South Africa calls for humanitarian assistance in Ukraine and dialogue to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict

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Tebogo Msimanga |

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday considered resolutions on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. The department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) says South Africa’s approach has been that in the current context of the conflict in Ukraine, the United Nations must adopt a resolution on the humanitarian situation affecting the people of Ukraine that is based on the principles that govern humanitarian assistance, namely, humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.

“These principles provide the foundations for humanitarian action and are central to establishing and maintaining access to those affected. An important aspect of this resolution must be to express concern about the humanitarian situation and call on all parties to abide by international humanitarian law.”

Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said South Africa abstained from a resolution that made the attainment of a General Assembly consensus difficult. “At this stage, it remains imperative that all parties to the conflict are committed to humanitarian principles and a UN humanitarian response and be part of an outcome that we adopt.”

Monyela said it is for this reason that South Africa saw the need to put forward alternative text which focussed specifically on the humanitarian plight of those affected. “South Africa called for a United Nations outcome that will first and foremost focus on calling for the cessation of hostilities as the first step towards ameliorating the humanitarian situation.”

In a statement, Dirco said South Africa remains steadfast that an atmosphere of dialogue, mediation and diplomacy is the only path to de-escalate the current conflict. “In this regard, we reiterate our call for the Good Offices of the United Nations to mediate in pursuit of finding a sustainable solution and for us as member states to facilitate an enabling environment for dialogue.”

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