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By Citizen Reporter

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UN General Assembly: South Africa explains why it abstained from Ukraine vote again

Joyini called on the General Assembly to stand together in seeking peace and unanimously call for an immediate end to the war.


South Africa has been criticised again for its decision to abstain from voting on the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution, calling on countries not to recognise the four regions of Ukraine which Russia has claimed, following referendums held late last month, and demanding that Russia reverse course on its “attempted illegal annexation”.

The results were 143 member states in favour, with five voting against, and 35 abstentions. A majority of the countries that abstained were African nations.

This is not South Africa’s first abstention.

South Africa’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Mathu Joyini, said while the country was deeply concerned by the ongoing war in Ukraine, the increased loss of life and the deteriorating humanitarian situation, it called on the UN Security Council to play a “constructive role” in the resolution of the UK-Russia conflict, in line with its mandate to maintain international peace and security.

Joyini said in the case of Ukraine, peace remained elusive, “instead we see steps being taken to encourage a continuation of the war”.

“South Africa considers the territorial integrity of States, including that of Ukraine, to be sacrosanct and we reject all actions that undermine the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter, and International Law. We have noted the statement of the UN Secretary-General, Mr António Guterres, when he said that, ‘any annexation of a State’s territory by another resulting from the threat of or the use of force is a violation of the Principles of the UN Charter and International Law’,” explained Joyini.

“We abstained on the resolution because we believe that the objective of this Assembly in keeping with its mandate must always be to contribute to a constructive outcome conducive to the creation of sustainable peace in Ukraine. Unfortunately, some elements of the resolution do not address this. In the context of the heightened tensions in recent days, all efforts should be geared towards a ceasefire and a political solution.”

ALSO READ: Why South Africa abstained from Ukraine vote at UN General Assembly

Joyini called on the General Assembly to stand together in seeking peace and unanimously call for an immediate end to the war.

“That should be our immediate focus,” said Joyini.

“We therefore expected that any additional resolutions would focus on concrete proposals to end the war which is exacting such a heavy toll on the people of Ukraine.

“South Africa remains steadfast that dialogue, mediation and diplomacy is the only path that will lead to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. We reiterate our call for a cessation of hostilities as a matter of urgency. This would create the necessary environment required for a political process leading to sustainable peace, taking into account the concerns of all affected States.”

Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde

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