Ramaphosa draws a crowd in New York but Trump looms over talk

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday packed a small auditorium at the Council on Foreign Relations’s Upper East Side headquarters, where he championed free trade, multilateralism and South Africa’s resilience.

Ramaphosa is attending this week’s United Nations General Assembly. Trump’s presence was felt during Ramaphosa’s hour-long talk with Evercore Senior Chairperson Roger Altman, a senior Treasury official in the Carter and Clinton administrations.

Altman asked about South Africa’s land reform effort, noting that Trump last month asked the State Department to "closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations". Ramaphosa staunchly defended his plan, saying it’s "an internal issue" and the South African government would be fair to all its citizens.

"If Mr Trump was here, I would tell him, 'Mr. Trump, we are going to solve this problem in the typical South African way'," Ramaphosa said. "He is not a member of the council," countered Altman, drawing laughter from the audience.

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