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SA abstains on a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia…again

SA abstains on a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia…again
A screen shows results of voting on 12 October 2022 by members of the United Nations General Assembly on a resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of regions of Ukraine. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Justin Lane)

South Africa abstained from a United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning Russia for its holding of referendums in four occupied Ukrainian provinces last month before annexing them to Russia.

Wednesday’s United Nations General Assembly vote means South Africa has abstained from every UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, including one in April when Russia was suspended from the UN Human Rights Council.

The resolution debated on Wednesday whether to condemn Russia’s “illegal so-called referendums” in the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia” and its “attempted illegal annexation” of them was carried by the necessary two-thirds majority of UN members, with 143 votes for, five against and 35 abstentions.

The resolution stated that the referendums held in the four regions from 23 to 27 September 2022 while they were partly under the temporary military control of Russia and the subsequent attempted illegal annexation of these regions, “have no validity under international law and do not form the basis for any alteration of the status of these regions of Ukraine”.

It noted that the regions had been “under the temporary military control of the Russian Federation, as a result of aggression, in violation of the sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine…”

The resolution also noted that Russia’s actions violated Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations which obliges UN members to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state and to settle all international disputes peacefully.

South Africa’s ambassador to the UN, Mathu Joyini, in her explanation of the country’s decision to abstain, said that South Africa considered the territorial integrity of Ukraine to be “sacrosanct” and rejected any action of a state which violated the UN Charter.

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But she said that South Africa had abstained from the resolution because some elements of it did not contribute towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. She said Pretoria called for a cessation of hostilities and urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to mediate in the conflict and the UN Security Council to play a constructive role in ending it.

“South Africa is deeply concerned by the ongoing war in Ukraine, the increased loss of life and the deteriorating humanitarian situation. The detrimental effects of this war are also being felt all over the world.  We urge parties to the conflict to fully respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Civilians, humanitarian personnel, vulnerable persons, including women and children, must be fully protected.

“South Africa considers the territorial integrity of States, including that of Ukraine, to be sacrosanct and we reject all actions that undermine the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter, and International Law. We have noted the statement of the UN secretary-general, Mr António Guterres, when he said that, “any annexation of a State’s territory by another resulting from the threat of or the use of force is a violation of the Principles of the UN Charter and International Law”.

“We abstained on the resolution because we believe that the objective of this Assembly in keeping with its mandate must always be to contribute to a constructive outcome conducive to the creation of sustainable peace in Ukraine. Unfortunately, some elements of the resolution do not address this. In the context of the heightened tensions in recent days, all efforts should be geared towards a ceasefire and a political solution. 

“We therefore expected that any additional resolutions would focus on concrete proposals to end the war which is exacting such a heavy toll on the people of Ukraine.  South Africa remains steadfast that dialogue, mediation and diplomacy is the only path that will lead to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. We reiterate our call for a cessation of hostilities as a matter of urgency. This would create the necessary environment required for a political process leading to sustainable peace, taking into account the concerns of all affected States. 

“We therefore call on the UN Secretary-General to use his Good Offices to mediate in pursuit of finding a sustainable solution and for us as Member States to facilitate an enabling environment for dialogue and a negotiated solution to the conflict. South Africa stands ready to work with all member states to contribute to the creation of this conducive environment. 

“We urge the UN Security Council to play a constructive role in the resolution of this conflict, in line with its mandate for the maintenance of international peace and security. The Council cannot abandon its responsibility during this time.”

South Africa’s China and India partners in the BRICS bloc also abstained while Brazil voted for the resolution. Russia of course voted against the resolution. Thirty African countries voted for it and none against, while 19 abstained and five did not vote. It was the highest vote by African countries for a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia for its attack on Ukraine.

The Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya claimed that the US and other Western powers had exerted enormous pressure on developing states to support the resolution, including threats to withdraw economic support. While there is no evidence for this, it is true that Western nations lobbied hard for South Africa and other African states to support the resolution.

