Presidency Minister Mondli Gungubele has rejected claims that the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has contradicted President Cyril Ramaphosa over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to an Sunday Times According to the report, Ramaphosa is said to be “unhappy” about Dirco’s statement this week, in which the department called on Russia to withdraw its soldiers from Ukraine.
An anonymous source told the publication that Dirco’s statement contradicted South Africa’s stance on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
“The president did not see the statement before it was issued and he does not agree with it. There are people within Dirco with an agenda that we should be enemies of Russia,” the source said.
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But presidency minister Mondli Gungubele declined to comment on whether the conflicting claims were true.
“The president, as commander in chief, was very clear on the matter regarding mediation and negotiations. Moreover, it is the attitude of the country, especially the last cabinet, that will always favor peaceful solutions to conflicts.
“We will always be against any conflict that leads to loss of life, we are not allowed to comment further,” he said at the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster media briefing on Sunday.
South Africa is a member of Brics – an economic group made up of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Dirco visited the Russian president on Thursday Vladimir Putin to immediately stop the military attacks and insist on respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence.
The department also pointed out that South Africa believed in “dialogue” to end the conflict.
“South Africa emphasizes respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states. As a nation created through negotiations, South Africa always appreciates the potential dialogue that can be had in averting crisis and de-escalating conflict.
“Consistent with our strong commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflicts, South Africa urges all parties to step up their efforts in diplomacy and find a solution that will help prevent further escalation,” the ministry said. .
During the JCPS briefing, Defense Minister and Military Veterans Thandi Modise indicated that the government has not received a request to repatriate South Africans to Ukraine.
Modise said there were no plans to launch the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) soldiers to Ukraine to assist in the evacuation.
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“Do we have any plans to evacuate?” [South Africans from Ukraine]† Not yet… we have not been officially told that South Africans want to be evacuated, either from Ukraine or Russia.
†[As] you know, [the South African government] believes in dialogue and we hope that a dialogue will actually take place in this situation… that’s all I can say. If and when the need arises [the media will be informed],” she said.
On Friday, Dirco urged South Africans detained in Ukraine to try to leave for neighboring countries.