South Africa’s president holds talks with Russian counterpart

Cyril Ramaphosa said his country has been approached to play mediation role between Russia-Ukraine conflict

South Africa’s president had a phone conversation Thursday with his Russian counterpart and outlined his country’s position on the Russia-Ukraine war.

Cyril Ramaphosa thanked Vladimir Putin for the call, which he said was made so he could gain an understanding of the situation unfolding between Russia and Ukraine.

“I outlined our position on the conflict that has unfolded as well as our belief that the conflict should be resolved through mediation and negotiation between the parties and — if need be — with the help of agencies that can help bring a solution to the conflict,” Ramaphosa said in a series of tweets.

South Africa is a member of BRICS, a body made up of five major emerging economies that include Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Last week, several African countries, including South Africa, abstained from UN voting on condemning Russia’s war on Ukraine. Six African countries did not participate in order to avoid taking sides.

Ramaphosa said that during Thursday’s conversation, Putin appreciated South Africa’s balanced approach.

“We believe this position enables both parties to subject the conflict to mediation and negotiation,” he said.

Ramaphosa noted that based on his country’s relations with Russia and BRICS membership, South Africa has been approached to play a mediation role.

Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, has drawn international condemnation, led to financial sanctions on Moscow, and spurred an exodus of global companies from Russia.

At least 549 civilians have been killed and 957 others injured in Ukraine so far, according to UN figures, with the real toll feared to be higher.

More than 2.3 million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries, according to the UN refugee agency.


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