Nebenzya also accused the West of double standards, saying that it had supported the independence of Kosovo from Serbia without testing the opinion of its people as Russia had tested the opinions of the people of the four Ukrainian provinces in its referendums last month.

He claimed that all the referendums had shown overwhelming support for incorporation into Russia — ranging between 87% and 99% for the four regions — with large voter turnout ranging from 76% to 99%. Ukrainian officials and independent observers — as well as several speakers in Wednesday’s debate — said however that voters had placed their ballots under military intimidation and that the voter turnout had been extremely low.

But in any case, they noted that Russia had no legal right to hold referendums of this sort in a foreign country. DM

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  • William Grunow says:

    What bullshit! This soft-handedness does not promote peace, on the contrary, it signals that violence will go unpunished.

    Truly embarrassing.

    • P B M .. says:

      William, South Africa is fast becoming a failed state. Did we really expect anything less from the Bafoons who are running our once beautiful country, into the ground?

  • Miles Japhet says:

    The communist roots of the ANC are laid bare. Russia has a small economy and is a negligible trading partner. This stance simply makes our poor, poorer.
    An unprovoked imperialist attack on a sovereign nation should be condemned by the ANC, but they are hypocrites.

    • Dave Jacobs says:

      Agree, by not confronting the actions of their friends in the Kremlin, the ANC government is isolating our country more and more with this non-stance. An ineffective smoke screen, that has no effect other than taint the image of South Africa in the eyes of our most important trading partners, i.e. the Ukranian-aligned countries.

  • Hiram C Potts says:

    Did anyone expect anything different from this bunch of corrupt clowns masquerading as a govt. They’re totally confused about which version of Russia they feel that they need to support. Is it the Stalinist Communist utopia of the past, or is it Putin’s right wing fascist kleptocracy of the present?
    Imbeciles!

  • Peter Atkins says:

    We should be red-listed, not grey-listed.

  • Bomi Hloba says:

    “South Africa considered the territorial integrity of Ukraine to be “sacrosanct” and rejected any action of a state which violated the UN Charter.” How mesmerising is this pseudo ideology? The AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS deserve the most prestigious recognition for their phenomenal capability of plunging the Republic of South Africa into grave disrepute. How can you continuously opt to abstain from voting on such a pressing issue? This only provides stark evidence that these collective of individuals stand for the egregious Human Rights violations carried out by World renowned psychopath, Vladimir Putin! I, for one and believe a great number of South Africans too, concretely stand for Ukraine as victims of the most despicable and unbelievably heinous conduct by Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Putin should have been assigned to a mental institution decades ago, he is blatantly mentally unstable, to a great extent, mentally incapacitated and has proven through his unwarranted attack on Ukraine that he is a mass murderer!

    • Malcolm McManus says:

      The most scariest issues with the globe at the moment is the actions of Biden. At least Putin can put a full sentence together. I am deeply concerned about the USA impact on the globe under the watch of a clearly mentally challenged Biden. His latest rhetoric on Saudi and very possible actions against the EU with credible evidence of involvement of blowing up Noord stream are deeply worrying.

    • Patterson Alan John says:

      I agree.
      Here is a scenario to ponder on.
      Would the ANC Government be willing to sit down at a peace table with an aggressor who invaded Gauteng and Limpopo, targeted the civilian population, annexed the territory and held a referendum for transfer to their rule?
      And would all the abstaining African countries in the recent Ukrainian vote, also abstain in this situation?

      • Malcolm McManus says:

        Another Scenario,
        Truth is, No Alien planet has yet invaded Earth. Yet the Americans hate them already. How many movies about Aliens are about friendship with them. None. So locally on mother ship earth nobody is safe amongst USA aggression and dominance. Who would want to cause a need to negotiate in the first place.

