The South African government believes that for sustainable peace to thrive in the Middle East, Israel must “unconditionally” end its occupation of Palestinian territories through a negotiated settlement.

This is according to International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor, who was addressing the media on Tuesday.

“The… only way to bring about lasting peace in the Middle East is to have a comprehensive and unconditional negotiated settlement to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and Israel’s continued blockade of Gaza. The ongoing delay in achieving such a settlement leads to an unending cycle of violence,” she said.

The Minister said the continuing violence in the region made the African Union’s decision to grant Israel observer status of the AU “inexplicable”.

“In the context of Israel’s continuing violations of its international law obligations… this came as a shock, given that the decision was made at a time when the oppressed people of Palestine were hounded by destructive bombardments and continued illegal settlements of their land,” the Minister said.

According to Pandor, Israel’s “unjust actions” committed against Palestine are an offence on the charter of the African Union.

“The AU embodies the aspirations of all Africans and reflects their confidence that it can lead the continent through the practical expression of the goals of the charter, especially on issues relating to self-determination and decolonisation.

“The decision by the AU Commission in this context remains inexplicable. We look forward to the 35th Ordinary Summit of the African Union where the Heads of State will discuss this matter.”

International relations

Turning to other matters of international importance, Pandor said South Africa continues to be a “proud member of the world of community of nations” while participating in various world bodies.

“South Africa participated in the United Nations 76th Session of the General Assembly (UNGA76) in September 2021. In the G20 held in Rome, Italy, South Africa joined other countries in discussions aimed at forging a common global recovery effort from the COVID-19 crisis and enable sustainable and inclusive growth.

“South Africa is currently the host of the BRICS Vaccine Research Centre and the research on the Omicron variant will form part of the centre’s initiatives,” she said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

News Reporter