Johannesburg, Jan 23 (PTI) Russia strongly supports the issue of reform at the UN Security Council to accommodate African, Asian and Latin American nations, the country’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.
Lavrov was addressing a media briefing after meeting with his South African counterpart, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, who hosted the Russian Minister for bilateral talks covering a range of issues.
“We strongly support the additional seats for developing countries because it is the under-representation of Africa, Asia and Latin America which is the key problem of the (UN Security) Council today,” Lavrov said, expressing support for pleas made on several occasions by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He also said Russia “cherished” the cooperation of South Africa at the G20.
“The latest Summit in Indonesia was, I believe, quite telling about the desire of most members of the G20 to concentrate on the original mandate of this group and not to politicise the agenda items,” Lavrov said, adding that Russia was looking forward to South Africa taking over the Presidency of Brics this year.
"The (Brics) agenda is huge and very important, especially in the context of the not very helpful developments in the world economy and the world (in general),” he said.
Lavrov said Russia believed that African states had to find their own solutions to the conflict in areas such as the Great Lakes region, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Mali and the northern part of Mozambique.
"The international community has to support the ways of settlement chosen by African countries themselves, including in the framework of the African Union (AU) and its regional organisations.
“Russia will be actively helping to normalise the situation through the peace-keeping potential of African countries. We are ready to train them in our country. We (will) provide equipment to the missions of the AU,” Lavrov said.
Pandor said South Africa believed that the only path to peace is through diplomacy, through dialogue and to a commitment to the principles of the UN Charter, including the principle that all member states will endeavour to settle disputes by peaceful means.
Pandor said against this backdrop it was South Africa’s wish that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine would soon be brought to a peaceful end through diplomacy and negotiation.
“We believe that this is the desire of all of us on the globe,” Pandor said as she reaffirmed South Africa’s neutrality in not taking sides on the issue.
Lavrov confirmed Russia’s commitment to peaceful resolutions of disputes, including the country’s current war with Ukraine, even as he pinned the blame for there not being an early end to the war on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“We will always be ready to discuss early negotiated solutions to any conflict. In September, President Zelensky signed a decree prohibiting all Ukrainian officials from negotiating anything with the Russian Federation. So I believe it’s obvious as to the origin of the problem of the lack of negotiations,” Lavrov said. PTI FH PY PY PY