South Africa remains deeply concerned about the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. We welcome the start of talks between Ukraine and Russia. We hope that these discussions will lead to a diplomatic solution that will lead to a lasting political solution.
South Africa is of the view that this armed conflict, like all others, will cause unnecessary human suffering and destruction with global ramifications. In conflict situations, the most vulnerable tend to suffer the most, both during and after the conflict.
It is unfortunate that at a time when the world is struggling to emerge from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are gripped by a conflict that will further delay global recovery. UN Secretary-General Guterres reminded us of this when he said the conflict will have a huge impact on “the global economy at a time when we are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and when so many developing countries need room for recovery”.
The United Nations was founded after the horrors of World War II, with the aim of saving future generations from the scourge of war. It is for this reason that the Charter of the United Nations enjoins all Member States to settle their disputes by peaceful means in such a way that international peace, security and justice are not endangered.
We emphasize that peace is best built through diplomacy and dialogue within the framework of institutions of global dialogue, in particular the United Nations. It is important that all nations respect and uphold the principles of international law, including international humanitarian law and the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.
The United Nations is now in its 76th year of existence and the events of the past two weeks have once again reminded us of the urgent need to reform the United Nations, in particular the long-awaited United Nations Security Council. since a long time. We need a Council freed from the legacy of the Cold War so that it can truly be the space where the community of nations comes together to resolve conflicts and build a more just and peaceful world.
South Africa always appreciates the value of dialogue in averting crisis and defusing conflict. This is in line with our firm commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes. In this regard, we also urge the Security Council to use the existing tools at its disposal to support the peaceful settlement of disputes. We also believe that the good offices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations could make a positive contribution to the search for a lasting solution to this conflict and should be used.
We urge all parties to approach the situation in a spirit of compromise, with all parties upholding human rights, respecting their obligations under international law and international humanitarian law.
A diplomatic solution to the problem should address the parties’ security concerns.
South Africa continues to support and encourage regional initiatives such as the Minsk Accords, and we welcome the work of the Normandy Format, the Trilateral Contact Group and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
This meeting is held under the “United for Peace” formula, which requires the General Assembly to meet if and when the Security Council is unable to act, but it remains necessary for the Council Security is fully exercising its responsibility in the current situation.
The situation in Ukraine should not have a negative impact on other priorities of the international community and on the rest of the activities of the United Nations.
We further note with concern that not all conflict situations have received equal attention, indeed, although the focus is on Ukraine, long-standing situations of which the Security Council is seized continue without solution. We need to give equal attention to other long-standing conflicts where the Charter of the United Nations and human rights are violated.
In conclusion, South Africa supports the statement issued by the African Union Commission expressing its concern over the treatment of African nationals and people of African descent at Ukraine’s borders, some of whom are not allowed to cross and get to safety. We urge European countries to take steps to resolve this situation because everyone has the right to cross international borders in times of conflict.
Statement delivered by Ambassador Mathu Joyini, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Republic of South Africa: Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
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