South African President: Country’s Non-aligned Position Does Not Favour Russia
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday said the country’s non-aligned position as regards the Russian-Ukraine war does not mean that it favors Russia over other states, reported Reuters. He also reiterated a call for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.
“We do not accept that our non-aligned position favors Russia above other countries,” Ramaphosa said adding, “Nor do we accept that it should imperil our relations with other countries.”
The South African president’s comments were published in a weekly presidential newsletter. The newsletter comes at a time when the United States ambassador in Pretoria, Reuben Brigety, accused the country of having supplied arms and ammunition to Russia via a cargo ship, which sparked a diplomatic row.
Ramaphosa said South Africa would continue to honor international agreements and treaties it is a signatory to and its approach to U.S. allegations of arms shipment would abide by them.
The president’s office has said that there is no concrete evidence that supports the claims made by the ambassador, however, the government has launched an inquiry led by a retired judge that will look into the matter.
The South African government officials had not approved any arms shipment to Russia in December.
US ambassador Brigety was summoned on Friday to meet South African foreign minister Naledi Pandor. According to a foreign ministry statement, he apologized to the government and the people of South Africa for making such allegations.
“I was grateful for the opportunity to speak with Foreign Minister Pandor… and correct any misimpressions left by my public remarks,” Brigety said in a tweet.
The ambassador, however, did not confirm whether he had apologized.
Notably, South Africa has been abstained from voting on U.N. resolutions on Russia’s war in Ukraine. The government claims it is impartial but Western countries consider it to be one of the closest allies of Russia.