  • Mark Holgate says:

    If the ANC and SA government is so easy with referendums, can we have ours to Free the Cape? What is the future, honestly, if we don’t? Occupation by a corrupt gang of police and vote manipulation by a steady stream of sponsored migrants from the Eastern Cape. Our history shouldn’t end here.

    • Malcolm McManus says:

      We would need to do some bombing first. Use some ANC methods of getting into power and then annex perhaps the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Transvaal (or whatever its called now), Free state (or whatever its called now) and perhaps KZN and a few other areas. Maybe Biden in his current mental capacity can assist with Himars. About 1 should do it. Our defense force cant even defend an ovary from getting fertilized.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    The ANC has hit rock bottom. Zero respect from the world of civilized countries. When it comes to our elections bear this in mind. Vote for the only Liberal, Free Democratic and party in South Africa with a good record of delivery..

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    What eternal shame and disgusting to the core!!! This despicable ANC is either too stupid, immoral or hypocritical, in fact all of them, as they can’t connect the dots. They are so intrinsically and pathetically anti-Western (knee-jerk reaction) without realising that Russia, under the curse and evil that is communism and now under that hideous, diabolical, murderous and brutal Putin KGB thug are the modern day oppressors, and colonisers, ruling by fear, state terror and the barrel of a gun. The Baltic states and Eastern Europe were colonised, had no human rights and democracy, and managed to free themselves when Gorbachev released the reigns. Putin wants them all back, under Russian control, subjugation and exploitation, stemming from his warped, false, and brittle alter ego ie tow my line or else I will destroy you – and this abominable ANC can’t or won’t see it. They talk human rights – all hot air-but walk, support and close ranks with the most murderous human rights abusers and murderers. I have nothing but utter seething contempt for this obnoxious party that it has become over the last decade and a half. How quickly these monsters have forgotten their history and struggle that they are now on the wrong side!!!!

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The ANC government ambassador to the UN, Joyini, has not done anything to any ANC appointed people including the ANC appointed MPs. For people to be surprised about the manner in which she voted is a surprise. It is time people make a distinction between ANC government ambassadors and the South African ambassadors because it is not only significant but very important. This is because of the interests that informs their conduct or vote. In the diplomatic world we must differentiate between ANC interests and South African interests and the ANC government does not represent the South African interests but the ANC interests. This is a fundamental shift from the Mbeki era. It is a point the tavern diplomat of DIRCO misses in his missive laced with inaccuracies, by a fellow called Clayson Monyela including outright lies. Bending history and the truth is an ANC pastime. This Ambassador mouths the truth but votes for lies because abstention is a vote. She was caught between her job, the US and Russia and chose to support Russia by abstaining instead of sending a clear message as to where as country we stand on the UN Charter and international law. The new hogwash of “non – aligned” is a meaningless hogwash of Russian thuggery like the the so – called “New Economic Order” we used to mouth in universities and during the struggle era as one of the Soviet gimmicks. We hear its resuscitation by some clowns now. It is time South Africa said Adios to clowns.

  • Rencia Cloete says:

    NO!! I hide my head in shame! These politicians do NOT speak for me.

  • Sheda Habib says:

    Well done South Africa.
    Ijust wish you would do the right things at home as well

  • Chris Green says:

    Eish Naledi, the prostitution continues !!

  • Nick Griffon says:

    I have said this many times before.
    The US and the EU should cut all aid to SA. Just earlier this year the US gave another R6,8B in AIDS funding. Why? SA keep on siding with mad men and failed states in the EU.
    These clowns always say that there is an African solution to an African problem. Well, let them show the world how this African solution will work exactly.
    ANC cannot even pay their own staff without stealing from the National purse.

  • Pieter Gouws says:

    Shameful. The ethics and values of a government that lost its bearings, publicly displayed again. What a terrible bunch of losers we are sitting with. Inept. Incompetent. Rudderless. Plainly pathetic. Leading South Africans into the abyss.

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