South Africa to not be drawn into proxy wars, says President
The President of South Africa says the nation will not be drawn into a contest between global superpowers.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said Thursday that his country would continue to withhold its independent and non-aligned foreign policy.
Last week, Ramaphosa announced that the Russian and Ukrainian Presidents agreed to meet with a delegation of African leaders to discuss a possible peace deal to the Ukrainian crisis.
During his Africa Day speech in Johannesburg, the president stated that "South Africa has not been and will not be drawn into a contest between global powers. We will maintain our position on the peaceful resolution of conflict wherever those conflicts occur."
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"We are now also witnessing Africa being dragged into conflicts far beyond our own borders."
The president stated last week that his country's "non-aligned" attitude does not favor Russia over other countries and that it would not be compelled to modify its stance.
In his weekly column last week, Ramaphosa wrote how the Russia-Ukraine war has brought "extraordinary pressure on the country to abandon its non-aligned position and take sides in what is in effect a contest between Russia and the West."
The South African president's words came after the US ambassador Reuben Brigety accused South Africa of supplying Russia with munitions in a covert naval operation.
Brigety stated that the Lady R, a Russian cargo ship that arrived at the Simon's Town military port in Cape Town between December 6 and December 8, carried weapons and ammunition and returned to Russia.
Ramaphosa denied the claims and initiated an impartial investigation into the matter, led by a retired judge.
South Africa's International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said that her country would not cut ties with Russia as per the wishes of third parties or countries.
According to a statement issued by South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), the US ambassador later apologized to the South African government and people for his remarks.
"Some countries, including our own, are being threatened with penalties for pursuing an independent foreign policy and for adopting a position of non-alignment," Ramaphosa noted during his speech.
The President recalled the "terrible, brutal legacy of first having our continent carved up and colonized by European countries, only to find ourselves once more pawns on a chessboard during the Cold War," and emphasized that they are "not going back to that period in history."