South Africa calls for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged the international community to agree on urgent and concrete actions to end the suffering in Gaza and establish a path towards a just and peaceful resolution of this conflict. 

President Ramaphosa was delivering opening remarks to the Extraordinary Joint Meeting of BRICS Leaders and Leaders of invited BRICS members on the situation in the Middle East in Gaza on Tuesday. 

Leaders of BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China - joined the virtual Extraordinary Meeting with invited BRICS leaders of Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. 

President Ramaphosa reiterated that South Africa has called for an immediate ceasefire. 

“As South Africa, we call for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire. Second, the opening of humanitarian corridors so that aid and other basic services reach all those in need.

“Third, all countries to exercise restraint and to desist from fueling this conflict, including by ceasing the supply of weapons to the parties. Fourth, the release of all civilian hostages.

“Fifth, the resumption of a comprehensive dialogue led and owned by Palestinians and Israelis themselves and facilitated by the United Nations. Sixth, the deployment of a UN Rapid Deployment Force in Palestine, with a mandate to monitor the cessation of hostilities and protect civilians,” the President said. 

Lastly, President Ramaphosa called for the International Criminal Court to urgently initiate prosecutions against those responsible for the perpetration of war crimes. 

President Ramaphosa emphasised that as South Africans, “we appreciate the importance and value of international solidarity”.

As an important voice of the Global South representing a large part of humanity, the President said he believes that BRICS has a vital role in a widespread international effort to achieve a just and lasting peace. 

“As individual countries, we have demonstrated our grave concern at the death and destruction in Gaza. Let this meeting stand as a clarion call for us to combine our efforts and strengthen our actions to end this historical injustice. 

“Let us work together to realise a just, peaceful and secure future for the people of both Palestine and Israel,” President Ramaphosa said. -