Diplomacy, dialogue way to respond to crisis in Ukraine, says SA’s ambassador to UN

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  • South Africa's permanent representative to the UN, Mathu Joyini, told an emergency sitting of the UN's General Assembly diplomacy and dialogue were the way to respond to the crisis in Ukraine.
  • She said there was an urgent need to reform the UN Security Council.
  • Joyini added South Africa endorsed the statement issued by the African Union expressing concern over the treatment of African nationals at Ukraine's borders.

South Africa's permanent representative to the UN, Mathu Joyini, says the country is "deeply concerned" about the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine and the way forward was through diplomacy and dialogue.

Joyini told an emergency sitting of the UN's General Assembly on Tuesday night South Africa welcomed the talks between Ukraine and Russia.

"We hope that these discussions will lead to a diplomatic solution that will result in a sustainable political solution.

"South Africa is of the view that this conflict will result in unnecessary human suffering and destruction with global ramifications.

Mathu Joyini
Mathu Joyini, South Africa’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations speaks on the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the General Assembly emergency special session in New York.

"In situations of conflict, the most vulnerable tend to suffer the most during and post the conflict," she said.

Joyini added it was regrettable the conflict would delay the world's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, saying the last two weeks was a reminder there was an urgent need to reform the UN Security Council.

READ | Ukraine conflict dashes hopes for SA bounce-back to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, Parly hears

"We need a council free from the legacy of the Cold War, so that it can genuinely be the space where the community of nations come together to resolve conflict and build a more just and peaceful world.

"The situation in Ukraine should not be allowed to affect negatively on the work by the UN."

She also took aim at the UN for failing to give similar attention to other long-standing conflicts around the world. 

Joyini said:

We note with concern that not all situations of conflict have received the same attention. While there is this situation in Ukraine, long-standing conflicts the Security Council was seized with continue without resolution.

"It is necessary that we devote equal attention to other long-standing conflicts where the UN Charter and human rights are being violated.

READ | What are the legal implications of Russia's invasion of Ukraine?

"We also believe the good offices of the UN Secretary General could make a positive contribution in finding a lasting solution to this conflict and should be utilised." 

She added South Africa endorsed the statement issued by the African Union expressing concern over the treatment of African nationals at Ukraine's borders.

"… some of whom are not allowed to cross and move to safety. We urge European countries to take steps to resolve this situation as all people have the right to cross international borders during times of conflict."  


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