SA reads riot act to hypocritical anti-Russian Western powers

South Africa’s representative at the Ukraine Peace Summit, Professor Sydney Mufamadi. Picture: Itumeleng English Independent Newspapers

South Africa’s representative at the Ukraine Peace Summit, Professor Sydney Mufamadi. Picture: Itumeleng English Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 23, 2024


LAST week, the Ukraine peace summit was held in Switzerland which some 90 countries, including South Africa, attended.

It was the seventh such summit since the first was held in Copenhagen in 2022.

The most consistent feature of the Ukraine Peace Summit has been the deliberate exclusion of Russia at every gathering, wherever it was hosted.

The majority of the participants at the Ukraine Peace Summits are Western countries, mostly in the EU and the US-led Nato, who have already clubbed together in a relentless anti-Russia onslaught aimed at isolating Moscow globally.

The decisions that are taken at the EU and Nato are in sync with the resolutions that are adopted by the same participating nations at gatherings such as that of the G7, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organisation and even the UN, where fierce lobbying against Russia has been in full swing for the longest time.

To Pretoria’s full credit, South Africa is one of the fearless states that has challenged the Global North nations to at least give peace a chance, instead of talking continuously about arming Ukraine and supporting Kyiv diplomatically, militarily and materially “for as long as it takes”, as US President Joe Biden puts it.

At the peace summit in Switzerland, South Africa was, as always, represented by the National Security Adviser, Professor Sydney Mufamadi, and he did not disappoint.

Typically, Mufamadi did the nation proud just as former International Relations and Co-operation minister Dr Naledi Pandor did when she hauled Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has also led by example on this front, articulating the rationale behind South Africa’s unequivocal foreign policy stance in support of the struggle for the liberation of the oppressed people of Palestine.

When it comes to Ukraine, South Africa has also led by example. Pretoria has led moves aimed at helping both Ukraine and Russia to find each other on the path to lasting peace.

The African Peace Initiative that sought to broker peace between the two states was discredited by the war-mongering Western nations that are allies at multiple international forums, as I indicated above.

Ramaphosa and former AU chair President Azali Assoumani of the Comoros physically led efforts to travel to Ukraine and Moscow to meet with the relevant stakeholders.

As we now know, nothing came of their efforts as the West rejected the very idea of an African-led peace deal.

But it is Mufamadi whose performance in Switzerland last week I find truly inspirational.

Addressing in particular the Western powers that are used to never being confronted by the inherently undermined nations of the Global South, Mufamadi held nothing back.

He laid into the double standards of the West, and challenged them for inviting the apartheid State of Israel to the summit, and affording a delegate representing the genocidal government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take the podium, and even becoming a signatory to the final communique.

“It is surprising that at this conference, Israel is present and participating, just a few days after a credible high panel committee appointed by the UN found that it has, among the commission of other atrocity crimes, committed the crime of extermination,” Mufamadi told the summit in a no-holds-barred rebuke.

He elaborated: “This (UN) report is done in the context of processes at the ICJ where Israel, accused of genocide, has wilfully breached binding provisional orders of the ICJ and the UN Security Council and continued to massacre Palestinians without restraint.”

Indeed, it baffles the rest of the Global South in particular and fair and honest people around the world who watch on a daily basis the naked display of double standards by the influential Western powers that has turned the ethos of multilateralism into a mockery.

The West has used its power and influence to attempt to isolate Russia in geopolitics, international sport, international payment and financial system (SWIFT), among others.

They have targeted individuals of Russian origin in international affairs and sought to make an example of them as part of punishment targeting President Vladimir Putin and the Russian identity in general.

Russian businesses have been shut abroad, investments frozen or confiscated, Russian media such as RT outlawed and individuals such as Roman Abramovich had their assets, including the world-famous Chelsea Football Club, annexed by the UK government after he had run the club for 20 years.

The collaboration of Western powers against a perceived common enemy such as Russia has blinded them to the notion of natural justice that includes the avoidance of turning innocent citizens of adversarial states into collateral damage.

Luckily, many countries that are former colonies of the Western powers know too well how the script is written, and they refuse to play along amid the rapidly changing global relations where the so-called “weak” are becoming the powerful.

Mufamadi’s bold statement dampened the mood at the Switzerland gathering, proving just how South Africa has become a party pooper to many Western nations that are in the habit of hunting in packs.

The West had hoped that this latest sequel to the Ukraine Peace Summit would lead to heightened anti-Russian sentiment internationally. However, like South Africa, many non-aligned nations have held their positions steadfastly, firmly refusing to be dragged into the Western agenda of Russophobia.

The mood was dampened as if Mufamadi had popped a balloon in the middle of a celebration. In the end there was no single country that had the courage to raise its hand to volunteer to host the next Ukraine Peace Summit.

But the dramatic anti-climax to the Switzerland gathering was marked by the blatant refusal by South Africa and several nations of the Global South, many in BRICS, who declined to append their signatures to the final statement of the summit.

India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Mexico refused to sign. Brazil attended only as an “observer”.

China did not bother to show up, proving just how massively the summit had failed to woo especially the non-aligned Global South nations to their nefarious geopolitical agenda.

No wonder that, at the end of the summit, Swiss President Viola Amherd declared to those in attendance: “The road ahead is long and challenging.”

I believe she is right. There can be no peace deal achieved without the participation of Russia in the talks. South Africa has been vocal about this fact, arguing that there have been too many Ukraine peace summits with the same, predictable outcome. The time has come for Russia to be in the room, Pandor previously argued, so that progress towards the attainment of amicable peace can be made.

South Africa has become a truly important player in global affairs. Pretoria possesses moral authority and abundant credibility as a peace-broker.

Hopefully, such a rare leadership quality capable of standing up to the bullies in international affairs will continue to make a difference by exposing double standards wherever they rear their ugly head.

The world needs the calibre of men and women like Mufamadi, and member states to the UN such as the Mandela-inspired Republic of South Africa that serves as the conscience of the international community.

* Abbey Makoe is founder and editor-in-chief: Global South Media Network

Related Topics: