Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023

"Friends" With Russia, Says South Africa Amid Ukraine War

"Friends" With Russia, Says South Africa Amid Ukraine War

Lavrov said Moscow appreciated "the independent, well-balanced, and considerate approach" taken by Pretoria.
South Africa said on Monday it was "friends" with Russia as it hosted Russia's top diplomat for a visit that has sparked criticism against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine.

A continental powerhouse, South Africa has refused to condemn Moscow's invasion of Ukraine and last week announced it will host joint maritime drills with Russia and China in February.

Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor defended the move on Monday as she welcomed her counterpart Sergei Lavrov for talks in Pretoria.

"All countries conduct military exercises with friends," Ms Pandor told a press conference after the talks.

She thanked Lavrov for the "most wonderful meeting," which she earlier said would have helped "strengthen the already good relations" with what she described as a "valued partner."

South Africa recently assumed the chairmanship of the BRICS, a grouping that also includes Brazil, Russia, India, and China, to challenge the dominant US and European-led global governance structures.

It has resisted taking sides over the war in Ukraine, which has triggered sweeping Western sanctions against Moscow and attempts to leave it diplomatically isolated.

But the links with Moscow have triggered criticism, with some accusing the government of having abandoned its neutral stance.

'Openly siding with Russia'

"It is becoming increasingly clear that the South African government is openly siding with Russia," said Darren Bergman, a lawmaker with the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party.

"Friendly engagement" with Russia was "not appropriate" unless aimed at persuading it to end its involvement in Ukraine, he said.

Lavrov said Moscow appreciated "the independent, well-balanced, and considerate approach" taken by Pretoria.

Russia did not "refuse negotiations" with Ukraine, he added.

"But those who refuse must understand that the longer they refuse, the more difficult it is to find a solution," he said.

Officials in Moscow have blamed the closure of diplomatic channels on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has said he will not negotiate while Russian leader Vladimir Putin is in power.

Despite the public overtures, the Kremlin has so far shown little willingness to soften its approach on the ground.

In Pretoria, members of the Ukrainian community in South Africa held a small protest against the visit, with some waving signs reading "Go home Lavrov," and "Stop the lies! Stop the war."

More than 350 South African army personnel are to take part in the joint naval exercises scheduled for February 17 to 27 off the port cities of Durban and Richards Bay.

Last week, the foundation of the late South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, called the planned naval exercises "disgraceful" and "tantamount to a declaration that South Africa is joining the war against Ukraine."
Newsletter

Related Articles

Saudi Press
Close
0:00
0:00
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Saudi FM discusses Kingdom’s economy, oil, Iran and US ties in Davos
Israelis rally in three cities against Netanyahu legal reforms
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Saudi Arabia plans to use domestic uranium for nuclear fuel
Mohammed Bin Salman chosen most influential Arab leader of 2022
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
United Arab Emirates says it will teach Holocaust in schools
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Saudi Arabia’s female ambassadors: Who are the five women representing the Kingdom?
Almubarak named ‘The Best Central Bank Governor of the Year 2023 for the Middle East’
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Dubai announces $8.7 trillion economic plan to boost trade, investment and global hub status
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
×