Home National South Africa Calls for Immediate End to Hostilities and Humanitarian Aid in Israel-Palestine Conflict

South Africa Calls for Immediate End to Hostilities and Humanitarian Aid in Israel-Palestine Conflict

by Central News Reporter
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Israel-Palestine Conflict

The conflict between Israel and Palestine has escalated to a grave level, with a high number of casualties and extensive damage to property. In light of this situation, South Africa has called for an immediate end to hostilities and the unconditional provision of medical supplies and humanitarian aid.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) says it has taken the hard but necessary decision to shut down 10 diplomatic missions abroad. According to the department, this was in response to the country’s fiscal constraints, exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Addressing the media ahead of her department’s budget vote in Parliament, Minister Naledi Pandor said Cabinet made the resolution after a series of consultations that culminated in a decision. According to the Minister, the missions, which include embassies, high commissions and consulates, are being closed systematically during the 2021/22 financial year. “This decision is deeply regretted and South Africa expresses its confidence that the excellent diplomatic relations with these countries and regions will continue through the non-resident missions, and the diplomatic missions represented in South Africa,” Pandor said on Thursday. Pandor announced that the list of missions earmarked for closure include: Minsk, Belarus; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; The Holy See, The Vatican; Helsinki, Finland; Milan, Italy (consulate); Muscat, Oman; Suva, Fiji; Bucharest, Romania; Lima, Peru and Chicago, United States (consulate). In addition, she assured South African citizens resident abroad, businesses and tourists that a smooth transfer of civic and immigration services to non-resident missions is underway. “All affected stakeholders are advised to check with the affected embassies and consulates-general on the exact dates of termination of services,” she said. Meanwhile, Pandor said further announcements of the transfer of civic and immigration services will be made on the websites of DIRCO, the Department of Home Affairs and the affected missions. Foreign policy priorities According to Pandor, even before the global community was confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic, the world had become more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. She said this includes crosscutting and border-blind challenges, global warming, terrorism, pandemics, and cybersecurity. “The global governance architecture is at a crossroads, as it struggles to manage the multiple challenges afflicting people and the planet, while governing relations between States, as well as those between States and non-State actors.” Therefore, Pandor said South Africa has to execute its foreign policy “conscious” and “responsive” to dynamic national and international contexts. “It is in this environment that South Africa promotes and protects its national interest. South Africa’s national interest displays a people-centred, progressive and developmental outlook evidenced in its foreign policy.” She believes that this could be done by promoting pan-Africanism, South-South solidarity and cooperation, North-South cooperation, and multilateral cooperation

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Minister Naledi Pandor

Dr Naledi Pandor, the International Relations and Cooperation Minister of South Africa, made this call during her working visit to Zambia. She held talks with her Zambian counterpart, Minister Stanley Kakubo, and discussed various issues, including the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

The death toll in the Gaza Strip has reached a staggering 4,127 since October 7, 2023, with 1,661 of the victims being children. Additionally, over 13,000 people have been injured. Dr Pandor condemned the carnage, destruction of property, and the immense suffering caused by the conflict. She likened these events to the apartheid system that South Africa had endured, emphasizing the importance of condemning such acts unequivocally.

Dr Pandor stressed the need for the full implementation of relevant United Nations (UN) resolutions and decisions to ensure peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine. She affirmed that South Africa’s struggle against apartheid would not be complete until the people of Palestine are free.

In addition to addressing the Israel-Palestine conflict, Minister Pandor highlighted the importance of supporting the people of Western Sahara in their pursuit of self-determination. She called for a free and fair referendum to be conducted, and expressed her satisfaction with the exchange of views on these important issues during her discussions with Minister Kakubo.

During her visit, Minister Pandor also discussed the repatriation of mortal remains with the Zambian delegate. Many South African families have requested assistance in identifying the grave sites and repatriating the remains of their loved ones who were heroes and heroines of the anti-apartheid struggle. South Africa expressed its gratitude for the support received from Zambia during those dark days and expressed a desire to work closely with the Zambian government to provide closure to these families.

South Africa and Zambia share a deep-rooted history and a vision for a stable and prosperous Africa. Dr Pandor emphasized the strategic partnership between the two countries, highlighting the importance of peace and stability in the region for the rebuilding of economies post-COVID-19. She also emphasized the need for collaboration in regional value chain projects, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) integration agenda, and the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).

To strengthen their partnership and review the existing agreements and memoranda of understanding, both countries are preparing for the Inaugural Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Zambia. The last convening of the BNC took place in 2017, making the upcoming session long overdue.

South Africa remains committed to working closely with Zambia and other regional partners to deepen peace and stability in Southern Africa and beyond. It is through collaboration and cooperation that the two nations can rebuild their economies and restore the dignity of their people.

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