South Africa


Sergey Lavrov welcomes SA’s ‘non-aligned’ position on Russia

Sergey Lavrov welcomes SA’s ‘non-aligned’ position on Russia
From left: South African Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Veli Nhlapo) | Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (Photo: Jeon Heon-Kyun / Pool / Getty Images)

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has welcomed what he describes as South Africa’s resistance to Western efforts to draw Africa into a confrontation with his country.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has welcomed the South African government’s “responsible position” in “opposing the demands of the collective West to draw African states into a confrontation with Russia”.

Lavrov made a call to his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor on Tuesday, the Russian foreign ministry announced on Twitter. Pandor’s spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele confirmed that the conversation took place, but would not confirm or deny Russia’s characterisation of it.

He would only say that Lavrov initiated the call and that “Minister Lavrov asked to speak to Minister Pandor on the Africa summit, the BRICS chair and political consultations”.

The Russia-Africa summit he was referring to, is due to take place later this year. No date or venue has been announced, though Ngqengelele said these had already been decided on.

South Africa is due to chair the 2023 BRICS forum, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. As chair, South Africa will automatically host the club’s annual summit.

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The Russian foreign ministry tweeted that Lavrov and Pandor had “exchanged views on the main issues of bilateral relations and current problems on the international agenda, including the situation in Ukraine. On the Russian side, the responsible position of Pretoria was noted, opposing the demands of the collective West to draw African states into a confrontation with Russia”.

This was an apparent reference to South Africa’s steadfast and controversial position of “non-alignment” in the conflict between Russia, on the one side, and Ukraine, backed by Western countries, on the other. 

“The interest of Moscow and Pretoria in the further progressive development of bilateral political dialogue, the increase of mutually beneficial trade and economic and other cooperation, and the coordination of positions in BRICS, the Group of 20, the UN and other international platforms are confirmed,” the Russian foreign ministry tweet continued.

Ngqengelele said he was not in a position to confirm or deny if the Russian foreign ministry had accurately reflected the conversation, because “I wasn’t in the same place when Minister Pandor took the call.  You also know, as the general rule, Minister Pandor never reveals her private discussions with other ministers, unless necessary”. DM


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