President Cyril Ramaphosa stressed at the seventy-eighth United Nations (UN) General Assembly, in New York, that conflict is making people more vulnerable to worsening hunger and deprivation.
South Africa insisted that the 193 UN member States uphold the principle of respect for the territorial integrity of every country.
This comes as conflict rages in Ukraine and Russia and parts of Africa.
Ramaphosa said participation in the African Peace Initiative on the Russia-Ukraine war was informed by a desire to see an end to the suffering of those directly affected by the conflict and the millions of Africans and others across the world who, as a result of the conflict, were now vulnerable to worsening hunger and deprivation.
“As the international community, we must do everything within our means to enable meaningful dialogue, just as we should refrain from any actions that fuel the conflict. As we confront other conflicts in several parts of the world, including on our continent Africa, we need to be investing in prevention and peacebuilding,” said Ramaphosa.
He told the Assembly that Africa supported UN secretary-general António Guterres’s call for member States to provide more sustainable and predictable financing for peacebuilding efforts.
He believes that the global community needs to work alongside the African Union (AU) to support peace efforts in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Mali, Central African Republic, South Sudan, northern Mozambique, the Great Lakes Region, the Sahel, Niger and the Horn of Africa.
Ramaphosa added that the AU Peace and Security Council was ready to deepen its cooperation with the UN Security Council to silence the guns in Africa and to achieve peace, stability and development.
On Middle Eastern issues, Ramaphosa said that “for as long as the land of the Palestinians remains occupied, for as long as their rights are ignored and their dignity denied, such peace will remain elusive”.
He reminded the Assembly that 78 years ago, in the aftermath of the Second World War, the nations of the world made a solemn commitment to save future generations from the horror and the suffering of war.
Ramaphosa said as much as nations had accepted a shared mandate to foster peace and to promote fundamental human rights, social progress and a better standard of life for all, much of humanity was confronted by war and conflict, hunger, disease and environmental disasters.
He pointed out that solidarity and trust between States was being eroded while inequality, poverty and unemployment were deepening.
“In these conditions and in the wake of a devastating global pandemic, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals seems increasingly remote. At the moment, when every human effort should be directed towards the realisation of Agenda 2030, our attention and our energies have once again been diverted by the scourge of war. But these woes, these divisions, these seemingly intractable troubles, can and must be overcome,” stressed Ramaphosa.
He called on the Assembly to reaffirm the essential qualities that define common humanity and insisted that “they must be evident in how we work together as a global community and as nations to end war and conflict”.