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South African Foreign Affairs Minister Pandor claimed the sovereignty of her country to decide with whom it establishes relations.
On Friday, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said the EU respects South Africa's decision to carry out naval exercises with Russia and China, although it would prefer it not to participate in such joint exercises.
The Ukrainian conflict "is not just a European war. It is happening on European soil, but it affects the whole world. The consequences are felt around the globe," Borrell said before hinting at the EU stance on the military maneuvers that will take place in February.
"We have always respected South Africa's traditional non-alignment stance in foreign policy. The European Union does not ask [South] Africa to choose sides. We are just asking all countries in the world to stand on the side of the United Nations charter, " he added.
These statements were made during a press conference held in Pretoria together with the South African Foreign Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in South Africa on Monday on the first stop of a four-nation Africa tour. Next month, Russian warships will take part in joint naval exercises with SA and China for the second "Operation Mosi." pic.twitter.com/vOGg29vSDM
Commenting on the opinions issued by Borrell, she limited herself to wondering why no one questioned before the military exercises that South Africa carried out with Western countries such as France or the United States.
A week ago, the South African Armed Forces announced that they would hold the "MOSI exercises" off the country's east coast between February 17 and 27. These drills include the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy and the Russian Federal Navy.
Besides defending the naval maneuvers, Pandor claimed the sovereignty of South Africa to decide with whom it establishes relations. Her statements occurred amid this week's visit to the South African nation of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry Sergei Lavrov.