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Ramaphosa Brings Spirit of the Global South to the United Nations

Sept. 19, 2023, (EIRNS)—In contrast to the simplistic geopolitical thinking from many in the West, the address of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to this year’s UN General Assembly Debate brought in the spirit and demands of the Global South. He said that “the scourge of war” has diverted the world’s attention away from important issues, a problem which can and must be overcome. “Over millennia, the human race has demonstrated an enormous capacity for resilience, adaptation, innovation, compassion and solidarity. At this moment, we are all called upon to reaffirm these essential qualities that define our common humanity,” he declared.

The President referenced this June’s African Peace Initiative, which insists on dialogue, negotiation and diplomacy to win a “peaceful resolution of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.” “Our participation in the African Peace Initiative is informed by a desire to see an end to the suffering of those most directly affected by the conflict and the millions on our continent and across the world who, as a result of the conflict, are now vulnerable to worsening hunger and deprivation,” he explained. This is why “we must do everything within our means to enable meaningful dialogue,” rather than further fueling the conflict.

Ramaphosa drew attention to the lingering problems affecting untold numbers across the world—inequality and poverty—which is directly contributing to the instability underway in many countries across Africa with the recent military coups. He insisted that it requires a change in the mode of economic development:

“This means that we must address the fundamental development challenges that have long characterized our unequal world.... To address the developmental challenges that face many people in the world we require targeted investment, technology transfer and capacity building support, especially in key areas such as industrialization, infrastructure, agriculture, water, energy, education and health.... This also requires predictable and sustained financial support, including supportive trade policies, from the international community.”

He further supported calls for debt forgiveness, and importantly made a call

“to massively scale up affordable long-term financing to $500 billion a year.... It is a grave indictment of this international community that we can spend so much on war, but we cannot support action that needs to be taken to meet the most basic needs of billions of people,”

the President charged.

Ramaphosa described his support for reforming the UN Security Council, and emphasized the Common African Position. That refers to the proposal that African nations should have representation on the Security Council through the role of the African Union, which would include membership on a rotating basis.

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