themba HadebeSouth Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks
South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 15.05.2023
The president's remarks are in line with an earlier statement by Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor who said that South Africa is ready to mediate a dialogue between Russia and Ukraine.
With the outbreak of Russia-Ukraine conflict, South Africa has been under "extraordinary pressure" to abandon its position of being neutral and choose sides in the confrontation between Russia and the West, the country's President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement.
According to the president, South Africa's independent foreign policy is based on the principle of an inclusive multilateral world order and the peaceful resolution of conflict through dialogue.

"This explains South Africa’s membership of the Non-Aligned Movement, a forum of 120 countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc," Ramaphosa stressed. "Throughout, we have been firm on this point: South Africa has not been, and will not be, drawn into a contest between global powers."

As Ramaphosa noted, refusing to take sides in this conflict does not mean Pretoria has no position of its own. The key to resolving the conflict in Ukraine, according to him, will be for the international community to work together to end the hostilities immediately and prevent further casualties by maintaining constructive dialogue.
In this photo released by the Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and his South Africa's counterpart Naledi Pandor, speak, during their meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023 - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 12.05.2023
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Pretoria Slams US Claims That South Africa Supplies Weapons to Russia
Ramaphosa also disagreed with the view that Pretoria puts Russia above other countries. Such a policy, as the president put it, would jeopardize South Africa's official relations with other countries.
Apart from that, Ramaphosa stated that the UN mechanism showed its flaws and does not adequately reflect today's realities.
"The conflict in Ukraine has highlighted the weaknesses in the structure and practices of the United Nations. The composition of the UN Security Council, in particular, does not reflect the realities of the current global landscape," South Africa's leader said.
The president added that it needs to be revised to ensure "equitable representation" and create a more inclusive mechanism for resolving international disputes.
Earlier, on Thursday, US Ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety said that Pretoria was allegedly supplying weapons to the Russian army, by pointing to the 'arrival' of a Russian ship at the South African Navy's Simon's Town base.
Two days later, however, Brigety admitted that he had crossed the line and apologized after an official protest from the South African Foreign Ministry, the official diplomatic body said in a statement.