November 26, 2022

Joe Biden discusses Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with possible mediator South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses Basic Education Lekgotla. This annual event will be held under the theme: "Equipping Learners with Knowledge and Skills for a Changing World".
President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses Basic Education Lekgotla. This annual event will be held under the theme: "Equipping Learners with Knowledge and Skills for a Changing World".

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Friday spoke with President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and both leaders discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Last month, Mr. Ramaphosa asserted that NATO provoked Russia into invading Ukraine by expanding eastward despite warnings from amongst its own members and officials.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the economy and supply chain issues during the holiday season, Wednesday, December 1, 2021, in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

In March, South Africa was also one of 35 countries that abstained from voting on the United Nations resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Belarus joined Russia in voting against the resolution. However, most other countries in the world voted for the resolution condemning the devastating invasion.

During a speech in parliament, the South African leader whose country was in the receiving end of racism from the West for decades, asserted that the war in Ukraine could have been avoided.

“The war could have been avoided if NATO had heeded warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less, instability in the region,” Mr. Ramaphosa said.

The South African leader clarified that he did not want to take sides to undermine his country’s role as a possible mediator. He said he had been approached to mediate in the Ukraine-Russia war without specifying who approached him.

Ramaphosa clarified that South Africa was not in support of any invasion “cannot condone the use of force and violation of international law.”

“There are those who are insisting that we should take a very adversarial stance against Russia,” he said, adding that his approach would be to insist that “there should be dialogue.”

“Screaming and shouting is not going to bring an end to this conflict,” he added.

Ramphosa said South Africa was also neutral in a conflict between Northern Ireland and former Finish President Marti Ahtisaari.

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According to the White House, during their phone call on Friday,”President Biden emphasized the strength of the bilateral partnership, as well as global challenges brought on by Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine, addressing climate change, and enhancing our partnership on trade, health security, and the Covid-19 pandemic.”

He also emphasized “the need for a clear, unified international response to Russian aggression in Ukraine. The leaders also shared views on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and the impact of the crisis on supply chains, commodity prices, and food security in Africa,” the White House added.

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