President Cyril Ramaphosa has held discussions with President Hassan Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran to express South Africa’s interest in a peaceful and just resolution of the tension between Iran and the United States, the presidency in South Africa said in a statement to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.
President Ramaphosa placed a telephone call to his counterpart on Thursday 9 January 2020 during his visit to Kimberley in the Northern Cape where the President is leading the 108th anniversary celebrations of the African National Congress.
President Ramaphosa’s engagement with President Rouhani was informed by South Africa’s principled view that conflicts should be resolved through political dialogue rather than the use of force.
The engagement was also framed by South Africa’s role as a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council and Incoming Chair of the African Union.
President Ramaphosa conveyed to President Rouhani South Africa’s condolences at the assassination of the Iranian Military Commander, Major-General Qasem Soleimani, in a United States military strike which targeted General Soleimani on Iraqi soil on Friday 3 January 2020.
President Ramaphosa also conveyed South Africa’s sadness at the loss of life – including that of a significant number of Iranian citizens – that resulted from the crash of Ukranian International Airlines Flight 752 shortly after take-off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran on Wednesday, 8 January 2020.
In the context of the pursuit of global peace, President Ramaphosa expressed deep concern at the military action by the United States which has led to increased tension and created conditions for retaliation.
President Ramaphosa called on all sides to exercise maximum restraint and conduct themselves within the rule of international law.
The President expressed to President Rouhani his expectation that the international community make every effort to secure a peaceful and just outcome which will advance global peace, enable global trade and provide security for ordinary people in all parts of the world.
President Ramaphosa said South Africa was deeply concerned about the escalating tension in the Middle East, which has far-reaching implications for the region as well as international peace and security.