Ramaphosa calls for UN-led negotiations to broker Israel-Palestine peace deal

President Cyril Ramaphosa wants the UN to lead talks between warring sides in the conflict in Israel and Palestine. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa wants the UN to lead talks between warring sides in the conflict in Israel and Palestine. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Published Oct 21, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for the United Nations to lead the peace process in the Gaza conflict and urged countries supplying weapons to both Israel and Hamas to desist.

He said the actions of other state to send arms to both Israel and Hamas was fuelling the conflict in the region.

Ramaphosa, who was speaking at the Gaza peace summit in Egypt on Saturday, said South Africa still believed the only path to peace was through negotiations.

Several leaders from the Middle East, Europe and other parts of the world were attending the Gaza peace summit in Cairo.

Ramaphosa was invited by Egyptian president Abdela Fattah el-Sisi to attend the summit.

The other leaders who are in Cairo on Saturday were UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and EU leaders.

Japan sent its foreign minister, Russia sent its deputy foreign minister and China is represented by its envoy to the Middle East at the summit.

Ramaphosa said there was a need for the UN to lead negotiations to broker a peace deal between Israel and Hamas.

He said they were opposed to the attacks on civilians in the conflict.

“As South Africa, we hold the firm view that the attack on civilians in Israel, the ongoing siege of Gaza and the decision to forcibly move the people of Gaza, together with the indiscriminate use of force through bombing, are violations of international law. More than that, these acts are an affront to our common humanity.

“We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, the release of hostages, the lifting of the siege of Gaza, opening of humanitarian corridors and the urgent provision of humanitarian aid on the required scale to the people of Gaza. We also call for a United Nations-led negotiation process towards resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Ramaphosa.

He added that countries who are supplying weapons to the two sides must stop.

He said peace was the only solution to the conflict.

Thousands of people have been killed since the conflict began two weeks ago.

Gaza has been under siege during that period and Israel has massed thousands of troops near the Gaza border in preparation for the invasion.

This was after Israel ordered people in northern Gaza to move the south of the city.

But the international community has condemned this and the cutting off of food, water, fuel and other supplies to Gaza.

UN agencies in the city have said they were stretched to the limit.

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