On 16th of may South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts have agreed to consider an African peace plan to end the war in Ukraine. He had held separate phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who agreed to host the African leaders in Moscow and Kyiv to discuss a potential peace plan for the conflict. Senegal, Uganda, Egypt, the Republic of the Congo, Zambia, and South Africa will all be part of the mediation effort.
The announcement came a day after Ramaphosa insisted South Africa was impartial, after the US last week claimed weapons were loaded onto Russian ship at a naval base in Cape Town late last year. The office of South Africa president stated that there was “no evidence” that arms were loaded on to the ship in South Africa. Ramaphosa said South Africa would not be drawn “into a contest between global powers” despite having faced “extraordinary pressure” to do so.
Despite South Africa stated it would take a neutral stance over the war critics said it had in effect sided with Moscow after Pretoria allowed Russian and Chinese warships to use its waters for joint naval drills off its east coast in February. Earlier, I asked Itumeleng Makgetla, independent political analyst, about the features of South Africa’s policy of neutrality in the Russo-Ukrainian war.
- South Africa has repeatedly emphasized its neutrality regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Are the joint naval drills of South Africa, China and Russia, which took place in February 2023, a sign of Pretoria’s foreign policy position regarding confrontation between Moscow and the West?
- Whether the neutrality of the South African Republic affects the assessment of the Russian-Ukrainian war by the countries of the region, in particular, regarding voting in the UN General Assembly?
- Does the parliamentary opposition use the stance of the official authorities regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war as a means to criticize the country’s foreign policy or appeal to moral obligation?