SA has a role to play in the Middle East - Zuma

2017-08-24 22:15
President Jacob Zuma and Israel's ambassador to South Africa, Lior Keinan. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

President Jacob Zuma and Israel's ambassador to South Africa, Lior Keinan. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

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Pretoria - South Africa can play a role in the Middle East and will help resolve conflicts there if given the opportunity, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.

“This world must be at peace with itself and I hope there will be more time to discuss the solutions,” he said while receiving letters of credence from heads of missions at the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria.

Israel’s ambassador to South Africa, Lior Keinan, appealed to South Africa to play a more crucial role in resolving the Middle East conflict. He said South Africa had experience in peaceful conflict resolution, which would be advantageous in the region.

Zuma referred to Keinan by the Zulu word umkhwenyana (brother-in-law), because of his South African wife. He said he took note of his point.

Representatives of Pakistan, India, China, Ghana, Israel, and Uganda were present.

Zuma said he was confident that they would help contribute to mutually beneficial relations with South Africa and to attaining the United Nations sustainable development goals by 2030.

He expressed condolences to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone. There have been killings in the DRC after a December deadline for elections was missed, and a peace agreement brokered by the Catholic church fell apart. In Sierra Leone, hundreds of people have died or are still missing following a mudslide near the capital Freetown on August 14.

Zuma extended his condolences to the people of Spain where 15 people were killed in Islamic State terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils last week.

“South Africa condemns this deplorable act which resulted in the loss of innocent lives and caused unimaginable pain, irrespective of the motive.”

He said the world was characterised by growing insecurity, the causes of which included increased inequality, competition for scarce resources, and terrorism.

South Africa remained stable and open for business, he said.


President Jacob Zuma with other heads of mission at a ceremony in Pretoria where they handed over their letters of credence to him. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

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