President Cyril Ramaphosa says a phone call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday is evidence of South Africa’s continued critical role in resolving global conflicts.
Speaking at a Brics Colloquium and Presidential Gala Dinner in Sandton on Thursday evening, the president revealed snippets of the discussion.
The two presidents spoke to each other for the first since Ramaphosa led a team of African heads of state to Ukraine and Russia in June in an attempt to try and end the war.
“I spoke to President Zelensky on issues that stem from our visit and discussions. He appreciated our visit and said it was a positive visit. We spoke about the 10 points we set out, and he said he appreciated South Africa’s role. Our country continues to play an important role in seeing how conflicts can be resolved,” Ramaphosa said.
In a tweet on Thursday night, Zelensky said: “Had a phone call with the Republic of South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa. Thanked him for visiting Bucha and Kyiv together with other African leaders and for further efforts to return children illegally deported by Russia. We praised the results of the meeting of advisors in Copenhagen.
“We discussed the preparations for the Global Peace Summit and the necessary diplomatic steps to consolidate African support for Ukraine. We also emphasised the importance of extending the grain corridor.”
Ramaphosa said the war and its impact would be discussed at the Brics summit in August. The heads of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, are expected to attend the summit along with large delegations.
The political rift about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attendance at the summit remains a thorny issue.
Ramaphosa told guests at the gala dinner on Thursday that it would be an in-person summit.
“This is the first Brics summit to be held in person… There were rumours going around that this would be online; it would be face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball.”
“South Africa is the smallest economy of the other Brics countries. We punch way above our weight. We are seen as playing a key strategic role, tiny as we are. South Africa plays an important role in the world.”