Russia to remain South Africa's friend amid pressure from West: Pandor
Speaking at a South Africa-Russia trade and economy panel, Naledi Pandor made it clear that South Africa will not bend to third countries' will in deciding on who to befriend or not.
South Africa's international relations minister Naledi Pandor said on Thursday that her country will not cut ties with Russia as per the wishes of third parties or countries.
"There are some who wish for us not to have relations with Russia and we made it clear that Russia is a friend [we hope to have] for many years. We cannot become enemies with many countries around the world at the demand of others," Naledi Pandor said, while hoping that the two countries remain friends for many years to come.
Speaking at a South Africa-Russia trade and economy panel, Palendor raised to attention that these matters were of great significance, as well as strategic for both countries as they traverse a "challenging geopolitical terrain" of sanctions.
#SARussiaRelations🇿🇦🤝🇷🇺| Minister Naledi Pandor receives Mr Alexander Kozlov, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation ahead of the 17th Session of the SA-Russia Joint Inter-Governmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation. pic.twitter.com/nj7gUpWyLy— DIRCO South Africa (@DIRCO_ZA) March 30, 2023
She added that South Africa is reaching out to the global community to forge ties with new international partners "with a view of building possible cooperation for mutual benefit."
She further said that her country has currently been granted the BRICS presidency for this year in January and she was looking forward to further collaborating with Russia within the BRICS framework.
"We have made it clear that Russia is a friend...And while we are friends with many all over the world, we cannot become sudden enemies at the demand of others," International Relations and Co-operation minister Naledi Pandor says.#RussiaUkraineWar #Russia #Brics pic.twitter.com/9cdwePjwHD— UrbanSeeker (@UrbanSeekerZA) March 30, 2023
Earlier in January this year, Pandor called on the US to review its sanctions due to their impact on unrelated countries, arguing that South Africa has always had an issue with unilateral sanctions on many countries that are unrelated to a conflict and that the fact of imposing sanctions was itself "not very helpful a strategy in resolving problems."
She further pointed out that the approach had not worked for Zimbabwe, Venezuela, or Cuba, and that South Africa might adhere to sanctions where it feels that international or humanitarian law is infringed, "but where we feel that these are merely unilateral impositions and don't have the authority of the United Nations, we don't believe that South Africa is bound by them."
On January 27, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned the South African country that the US would respond very quickly and harshly to violations of anti-Russian sanctions, regardless of the nature of the entity breaching the sanctions.
"Violation of those sanctions by local business or by governments—we would respond to quickly and harshly and we certainly urge that there be compliance with those sanctions," Yellen said during a press conference in South Africa.