WATCH | Dialogue and quiet diplomacy is SA's strategy for Ukraine conflict — Dirco

International relations deputy minister Candith Mashego-Dlamini told parliament that it would rely on the UN to intervene in the conflict, just hours before SA abstained in a vote on Russia at the UN

03 March 2022 - 06:00
Deputy minister of international relations Candith Mashego-Dlamini.
Image: GCIS DIRCO deputy minister Deputy minister of international relations Candith Mashego-Dlamini.

The department of international relations and co-operation found itself having to explain SA's stance on the war raging on the streets of Ukraine, after an apparent diplomatic flip-flop.

Deputy minister Candithe Mashego-Dlamini told parliament there had been no change to the country's response to the conflict and that it encouraged dialogue between Russia and Ukraine before things escalated.

She was addressing a National Assembly sitting in which members of the peace and security cluster were responding to questions. 

“SA is continuing to encourage all parties through quiet diplomacy within all relevant international mechanism such as the UN, and including Brics, to avoid an escalation of tension and work towards an inclusive, sustainable and peaceful solution based on co-operation and dialogue,” she said.

Mashego-Dlamini said SA would encourage “all parties to approach dialogue with a spirit of compromise, without accusing any party”.

IFP MP Mkulekho Hlengwa told Mashego-Dlamini “the horse had already bolted” since the conflict was in full swing. 

“Tensions have gone beyond escalation because Ukraine has been invaded by Russia as we speak,” he said. 

Within hours of this engagement, the UN General Assembly held a vote aimed at reprimanding Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. SA abstained from the vote as the resolution “does not create an environment conducive for diplomacy, dialogue and mediation”.