Jean-Jacques Cornish

German Chancellor stomps on Ramaphosa’s careful diplomacy

As expected Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dominated today’s meeting at the Union Buildings of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The German leader stepped all over Ramaphosa’s  careful explanation of why South African abstained in a United Nations General Assembly vote condemning Russian aggression.

Ramaphosa carefully added that his German counterpart had understood South Africa’s wish for negotiation, dialogue and engagement to end what hecalled “the conflict”, carefully avoiding taking any sides.

“I don’t see any other way,” said Ramaphosa.

“Sanctions against apartheid were different to the sanctions imposed on Russia.

“What really ended apartheid was negotiation.

“Our position will be to end the conflict through negotiation and Chancellor Scholz understands that.”

Without hesitation Scholz countered: “We agree that the war in Ukraine is a war of aggression by Russia to conquer territory that does not belong to it.

“Ukraine must be give the ability to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

“There must be no new delimitation of the Ukraine border,” he said, adding for his host’s benefit that the Kenya’s  President Uhuru Keyatta had acknowledged this at the United Nations.

“We are giving financial support and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine along with other European countries

.” said Scholz

“Ukraine must be able to defend itself and this is why we though sanctions against Russia are necessary.

“We discussed South Africa’s action in the UNGA and how this differs from Germany’s position .

“We are doing our utmost  to stop the war and get Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine.

“We want to see the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and integrity.

“We also discussed the global implications of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.  Many countries in Asia, Africa and America are affected.”

Scholz confirmed Germany was supplying weapons, along with other countries, to enable Ukraine to defend itself and said he supported excluding Russia from the G20 summit and inviting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Scholz said Germany  intended stopping oil imports from Russia by the end of this year and also finding alternative LNG sources to those currently coming from Russia.

Germany intends having  a carbon neutral economy by 2045.

In this regard he and Ramaphosa will be visiting Sasolburg, south of Johannesburg later today for the launch of a green hydrogen project 


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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.