President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa stated that sanctions on Russia were hurting “bystander countries” and urged for talks, as the African Union (AU) readied a mission to promote dialogue between Moscow and Kyiv.
Ramaphosa remarked during a visit to South Africa by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was on his way to the continent to mobilize diplomatic support for Ukraine.
Due to the Soviet Union’s assistance for the anti-apartheid campaign, South Africa has strong historical connections with Moscow. It voted against a UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has resisted efforts to condemn Russia.
In an attempt to punish Moscow for its military activities in Ukraine, the European Union has adopted tough sanctions and the breaking of economic links, a tactic that Ramaphosa claims is creating collateral damage.
“Even those nations who are either spectators or are not involved in the war will suffer as a result of the sanctions placed on Russia,” he said during a press conference in Pretoria.
Africa, which has already had millions of people forced into severe poverty as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, has been heavily struck by increased food prices caused in part by Russia-Ukraine conflict disruptions.
Russia and Ukraine contribute for about a third of worldwide wheat and barley exports, as well as two-thirds of global cooking sunflower oil exports.
Ukraine’s ports and agricultural infrastructure have been destroyed by the fighting, which will certainly limit its agricultural production for years to come.
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Scholz called on nations to increase oil and gas production to stem global energy price hikes in an interview with German television Deutsche Welle earlier on Tuesday.
Scholz, who is also visiting Niger and Senegal, said he was glad to have the opportunity to explain South Africa’s perspective on the conflict while standing alongside Ramaphosa.
He did, however, emphasize that Russia’s effort to change international borders by force is wrong.
“Mr President, I think it is important that we continue these discussions intensively,” he stated. “We are very concerned about the outcome of the war for Africa.”
While receiving Scholz on Sunday, Senegal’s President Macky Sall – the current leader of Africa’s main political body, the African Union – said he was planning to visit Kyiv and Moscow to promote peace.
Sall spoke with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last month, who had sought an audience with the AU.
Ramaphosa, who has been asked to attend the G7 conference in Germany next month, said that discussion is the best way to end the conflict, and that Africa “does have a role to play” since it has access to the leaders of both Ukraine and Russia.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES