President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has declared that his country will continue to uphold its independent and non-aligned foreign policy, rejecting calls to abandon it. Speaking at an Africa Day celebration, President Ramaphosa emphasized that the African continent often finds itself embroiled in conflicts that extend beyond its borders. He reaffirmed South Africa’s commitment to peaceful conflict resolution, maintaining its stance on global power contests.
Strained Relations and Allegations of Arms Trade
South Africa’s relationship with the United States, an important trade ally, has faced strain due to Pretoria’s non-aligned position in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Recent public statements by the US ambassador to South Africa alleging arms sales to Russia further exacerbated tensions. President Ramaphosa agreed to investigate the claims but stated that no concrete evidence supported the allegations.
Pressure and Threats to Independent Foreign Policies
President Ramaphosa highlighted that countries, including South Africa, face the threat of penalties for pursuing independent foreign policies and adopting non-aligned positions. However, he did not specify the nature of these penalties or identify who is issuing the threats. The president underscored the painful memories of foreign superpowers engaging in proxy wars on African soil, emphasizing the need for Africa to retain its agency and avoid becoming a battleground for external conflicts.
Pending Decision on Russian President’s Visit and ICC Warrant
The South African government is currently under pressure to make a decision regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming visit. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest in connection with the Ukraine conflict. This adds another layer of complexity to South Africa’s foreign policy considerations and its commitment to non-alignment.