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News > South Africa

UN: South African President Calls for Efforts to End Conflicts

  • South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the National Statement at UNGA78. Sep. 19, 2023.

    South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the National Statement at UNGA78. Sep. 19, 2023. | Photo: X/@SunilPal4

Published 19 September 2023

The world's current ills, divisions and seemingly intractable problems can and must be overcome, and the world community has "the means and the desire" to do so, said Cyril Ramaphosa.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called at the UN for every effort to end the conflicts that plague the world in the interest of a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future for the world and generations to come.

Cuban President Stresses Need to Change Current Int'l Order

In his speech at the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York City, Ramaphosa said that at the present time a large part of humanity is facing wars and conflicts, misery and hunger, diseases and environmental disasters.

Amid such a scenario and in the wake of a devastating global pandemic, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals seems increasingly remote, the president noted. 

He added that the global community has "the means and the desire" to put an end to wars and conflicts. At this point Ramaphosa brought up the role of the Democratic South Africa which "has consistently advocated dialogue, negotiation and diplomacy to prevent and end conflicts and achieve lasting peace." 

He also mentioned the country's role in the African Peace Initiative that seeks a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and insisted that the UN Charter principle of respect for the territorial integrity of each country must be adhered to.

We need institutions that are inclusive, representative, democratic and promote the interests of all nations, as well as a renewed commitment to multilateralism, based on clear rules and backed by effective institutions, he said.

Now is the time to proceed with reform of the UN Security Council, to give meaning to the principle of the sovereign equality of nations and to enable the council to respond more effectively to today's geopolitical realities, Ramaphosa urged.

The president noted as well that the voice of the African continent and the global South must be strengthened at the United Nations and in the wider multilateral system.

He also expressed his concern over recent incidents of unconstitutional changes of governments in parts of Africa such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Mali, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Northern Mozambique, the Great Lakes region, the Sahel, Niger and the Horn of Africa.

In this regard, he noted that the Peace and Security Council of the African Union has declared its readiness to deepen its cooperation with the UN Security Council to silence arms on the continent and achieve peace, stability and development.

He also called for recognizing the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and working for peace in the Middle East. "As long as the land of the Palestinians remains occupied, as long as their rights are ignored and their dignity is denied, peace will remain elusive," he said.

In his speech, Ramaphosa stressed that "South Africa continues to call for the lifting of the economic embargo against Cuba, which has caused incalculable damage to the country's economy and people." The president also urged the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe, noting the suffering imposed on ordinary Zimbabweans.

Ramaphosa also advocated before the plenary for mustering the will and determination needed to regain momentum towards achieving the 2030 Agenda, which, he said, requires predictable and sustained financial support, including supportive trade policies from the international community.

On global warming, he noted that Africa is warming faster than the rest of the world. "The people of our continent are once again bearing the cost of industrialization and development by rich nations," he stated. 

Highlighting the large sums of money that rich countries spend on financing wars, Ramaphosa expressed concern over their failure to meet the commitments to mobilize $100 billion a year for developing economies to take climate action.

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