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Topnews, Statements

03. March 2022


Mr Chairperson

My delegation abstained from this resolution today mainly because we would prefer that the situation in Ukraine is addressed in the appropriate forum, namely the United Nations, preferably the Security Council, which unfortunately in its unreformed archaic state is unable to act. Furthermore, South Africa always calls for inclusive processes of negotiations before resolutions are put to a vote to ensure that all of us in the Board have an equal opportunity to propose and amend text.

Our abstention should not be misconstrued or misinterpreted in anyway except to what we have always stood for “peaceful resolution of conflicts and power of dialogue.”

South Africa bemoans the conflict in Ukraine and we reiterate our firm rejection of the illegal use of force under all circumstances and our unwavering commitment to the principles and purposes of the UN Charter.

We welcome the tentative talks between Ukraine and Russia as a positive start to find lasting solution. We hope that these tentative talks will lead to good faith engagement that will eventually result in a sustainable diplomatic solution to this deeply troubling conflict.

This armed conflict, like all others, will result only in unnecessary human suffering, especially of the most vulnerable, the wanton destruction of infrastructure and will severely impact environment and have serious global ramifications.

Furthermore, the threat to the stability of Chernobyl and the exclusion zone and the impact of the conflict on all the nuclear facilities in Ukraine is of serious concern to South Africa. Attacks against nuclear facilities – regardless of size – will be a contravention of the Statute of the IAEA and the decisions of the General Conference and will trigger the Board to take harsh action against the perpetrators.

We reiterate our call for that the control and command of the nuclear facilities at Chernobyl should remain in the rightful civilian authorities of Ukraine and for all sides to ensure the safe and secure conduct of the peaceful nuclear activities in that country.

South Africa also reiterates its call, in support of the Director General’s expressed intention, that the IAEA is enabled to continue with its nuclear verification activities at all the nuclear sites and facilities inline with Ukraine’s Comprehensive Safeguard’s Agreement and Additional Protocol.

Mr Chairperson

We fear that conflict will have even more diabolical consequences – because of the threat of use of nuclear weapons, which we denounce in the strongest terms.

This threat again illustrates that there are no safe hands for these deplorable weapons and that their mere existence is not only a threat to international peace and security, but also to our mere existence. These weapons are an existential threat to every person and every country represented in this room today. Do not be fooled - once used, there is no going back. There will be no tomorrow and no hope!

We therefore urge every State represented here to reject the delusion that nuclear weapons are a safe haven - an instrument of peace. The planet is much safer without these instruments of evil. South Africa urges all Nuclear Weapon States to follow our lead and to implement their commitments under the NPT without further delay – we have already waited more than 50 years for you to do the right thing.

Mr Chairperson

We stress that peace is best built through diplomacy and dialogue within the framework of the institutions of global dialogue, especially the United Nations. It is important for all nations to respect and uphold the principles of international law, including international humanitarian law and the provisions of the UN Charter.

South Africa, further notes with concern that other long -standing conflicts have not received the massive attention probably because of the fear of nuclear disaster, we call upon all of us to devote the equal energy and attention to end human suffering wherever the UN Charter and human rights are violated.

To conclude, South Africa endorses the statement issued by the African Union Commission expressing concern at the treatment meted against African nationals and other people at the borders of Ukraine, some of whom are not allowed to cross and move to safety. We urge European countries to take steps to resolve this discrimination and racist situation as all people have a right to cross international borders during times of conflict.

I thank you.


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