South Africa has urged Russia to withdraw its forces from the Ukraine amidst the conflict between the countries.
“South Africa calls on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine in line with the United Nations Charter, which enjoins all member states to settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice are not endangered,” said the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) on Thursday.
This as Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “military operation” in the Ukraine in a televised statement earlier on Thursday.
South Africa expressed its dismay at the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine.
“South Africa emphasises respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.
“As a nation birthed through negotiation, South Africa is always appreciative of the potential dialogue has in averting a crisis and de-escalating conflict. In line with our strong commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflict, South Africa urges all parties to devote increased efforts to diplomacy and to find a solution that will help avert further escalation.”
It added that the armed conflict will result in human suffering and destruction, the effects of which will not only affect Ukraine but also reverberate across the world.
“We regret that the situation has deteriorated despite calls for diplomacy to prevail,” said DIRCO which also highlighted that no country is immune to the effects of this conflict.
“As the United Nation Secretary-General has indicated, the conflict will have a huge impact on the global economy in a moment when we are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and so many developing countries need to have space for the recovery”.
DIRCO said the door of diplomacy should never be closed even as conflict has broken out.
“We also urge all parties to approach the situation in a spirit of compromise, with all sides respecting international law. In light of the escalating conflict, we call on all parties to resume diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the concerns raised expressed by Russia.”
South Africa also called on all parties to uphold and protect human rights and abide by their obligations in terms of international law and international humanitarian law.
“South Africa continues to support and encourage regional initiatives such as the Minsk Agreements, and we welcome the work of the Normandy Format, the Trilateral Contact Group and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).”
In addition, the South African government has called on the United Nations Security Council to play its role in the search for peace.
The Security Council remains the primary body tasked with the mandate to maintain international peace and security and it must exercise its responsibility fully in this regard.
“We also believe that the Good Offices of the UN Secretary-General could also make a positive contribution in finding a lasting solution to this conflict.”
Meanwhile, the South African Embassy in Kyiv is monitoring developments closely and is also assisting South African nationals in Ukraine. – SAnews.gov.za