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