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South African Diplomat speaks on Putin’s Arrest Warrant

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South African Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Mzuvukile Jeff Maqetuka,
has reiterated in an interview that South Africa values its relations with Russia and
the BRICS. And that South Africa’s neutral position is consistent on all military
conflicts around the world, that the international community needs to work
together to bring peace.

Maqetuka further explained that South Africa is committed to the articles of the
United Nations (UN) Charter, including the principle that all members shall settle
their international disputes by peaceful means. Since the dawn of democracy in
South Africa almost 30 years ago, we have called for the reform of the United
Nations and multilateral organisations to make such structures more
representative, inclusive of African representation.

“South Africa is a sovereign state, governed by a democratic Constitution and
committed to the consistent application of international law. We will continue to
fulfil our obligations in terms of the various international agreements and treaties
to which we are signatories,” he underlined in the interview with this article
author.

Speaking particularly on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Maqetuka said “the
international community needs to urgently achieve a cessation of hostilities and to
prevent further loss of life and displacement of civilians in Ukraine. It needs to
support meaningful dialogue towards lasting peace, which ensures the security
and stability of all nations.”

“We support the principle that members should refrain from the threat or use of
force against the territorial integrity or political independence of other states. The
South African position seeks to contribute to the creation of conditions that make
the achievement of a durable resolution of the conflict possible.” the top diplomat
added.

Speaking also to RT on Friday, Mzuvukile Jeff Maqetuka said plans for the
gathering between August 22 and 24 in Johannesburg were well underway. South
Africa will host the 15th annual BRICS summit this August, the country’s
ambassador to Russia has confirmed, dismissing speculation that it may be moved
elsewhere due to an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant for the arrest of
Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Recent reports suggested that South Africa was considering relocating the summit
to China in order to avoid dealing with the ICC’s warrant against Putin. It was
issued in March on foot of allegations of war crimes. China, however, is not a party
to the Rome Statute that established the ICC.

Maqetuka said Pretoria understands its international obligation as a signatory of
the statute, but that there were no plans to move the event to another nation.
“South Africa has made it very clear,” he said, adding that Pretoria is engaging
“with all parties” in relation to the ICC warrant. “The position still remains as far
as South Africa is concerned; the summit would be held in Johannesburg as has
been agreed on,” Maqetuka told RT.

Earlier this month, South African Deputy Minister Obed Bapela said the country
was making legislative changes to make its national laws outrank the ICC. The law
currently obliges Pretoria to arrest Putin if he touches down in the nation for the
BRICS summit. The changes would mean South Africa can “give itself exemptions
of who to arrest and who not to arrest,” Bapela told the BBC.

Maqetuka noted that the government has already granted diplomatic immunity to
foreign officials attending the upcoming BRICS meetings, a move which was
announced by the Foreign Affairs Ministry late last month. This is all done “within
the framework of the ICC,” he said.

The diplomat also emphasized his country’s non-aligned stance on the Ukrainian
conflict, pointing out that this is nothing new, but is based on its history as a
member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). NAM was founded in 1961 to chart
an independent course in global politics, preventing member countries from
becoming players in struggles among major powers.

“South Africa has always taken a non-aligned position. It is a continuation of the
position of South Africa,” he said, noting that this is the case “especially where
there are military conflicts.” According to Maqetuka, this position has never
jeopardized South Africa’s trade relations with other countries around the world.

Meanwhile, seven African presidents, including South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa,
will travel to Kiev and St. Petersburg next week to discuss a ceasefire in the
ongoing conflict. These are Egypt, the Republic of the Congo, Senegal, South
Africa, Uganda and Zambia, and the incumbent chair of the African Union, the
Comoros.

The seven-member delegation is scheduled to be in Kiev on June 16 where they
will meet President Vladimir Zelensky, the NGO said. The group will then be
received by Russian president Vladimir Putin in Saint Petersburg on June 17, it
stated.

Africa stepping up and taking some initiative for peace. The South African
government reported that the Russian leader “welcomed the initiative by African
Heads of State and expressed his desire to receive the peace mission.” It also
stated last month that Zelensky had approved of the initiative and consented to
host the leaders.

On May 16, Ramaphosa personally also announced that Russian and Ukrainian
authorities had agreed to host an African delegation to seek a peaceful resolution
to the conflict. Ramaphosa spoke by the phone with the two leaders prior to this
announcement.

Seven African presidents are part of a peace mission to find a solution to the
Ukrainian crisis that will visit Kiev and St. Petersburg next week, the Brazzaville
Foundation reported. The Brazzaville Foundation was created in the summer of
2014 by French businessman Jean-Yves Olivier, who is its current president. The
organization is headquartered in London.

 

Source: Thepressradio.com|Kestér Kenn Klomegâh

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