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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Biden, Ramaphosa talk after SA again abstains from UN vote on Russia

South Africa has been criticised for its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has had telephone talks with his US counterpart President Joe Biden following South Africa’s third abstention from the UN General Assembly’s vote to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

The vote involved over what the UN said is gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights.

The US-led resolution received 93 votes in favour and 24 against, and 58 countries abstained.

South Africa has been criticised for its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has so far claimed at least 1 500 lives, and forced more than 4.3 million to flee their homes to neighbouring countries.

On Friday, scores of people including children were killed after two rockets hit a railway station in Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region as thousands tried to evacuate the area.

Yet South Africa has repeatedly called for Russia and Ukraine to maintain the momentum of peace talks and resolve disputes through dialogue and negotiations, which has placed government under fire for its neutral stance, after failing to condemn the war.

ALSO READ: Pro-Russia bias is tainting SA’s image

Ramaphosa is also yet to speak to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, after already having spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Local media suggested it was Biden who initiated the call to Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa tweeted Friday he had “a productive” telephone call with Biden.

“We shared views on the conflict in Ukraine and agreed on the need for a ceasefire and dialogue between Ukraine and Russia.”

In a statement, the White House also emphasised the strength of the bilateral partnership, as well as global challenges brought on by Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine.

On Thursday, at the South African Head of Missions Conference ahead of the UN’s vote on Russia, Ramaphosa said the war in Ukraine had exposed the inability of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to maintain international peace and security.

“The war in the Ukraine has had an extraordinary impact on global affairs, and these developments will continue to define international relations into the future.

“As a country we are committed to the articles of the United Nations Charter, including the principle that all member states shall settle and should settle their disputes by peaceful means.”

Last month, Ramaphosa blamed Nato for the war in Ukraine when answering questions in the National Assembly in Cape Town.

During his talk with Biden, Ramapohosa also congratulated the US President on the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Jackson Brown as the first Black Woman Justice of the US Supreme Court.

ALSO READ: Ousting Russia from UN body won’t contribute to end of Ukraine war – Pandor

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