SA explains abstention from Ukraine resolution vote

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) says South Africa continues to express its deep regret that the war in Ukraine, which marks its first anniversary, continues to destroy innocent lives and critical infrastructure, as well as displacement of millions of people.

“This is a war whose impact has resonated across the globe, affecting the livelihoods of the most vulnerable, and heightening the current debilitating global food, fuel and financial crisis,” the department said in a statement on Friday.

South Africa, according to DIRCO, wishes to stress its unwavering belief in the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations Charter (UN Charter).

However, the department said South Africa believes that sovereignty and the territorial integrity of all States should be “sacrosanct” and this also applies to the Ukraine.

This comes after 32 countries on Thursday abstained during the vote on a motion put forward by Germany calling for peace in the Ukraine immediately.

According to Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW), China, India, South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and much of Africa and Central Asia were among those who abstained.

In addition, 141 Member States voted in favour of the motion, and seven opposed it, including Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Syria, Mali, Eritrea and Nicaragua.

South Africa said it was firm in its resolve that urgent action is needed to end the war.

“However, it is a sad indictment on our efforts that we, as the international community, have been unable to come up with concrete proposals to create the conditions to do so. As South Africa has stated before in this Assembly, diplomacy and dialogue is the only path that will lead to a sustainable and peaceful resolution of the conflict.

“This resolution on the war in the Ukraine comes amidst an influx of arms to the region, perpetuating greater acts of violence and increased human suffering. This, together with the threat of nuclear war, makes peace seem less attainable,” DIRCO said.

Over the last year, DIRCO said, the UN General Assembly has adopted a series of resolutions on the Ukraine.

“As we have asked the Assembly before, are our words and actions focused on the maintenance of peace or creating further divisions that make the attainment of immediate peace less likely?”

While the department said it supports the present resolution’s focus on the principles of the Charter and international law, “it sadly brings us no closer to laying the foundations for a durable peace and bringing an end to the devastation and destruction”.

“What we need is a firm unequivocal commitment to peace, from all parties. A resolution calling for peace without firm action will ring hollow,” DIRCO said.

Source: South African Government News Agency