Pretoria, 7 March 2022 (TDI): The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, mentioned that the country abstained from voting in last week’s United Nations resolution. That resolution was on the escalating conflict between Russia and its neighbor Ukraine.

Ramaphosa explained that the decision to abstain was because the resolution did not foreground the call for meaningful engagement. He then added that before the resolution; the talks between Russia and Ukraine were already underway.


According to him, South Africa expected that the UN resolution would foremost welcome the commencement of dialogue between the parties.  Ramaphosa also remarked they expected the resolution to seek to create the conditions for these talks to succeed.

He then added that instead of that, the community relegated the call for a peaceful resolution through political dialogue. According to him, the community relegated it to a single sentence close to the conclusion of the final text.

That was the reason why South Africa abstained from voting because this does not provide encouragement and international backing. According to Ramaphosa, the parties need it to continue with their efforts.

The President also mentioned that calling for peaceful negotiation is aligned with the values upon which the UN was founded. They expressed concern that the Security Council’s inability to discharge its responsibility to maintain peace and security.

Ukrainian Ambassador presented credentials to the President, showing the stable relations
Ukrainian Ambassador presented credentials to the President, showing the stable relations

Ramaphosa remarked that this gives impetus to the long-standing calls for the Security Council’s reform to be able to deal with the challenges of the 21st century. He then added that the UN Charter motivates members to settle their disputes by peaceful means in the first instance.


It states that parties to any dispute should first seek a solution by negotiation, inquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and similar mechanisms. South Africa’s position towards the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, has been to call for a peaceful, and lasting resolution.

Ramaphosa also mentioned that due to their decision to abstain from the vote condemning Russia’s military operation in Ukraine; they placed themselves on the wrong side of history. The President reaffirmed that this wasn’t the case, and stated that his country is on the side of peace.

According to Ramaphosa, South Africa is on the side of peace at a time when another war is something the world does not need, nor can it afford. The note also warned that the results of these hostilities will be felt globally and for many years to come.


Although Ramaphosa agreed that a cessation of hostilities may indeed be achieved through force of arms or economic pressure; it would not lead to sustainable peace. The President remarked that due to their previous experience of ending the apartheid, the country can provide insights.

The first insight was that even the most seemingly intractable differences can reach an agreement at the negotiating table. Then the second one was that even as talks may collapse, they can and do resume. The third one was that even when it seems the parties cannot see eye to eye, breakthroughs can and do happen.

He also affirmed that the fact that they continue to support the call for negotiation and dialogue does not render their commitment to human rights any less. Furthermore, Ramaphosa remarked that since the outbreak of the country; South Africa expressed concern at the impact of the conflict on civilians.

He then added that concern included the fact that they believe that war is not the solution to the conflict and that it leads to human suffering. Ramaphosa reaffirmed the commitment of South Africa to advance human rights and fundamental freedoms of everyone.


In his statement, he added that South Africa’s commitment to human rights is not only for them but for the peoples of Palestine; Western Sahara, Afghanistan, Syria, and across Africa and the world.

The note then mentioned how encouraged the country is after the words of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres. According to Ramaphosa; Guterres said last week that he would do everything in his power to contribute to an immediate cessation of hostilities and urgent negotiations for peace.

Ramaphosa ended his statement by making a call upon Russia and Ukraine to subject this conflict to mediation and reach an agreement. Finally, he mentioned that the people of Russia and Ukraine deserve the peace that is durable, sustainable, and lasting.